It’s the season of indulgence, which means it can also be the season of burning the candle at both end as we struggle to wrap up work, family and financial commitments. In all the rush it can be very easy to lose sight of yourself, and your sense of calm. If you can already feel yourself starting to unravel, don’t panic. There are some steps you can take to restore a sense of balance to your daily life.
Pick a mantra
Step back for a moment and think about what is really important to you this Christmas. What would make you feel happy? Do you crave some quality time with your friends? Do you need some long sleeps and quiet time? Do you want to cook and eat delicious foods? All of the above? Whatever it is that you truly desire this month focus on.
Are there any words that resonate with things you’re dealing with or want in your life this month? Repeat the words and allow the meaning to seep below the surface and into your consciousness. Your mantra can be a single word, or an entire sentence. Choose your mantra now and keep it at the forefront of your mind this month to remind yourself what is important. Write it on a post-it or put a reminder on your phone. Repeat. Repeat. Feel it and live it. Think of it as your own personal stress first-aid kit.
Look after yourself. Our immunity decreases in winter as the cold weather wears down your body’s defences against infection. In the shorter days, without much sunlight, we can run low on vitamin D, which helps power the body’s immune system, making us more vulnerable to illness.
On top of that, we seem to be busier in December as we prepare for Christmas, which can create high levels of stress. A busy mind will take its toll on your body. You will need to give extra nourishment to your mind, body and spirit this month.
Start your day with hot lemon water or a tumeric drink ( 1 tsp honey and 1 tsp turmeric mixed with hot water) or a smoothie packed with greens. Stay hydrated throughout the day with water and herbal teas. Try 10 minutes of yoga in the morning, stretching and moving whatever way feels good. You will notice a difference in your energy and concentration.
During your day, find at least 15 minutes of quiet time, sitting still with your eyes closed or go for a walk outdoors. Make it a habit to connect with nature daily.
Stick to your list
Keep it minimal. The truth is, we all have more than enough and we don’t need much more. Of course it is lovely to spoil your loved ones but don’t put any pressure on yourself to over-shop.
Make a list of the people who you would really love to buy a special gift for and write down an idea of what they would actually like so you don’t end up buying a thoughtless gift. Keep it minimal. And do the same for your food shopping list. Only the essentials. Most importantly, when you go shopping, stick to the list. Don’t get distracted by all the shiny goodies in the shops that you don’t need.
Focus on quality over quantity
Most people will agree that the most important part of Christmas is spending time with loved ones. All year we seem too busy to meet up and Christmas is our holiday time to catch up, have a drink together and laugh out loud. Don’t let this time pass by without having those lovely special moments. These are the moments that will make your Christmas magical and special. Spend as little time as possible on your phone, tablet or laptop.
Take a moment to hug someone and tell them you love them. Listen to people when they are talking to you. If you`re out shopping, talk to the person on the till or serving you, take a moment to ask how their day is. It might make your shopping experience more pleasurable. Take any opportunity you get to brighten someone`s day. This engagement and connection in life is what we all crave and need.
Remember to breathe
If all else fails, come back to your breath. Your breath is your go-to guy for calming your mind and relaxing your body. Breathing deeply in and out through your nose. Come away from the busy thinking mind and listen to and feel your breath. Check out a calming breathing exercise here.
Sinead McKiernan is the founder of Love Yoga and teaches yoga classes, retreats and workshops throughout Galway and Ireland. For more information visit loveyoga.eu