Meet Kristine Huffman, general manager of Travaasa Austin and the experience director for both Travaasa properties. With more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry and experience as a psychotherapist helping people achieve their peak performance, Kristine loves creating fun, memorable experiences for Travaasa guests.

Here, Kristine shares her insight to reducing stress this holiday season and making the most of all the wonderful moments this time of year.

“Whether or not you realize it, you carry around one of the most powerful tools for emotion control: your lungs. Most of the time, we don’t even think about the process of breathing—it’s automatic. But during times when you might feel overwhelmed or exhausted, you can tap into your ability to consciously regulate your breath—and as a result, regulate your physical and emotional responses. It can make a powerful difference in how you feel and how you act.

Let’s say you’re feeling overwhelmed. Breathe out completely, and then breathe in to the count of four (or until you feel a comfortable fullness). Then, with control, slowly exhale to a count of six or eight. As you plant your feet firmly on the ground, repeat this process of slow, controlled breathing. You can internally repeat the following:  “No matter what else is going on in my world, I can control my breath.”

Or perhaps you’re feeling tired from shopping or all the parties and preparation this time of year. You can increase your energy by using the breath of fire. For this, focus on your belly and pump it like a bellows, rapidly in and out. If you’re doing it right, you should sound like a steam train chugging along.  Keep it going for about 60 seconds, and then take some long, smooth breaths to harvest all the fresh oxygen you’ve just gathered. You may feel some heat in the body and a rush of energy. To get an even more exhilarating effect, you can use the scent of peppermint (put those candy canes to good use!) or pine from your holiday tree.

The most important thing this season is to take moments throughout the day to stop and breathe in, so you can fully enjoy all the precious memories of the holiday season.”