It’s a holly, jolly time of year. There are get-togethers to plan, decorations to hang, gifts to buy. But the stress of the holiday season can make us feel overwhelmed and anxious. In order to be able to give to others, we have to have something to give. Taking time to practice self care can help “fill” us and help relieve the stress of the holidays. But what does it mean to take care of yourself? It’s not just taking a bath and putting on a face mask.
According to L.A.-based psychologist Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, “It’s critical that we engage in activities that are specific to balancing and lowering this stress. High stress levels have been linked to poorer physical health as well as effects on mental health and cognition.”
Meditation is a good place to start, Dr. Sommerfeldt tells Refinery 29. The practice of focusing on the breath, meditation helps the brain “learn” to be present. Research shows that mindfulness meditation improves overall mental health and it is a way to minimize stress.
While meditation is something that you can do anytime, anywhere, it can feel challenging to quiet the noise of the holidays and life in general. A hot tub by Master Spas can help you seek sanctuary. The hot tub can be a place to breathe, relax, and practice self care — especially during the holiday season.
How Meditation Helps
People have been taking advantage of the benefits of meditation for more than 3,000 years.
Multiple studies show that people who meditate see improvements in feelings of anxiety, depression, and pain. A 2016 study showed that people with chronic conditions, like fibromyalgia and low back pain, were able to cope better with their pain after mindfulness training.
People who have a long-term meditation practice can experience structural and functional brain changes, including improved memory.
But more than that, meditation has been shown to help people feel focused and peaceful.
How to Begin a Meditation Practice
Finding a quiet space to yourself can feel like an accomplishment itself. And once you get there, you might wonder to yourself: What do I do now?
Starting a meditation practice does not have to be complicated or frustrating. When you are new to meditation, it’s important to make it simple and start small.
To start, get comfortable. You can sit in a cozy chair, stand, walk, even lie down. The most important thing is to find a position where you will be able to quiet your mind. As you grow in your meditation practice, you can focus more on body position and awareness.
Break time. Take a big inhale. Hold it for a beat. And slowly exhale. Take a few more breaths. With each breath, allow your awareness to travel to different parts of your body. Feel your chest rise, your belly fill with air. Take a couple of deep breaths right now. Take a chest breath first. Now bring your breath down to your belly.
You want to be able to shift your breathing during meditation to your belly, which will help you relax.
You sit down to have a quiet moment, to find the space to feel better. However, you are plagued by negative feelings and thoughts. You get frustrated — meditation should be easy. Why is it so hard? Why can’t I be good at it?
Meditation is a time to take stock of how you are feeling. Acknowledge those feelings — positive and negative. Accept them. And breathe.
The most important thing is to not judge yourself for those feelings. As you move through your daily life, you will soon be able to accept your feelings without criticizing yourself for them.
Create a Daily Association
Many choose to incorporate meditation into a daily routine. Find pockets in your day where you can spend 5 to 15 minutes just breathing. Maybe it’s in the morning, while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew. Maybe it’s at the end of the day when you are soaking in your hot tub Master Spas.
Meditation in a Hot Tub
A hot tub is relaxing, thanks to the combination of warm water and massage jets. But when you begin a meditation practice, it is more than relaxation. It’s about awareness while tuning out.
Tips for Meditating in a Hot Tub
- Find a spot where you can sit comfortably without fidgeting.
- Adjust the jets so they are hitting the right spot and allow you to relax.
- Adjust the pressure of the jets so it is a gentle massage, especially if the noise can be distracting.
- Stream a calming playlist or, consider playing a guided session available on a meditation app.
- Be aware when your mind begins to wander and bring your focus back to the breath. Consider taking time to feel the Master Blaster jets on the soles of your feet. Take a few deep breaths there. Bring the awareness up the body. Appreciate the pressure of the jets on your lower back. Then your upper back. Shoulders.