The holiday season is coming. You can hear it on the radio, you can see it in the stores. There are so many different holidays that people celebrate between November and January, and one thing they all have in common is families getting together. This can be a joyful or dreadful experience, depending on your family dynamics, but regardless, this can be a stressful time. In the coming weeks, I will be offering 2-3 weekly self-care tips to help you get through this season feeling a bit more grounded in your body and mind.
Tip #1: Movement
Nothing gets you out of your head and into your body like movement. Any type of movement is good, it doesn’t have to be “exercise” per se. While going to the gym, walking, biking, or swimming will definitely make you feel better, you can also go up and down the stairs a few times, or dance in your living room to your favorite song. My personal go tos are yoga, walking, hiking, and swimming, but really anything that gets your heart rate up and feels good is going to help your stress levels.
When we are stressed or anxious, it can feel like we are stuck in our head; we can’t stop thinking and ruminating. By using our body, it moves our attention to physical sensation and gets us out of the cerebral race car track. Many times I have found that after exercising, my worries disappear and the answer that I’ve been seeking comes to me. It’s when I stop thinking that the solution surfaces. During this holiday season, be sure to move your body a little every day. Maybe all at once, or various times throughout the day. Give your brain a break and move!
Tip #2: Sleep
While sleep is something we do every night (hopefully), it is essential to make it happen during this time of year. When we are sleep deprived, our stress levels increase, our irritability increases, and our ability to cope with life plummets. Many people struggle to get a good night’s sleep for a variety or reasons, some are within their control, and some aren’t. The ones that are in your control are worth prioritizing: going to bed at the same time every night, turning off screens 30-60 minutes ahead of time, stop drinking caffeine at least 12 hours before bedtime, and reducing the amount of alcohol that you drink. Caffeine can last in our systems 8-12 hours after consumption, and alcohol can cause you to wake frequently and get poorer quality sleep overall.
If you struggle to turn your brain off at bedtime, I have 3 Bedtime Meditation Sequences that may ease you to sleep. Each free video is 5-7 minutes long, perfect to put you in a more relaxed state before bed. Other ideas are spraying your pillow with Lavender essential oil, drinking Chamomile tea (if drinking liquid before bed doesn’t wake you up at night), and dimming the lights slowly a half hour before bed. Taking magnesium before bed can also help as it relaxes your muscles. A regular yoga or exercise routine can improve sleep, as can acupuncture.
Tip #3: Meditation
It is common knowledge that meditation helps with stress. As a yoga instructor, I hear many reasons why people “can’t” meditate:
- My days are too busy, I don’t have time
- I can’t stop thinking, I can’t quiet my mind
- I can’t sit still
- My space is too noisy
- I can’t sit in the Lotus Position
- and more…
The truth is, anyone can meditate. You don’t need any special equipment, you don’t need to sit in Lotus pose, you don’t even need to sit! Meditation is not about stopping the mind, it’s about noticing the present moment. Thoughts will always come into your mind, the practice is about noticing the thoughts rather getting caught up in the thinking. It also doesn’t take very long, even 3 minutes of mindfulness can change your mood and how you feel. While a longer practice can help you dive deeper into knowing yourself, a short meditation can help you feel less stressed. You can also meditate while sitting in a chair, standing, walking, or lying down. There is definitely a style for everyone.
Read more about this in my free ebook, “3 Myths about Meditation, and Why Practicing is Easier Than You Think.”
Click here for a free 15 minute yoga practice on my YouTube Channel!
If you want to join me for 10 Days of Mindful Moments Dec 1-10, click here to join my Facebook Group! I will be running live and recorded meditation sessions at different times every day, each about 5 minutes long. These classes will be available in my group through New Year’s to give you the opportunity to watch and rewatch whenever you need support.
I offer live online yoga classes Monday-Friday, and have hundreds of classes available On Demand. Check out my website at www.purpleroomyoga.com