The holidays are such a wonderful time of year, but they can also be stressful for many. Between family gatherings, gift giving, parties, and overwhelming amounts of rich food, it can be challenging to stay calm and content during the “merry” season. I often remind my clients, as well as myself, that the best gift we can give anyone is our presence. We should try to avoid getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle and the idea that we have to do everything. Instead, we should allow ourselves to be open and receptive to the real meaning of this time of year, sharing joy with those we love, taking it all in, and keeping an inner peace. Here are a few things you can do to stay bright and centered.
Sun salutes. This simple yet effective exercise can stretch and strengthen the entire body, while focusing the mind. Even a few rounds each day will keep you open and energized during this time of year.
Hydration. It can be easy to forget in the colder months to drink enough water. Hydration is so important, especially in the winter months. Our body is 80 percent water and we need water to keep everything functioning properly. Also, if you are having a few more drinks or rich treats at holiday parties, it’s critical to drink water to flush out the system.
Sleep. Travel, parties, and other holiday festivities can mess with getting a good night’s sleep. When we are sleep-deprived, we get stressed and run down. Try as much as you can to keep a regular sleeping schedule, aiming for at least seven hours each night. Bring some lavender oil with you on your vacation, journal to help write down worries, and stop drinking alcohol at least a few hours before bed. Also try and eat healthy and do your sun salutes, drink your water, and meditate to make sure you sleep deep.
Restorative yoga. On the days when you can’t get enough sleep or you’re feeling run down, try some restorative yoga postures. Restorative yoga uses props to support the body so you can fully let go and restore the body back to its natural state. You can use yoga blocks, blankets, bolsters, or even just firm pillows and towels if you don’t have props to do supported child’s pose, bridge, fish pose, and seated forward fold. Even just lying on your back with your lower legs propped on a chair can feel amazing. Hold each pose for a minimum of three to five minutes and let your breath deepen and even out.
I truly love the holidays, especially now with three kids under 5. It warms my heart to see their pure joy and excitement this time of year. I used to stress a lot more about eating too much or about uncomfortable moments with my family members (no matter how much I love them all). But I’ve been following my own advice and I notice when I stay calm and nourish my mind, body, and spirit, I can go with the flow and feel healthy and happy all season long.