As we move into the holiday season, I encourage each and every one of you to pursue self-care. Self-care is the antidote to stress and sickness. By prioritizing self-care, you can bolster your immune system, feel more relaxed and have more fun. I, therefore, am sharing some of my tried and true tricks that keep me and my family healthy and enjoying the holidays.
I know it is tempting to add more and more events, gift ideas and decorating schemes to your calendar. Believe me, I know. And I’m telling you: less is more. Every time I think that I can squeeze in one more social or make one more gift it bites me on my bum. Every. Time.
I recommend having a serious heart-to-heart conversation with your family to answer the following questions:
1. What are our top 3 priorities this holiday season?
2. How do we want to feel during and after the holidays?
3. Who do we want to spend time with?
4. What is our budget?
Get clear and make a plan BEFORE you act. Whenever you feel the impulse to do more, refer to your plan. Ask family members to hold each other accountable.
Take time to move your body.
It is tempting to cut out body movement when the days are shorter and you feel like you have less time to get things done. But don’t. Moving your body not only supports your physical health but also your mental health. Tune into your body’s needs. Not all body movement involves a trip to the gym or a heart-pounding, cardio workout.
I recommend incorporating stretch and thoughtful movements into your weekly routine too. Winter movement looks and feels different from summer movement. Honor the season and where your body is. Some days you may feel like challenging yourself by lifting some serious weights. Other days a gentle yoga class is just the thing. Think outside the box. Putting on your favorite music and dancing in your living room totally counts.
However you decide to move, make it a priority. Your lymph system, the system that removes toxins from your body and keeps your immune system functioning, works best when you move your body. Plus your brain, as you move, releases endorphins – those feel good chemicals. And who doesn’t need more of them during the holidays?
Seriously. Put it on the schedule. Then turn off your phone, unplug your computer and get some R&R. Rest could look like sleeping but it also could look like journaling, crafting, cuddling or navel gazing. Rest is what you like to do when you have no deadlines or expectations.
One caveat: I recommend resting, at least half of the time, without being on an electronic device. Channel surfing, social media scrolling and video gaming are often our default behaviors when we are tired and don’t know or are afraid to rest. Don’t worry about being bored or unproductive. That is just anxiety speaking. Give yourself time to transition from go-go-go mode to put-it-in-neutral mode.
I kid you not. I sometimes have to go through withdrawal (feeling anxious) before I can let myself rest. You may need to schedule time for withdrawal too. Trust me. It is worth the wait. Your brain eventually winds down and you feel SO much better.
Having a daily gratitude practice really helps me put things into perspective. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, my gratitude practice reminds me of all the things I do have: both the tangible and the intangible. Practicing gratitude also makes me more generous. Because I am reminded of all the gifts in my life, it is much easier for me to give to others.
A nice way to start is to take 5 minutes, every day, to write down all the things for which you are grateful. Whether your list has only one item or twenty: it does not matter. The point is to take time to notice what you have and appreciate it. I predict the more you practice the longer your list becomes.
If you are looking for some more self-care ideas or ways to practice, then check out the Shakti Events Calendar. We liberally sprinkle into the schedule self-care events and classes because we know that self-care changes lives. (We got you covered.
Have a great week!