It’s the most wonderful time of the year! This one sentence can bring up many memories, plans, and excitement. It also brings a whirlwind of shopping, expectations, and stress.
It seems that the holiday season begins earlier and earlier every year, but the climax of the chaos seems to be December up until New Year’s. We are rushing around buying presents, making endless cookies, attending holiday parties, getting the house ready for guests or traveling ourselves. With all of the added things on our To Do lists it becomes difficult to stay grounded and stress-free. Here are 5 things that I have found helpful during this time of year:
- Keep up with your yoga practice. As a yoga teacher and student, I know the benefits of a regular dedicated practice. That said, it can be very challenging to stick to our normal routine when we add in holiday shopping, parties, and family visits even though this is when our practice can benefit us the most. Since you might not be able to make it to your usual classes, try a new teacher at a different time. You might discover something new! Or you can try a quick practice on MyYogaWorks.com from the comfort of your own living room! Check out this Holiday Patience practice with Birgitte Kristen (if you’re not a subscriber, try a 2 week free trial). And don’t forget to include your family and friends in your practice. You may be surprised how open they are to checking out a class with you!
- Get outside. Being outdoors always helps me feel more relaxed and at peace. Whether it’s a hike, run, skiing, snowboarding or just a quick walk around the block, the fresh air can help you feel refreshed and renewed. Just remember to bundle up and stay hydrated!
- Take time for rest. I can’t stress this one enough! Winter is a time when the days are shorter and the nights are longer. We can take advantage of the longer nights by getting more rest. This is especially important because we want to stay healthy during cold and flu season. Try to get to bed earlier or take naps when you have the chance. You can also check out a restorative yoga class which can be as rejuvenating for the body as sleeping!
- Indulge in moderation. Part of the stress of the holidays can come from all the sweets and treats that seem to appear on every table and break room we walk by. We want to enjoy these yummy treats, but the guilt that comes with overindulging can ruin our holiday spirit. I think it’s a good practice to indulge in moderation. First, remember to eat nutritious meals throughout the day. Then you can enjoy your favorite holiday treats knowing that your still getting lots of nutrition from your regular meals. Then, when you do indulge, slow down. Really savor each bite of those cookies or sip of hot cocoa. Slowing down helps us to feel more satisfied by less.
- Give the gift of Presence. The special thing about the holiday season is getting together with our loved ones or enjoying the activities that only come around this time of year. Nowadays, we spend a lot of this time taking pictures and updating our status to show all our friends just how much fun we’re having. The biggest gift that we can give our friends, family, and ourselves is to be Present. This might mean putting down our phones, turning off other electronics, and just spending time talking and being together. I don’t know about you, but for me each year seems to go by faster than the last. And in the same way that we can slow down while we’re sipping our egg nog to savor each drop, we can slow down and savor each moment. These moments are truly beautiful, even if there are no pictures of them! Our Presence is really the greatest gift of all.
I hope that you find these tips helpful! Wishing you all a Peaceful and Happy Holiday Season!
Hayleigh Zachary is a yoga teacher and teacher trainer in Los Angeles. She teaches classes with a strong foundation in alignment and breath. She loves teaching how you can take your yoga practice off the mat and in to all aspects of your life! You can find out more about Hayleigh at her website: www.hayleighzachary.com