The holiday period can be especially challenging for staying balanced, centered and calm. Each year I am always a little taken back by how quickly time flies as we approach Thanksgiving and then before you know it… a New Year! All around us there are people who seem to be frantically navigating life – impatiently beeping their horns the split second the light turns green, bumping into us as they rush through the supermarket and the department stores shopping, experiencing anxiety over spending for gifts, having expectations and concerns being with family, etc. This festive period just before Thanksgiving through New Years day can also be one that is difficult emotionally for many people. According to a holiday poll by Consumer Reports, 70 percent of Americans are stressed during the holidays by long retail lines, 35 percent are stressed over financial debt, 28 percent get stressed over seeing certain relatives and 72% of Americans experience loneliness! There are many ways to stay calm and peaceful but these are my top 5 for clients:
- Plenty of Quality Sleep – Give yourself at least 45 minutes before bedtime to disconnect from your phone, TV, computer, technology. Focus on deep conscious slow mindful breaths as you spend about 15 minutes gently stretching. Each exhale is an opportunity to release tension and fatigue as you soften into holding the stretch without striving or straining. Each breath in can be an opportunity to expand peace and ease in your being. Taking this time moving the body in this way is very beneficial for releasing stress and physically slowing down which will help you fall asleep quicker and improve the quality of your sleep. Use a drop of Lavender essential oil on the bottoms of your feet and your pillow case as you get into bed.
- Begin the day by using a Gratitude Journal – Most people are addicted to their cell phones these days, rather than waking up and immediately checking the phone, try upon rising writing down several things you are grateful for. This conscious act will begin your day in an emotionally positive state which will help attract more positive experiences to you. As an act of self gratitude, surrender your notions of perfection. Try to maintain a realistic notion of what can and cannot be accomplished during this time of year. Embrace the chaos and listen to that inner critic voice that insists you do more or be better with a sense of humor – accept whatever happens as an opportunity for growth and learning.
- Grounding – throughout the day, drop out of the head spin of the mind (the energy there literally is fast and racing which is why people refer to it as “my head is spinning”!) and into the body. Take a moment to feel your feet on the ground. Close your eyes and notice how your body weight is distributed across your feet. Is there more on the balls of your feet or the heels, more on the inner edges or outer edges? Make some micro-movement adjustments to balance your weight evenly across your feet. Now hold the intention that as you breath in you are drawing up and in earth grounding and nurturing energy through your feet all the way up the legs, torso, to the crown of your head. You can imagine it as a white light traveling through your body and in mid brain clearing your consciousness like a white blank slate and as you exhale a blanket of peace and ease and calm descends down your body all around you.
- Music – Sound has a profound impact on our mental, physical and emotional states. Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) found that playing ‘natural sounds’ affected the bodily systems that control the flight-or-fright and rest-digest autonomic nervous systems, with associated effects in the resting activity of the brain. This research is first to present an integrated behavioral, physiological and brain exploration of this topic. Listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication according to researchers at Sanford University. You might want to visualize yourself calm and relaxed in situations like long lines or traffic or with certain family members as you listen – taking situations and memories that you know caused agitation and stress and seeing them unfold in a positive peaceful way.
- Pause before you speak – before you give feedback or talk about someone, ask yourself these questions: Is it true? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? In other words, is your comment a guess, a rumor, gossip or true. Will your comment serve a useful purpose, if not let it pass. So often we respond out of reaction or deceitfully flatter another to get something we want. Our speech is powerful – when we “complain we drain” our own energy and that of others, when we “praise we raise” the energy vibration of others. Decide how you will choose to show up. Make stopping, noticing, breathing and reflecting something you do often throughout the day.
If you are looking for healthy and fun ways to entertain family and friends over the Holidays contact me to arrange a private Yoga/Meditation class, customized massage, or an in-home spa party!
Learn more about Relaxed Living at www.relaxedliving.org!