The time has come. Whatever you celebrate, something festive is here! However, this wonderful holiday season brings not only cheer, joy + reasons to be merry, but food that upsets your tummy, family drama + all-around stress.
But have no fear! This year, we are going to take the holidays on and not only survive, but thrive during this usually frazzling time. Here are some tips to keep you rocking:
1. WATER, WATER, WATER!
When we are busy and rushing around (doing some last-minute Christmas shopping maybe?), one of the first things that gets forgotten is drinking enough water. Make sure you are hitting at least 8 glasses a day (more if you are indulging in holidays treats, since water is the best way to detoxify your body). Which brings me to…
2. SIP SOME TEA
Not only can it count toward your daily water quota, tea is often the easiest + fastest medicine. Are you feeling anxious about the family dinner? Try some calming chamomile. Feeling stuffed from too many cookies? Some peppermint tea will do the trick. Whole leaf is always best, but if buying tea bags (which are easier to bring with you wherever you are
dragged going to dinner), make sure they are organic + free of any sugars.
3. TAKE SOME TRIPHALA
The superstar in the Ayurvedic herbal world, triphala (meaning “three fruits”) is a combination of three berries native to the Indian subcontinent: amalaki, bibhitaki + haritaki. Triphala is the most commonly used herb for Ayurvedic detoxification + cleansing, which is why taking some during seasonal feasting would be perfect. Aim for around 1000 mgs (of organic Triphala capsule) a day for a week or so to shed excess toxins + reduce buildup in your organs and tissues. A gentle warning: since it is a detoxifying powerhouse, expect more frequent bowel movements (which is a good thing this season anyway!)
4. GET LOTS OF SLEEP (AT YOUR NORMAL TIME)
Since vata is what rules this season, a restful sleep routine can help you get re-grounded during a busy time. Furthermore, the more sleep you can get, the less cranky you will be + the more revitalized you will feel to take on whatever comes your way (snobby Aunt Milda, you don’t stand a chance this year!) Try to get to sleep around the same time you usually do (if you can hit the hay earlier, that’s great) and leave the anxiety out of the bedroom. That means no ruminating on passive-aggressive comments made by family members or worries about everyone liking your presents!
5. MAKE TIME FOR MEDITATION
Although you will probably feel like you hardly enough time alone to breathe, make some time for mediation. You don’t need a cushion or a fancy space, even meditating for 5-10 minutes while lying in bed first thing in the morning will be such a gift. Focus on your breath from deep in your belly. With each inhale, imagine breathing in pure light + healing energy and with each exhale, release all of your anxiety, stress + whatever else isn’t serving you this holiday season. Meditation Oasis has some great meditations you can play on your iPod to get you started.
6. JUICE IT UP!
Drinking fresh + organic green juice is great all year round but if you usually can’t afford to do so, try to make this next week (or whenever you will be stressing + feasting the most) your own green juice time. Search the internet (Yelp is really helpful) to find where the nearest juice bar or health food store is and sip that delicious green goodness! Juices with dark greens + beets are best for optimal cleansing.
7. TRY A PRE-MEAL TONIC
If you know you will be having a heavy meal, try this Ayurvedic trick beforehand. Squeeze half a lemon (or just a slice if you are at a restaurant) into a cup of hot water and add a few twists of fresh ground pepper and a bit of salt (either sea salt or other “rock” salt, not table salt). This tonic will help recharge your metabolism and allow you to process the upcoming heavy meal with ease. After eating, chewing some fennel seeds is a great way to aid in digesting that giant piece of pie you had…
8. MAKE TIME FOR EXERCISE
I know that for most of us, exercising during a stressful time seems close to impossible. But even a walk after dinner can do wonders for your digestion + your mood. Extra points for exercising out in nature and getting some fresh air! Dance parties with your friends + family totally counts
9. SET YOUR INTENTIONS
So much of the holiday stress comes from being unprepared with how to handle what arises. Before leaving for your trip, or having everyone over at your house, make some intentions. How do you want to feel during this time? What do you want to work on while being tested during this season? Maybe that nosy relative that asks you inappropriate questions can remind you to be accepting of others + their flaws. Maybe your competitive sibling can allow you to focus on what matters – your own personal growth + happiness. Taking stock of what might happen + how you are going to best deal with it can change time with family from a panic attack to a lesson in love.
10. RELAX AND ENJOY!
Although your family might drive you crazy, you might be rushing around like a maniac + you might be stressed to your gills, remember how great the holidays can be! Try to ask yourself the most important question ever: “how can I make this easier for myself?” Are you freaking out about the second batch of cookies gone wrong? Pick some up at your favorite bakery instead! Are you feeling guilty about eating too much unhealthy food? Take a deep breath + smile at the joy of celebration! Is your sister pushing your buttons? Take 5 minutes to walk around the block, look at everyone’s Christmas decorations + come back refreshed. Because at the end of the day, the holidays are meant to be FUN!
[great illustration from Methane Studios]