Christmas is fast approaching and alongside it often comes a frenzy of shopping and social events which can leave us feeling worn out and generally uninspired. This is unfortunate because this time of year has the potential to be truly magical; it’s when we can cosy up with a paperback book we haven’t had a chance to get to and of course, it’s also when we get the chance to spend quality, uninterrupted time with our friends and family.
Taking a step back and being aware of what is happening around us rather than getting caught up within it, will help create those priceless memories instead of maybe cultivating something not wholly positive. And generating this awareness can be really simple and quick; just finding a few minutes for yourself and then making a couple of better choices each day can be all it takes to have a happy and memorable day.
Quiet: Find some time where you can be alone with your thoughts every day. Whether this means taking an extra-long bath or escaping to a community mediation class is personal but making it happen consistently is key. Our brains need time to process information and reflect - away from the hustle of our otherwise busy lives.
Breathe: When feeling rushed or stressed, take a conscious minute to slow down your breathing. This simple action will signal to the nervous system that things are OK and that there is no need to continue to release stress related hormones that can elevate our heart rate and cloud the clarity of our mind. I love incorporating simple breathing exercises into my day when I’m waiting in line or at a crossing for example – no special time out required and I feel better immediately, mentally as well as physically.
Restore: Fitness usually takes a backseat in December because we are just too busy but it’s also probably the time we need it the most. If you simply don’t have the time or energy for an intense session, consider incorporating a few restorative poses into your day instead. I enjoy spending a few minutes in a hanging forward fold (Uttanasana) while cooking or with legs up the wall (Viparita Karani ) before bed; they both have beautiful calming effects on the nervous system.
Nourish: Christmas is a time for food and drinks galore, which can be amazing, but much of what is served up at parties isn’t the healthiest for us. We don’t live in a perfect world so instead of resolving to cut out the processed, sugary or alcoholic things and then slipping and feeling bad about it – be kinder to yourself and make some simple healthier choices instead; a glass of water in between drinks or an extra portion of a leafy green salad on the site. All little things that can help us in feeling our best.
Wishing you a peaceful holiday season.