All too often, the joys of the season are overshadowed by the nasty rebound effects of hectic schedules and all-around overload, including over-indulgences in rich foods, social and family pressures, more parties and late nights, etc. When combined, it’s a recipe for stress, which we all know to be the enemy of well-being with its hallmarks of depleted energy, undernourished nervous system, sleep disturbance, crankiness, and a weakened immune system.
In Ayurveda, we understand that the mind is very strong and can have good and bad effects over well-being. During this stress-inducing holiday season, mastering the mind is more important than ever to overcome the aforementioned debilitating effects. When faced with these known obstacles, try this fundamental reset tool and four basic tips from the world of Ayurveda to ensure a more vibrant and joyful season.
1. Initiate a mind-body reset.
The primary tool for grace under pressure is breathing. It’s guaranteed to change the mind, nourish the system with oxygen, and switch it all up. It’s quick, simple, and effective. Thirty seconds of fast, deep breathing followed by thirty seconds of slow, deep breathing. Use the video below for a quick and easy tutorial.
A note on breath-work in general: We all do it naturally, but when you learn to control and use it, you have a powerful weapon that can easily help you generate and maintain calm positive feelings, sleep better, and soothe the nervous system for optimal organ function. Your mind will thank you, your skin will glow, and you will think more clearly and move through the day—and all its obstacles—more effectively.
2. Make a plan.
Anticipate the issues that may arise from family tensions to menus, travel plans and gifts, and remove the doubts and anxieties by making a plan. Make a master calendar of dates, gifts to buy, things to get done. Just having a list can bring clarity as to what might not be necessary as well as organizing yourself for better pacing.
3. Stick to your routine.
As much as possible, maintain your regular schedule, planning around events that will disrupt them both physically and mentally. You may have to do less, but make sure that you keep the general exercise, breathing, meditation routines, which are often the first to go, but the most essential for your sanity.
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4. Know your demons and how to neutralize them.
Say “no” to perfection, unrealistic expectations of family and friends, over-scheduling, day-after-day of over-indulgence. And when you do indulge, know that this is part of the fun, and embrace it, but then compensate the next day by, for example, eating super clean and getting extra rest whether by napping, a soothing 20-minute of meditation, or just a walk around the block to clear the head. A simple practice while taking that walk is to remind yourself to be content with whatever comes your way. Gratitude is an amazing elixir.
5. Try this pressure point self-massage.
Squeeze the fleshy part of your hand below the thumb to release stress. Hold for 30 seconds and deliberately think about the one thing causing you the most stress. Take a few deep breaths and, with every exhalation, actively think about letting go of that pesky thought or feeling. Dissolve it and let it leave your mind and body.
By Lisa Hedley