The Holidays are in full swing. You made it through Thanksgiving,
and depending on if you were in charge of the feast maybe even enjoyed
yourself? :) But we still have Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New
Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and Bodhi Day (did you know that January
5th celebrates the day the Buddha reached enlightenment?) to survive,
and even for people with few familial obligations the Holidays can be
stressful at times. Who wouldn't want the gift of less stress for
Christmas? Let's explore how our yoga practice can help ground us and
reduce stress over the holidays.
Our expectations for the holidays start when we were young children
ourselves. We learned about family traditions and celebrations and
perhaps saw adults running around frantically at times or having to
bake loads of cookies or even fruitcake?! We consumed holidays movies
and commercials selling high expectations for holiday miracles. Life
doesn't always look like the movies, and that can stand out poignantly
at Christmas for some. What is your internal state like over the
Take some time to think about some beliefs about these holidays you
may have brought from your childhood with you into adulthood. Are
there any hurtful experiences from your past you are holding on to and
may be able to let go of? How do you let childhood shape the way you
and your family celebrates, either negatively or positively. Take an
assessment of your background, practicing non-judgement, and breathing
compassion and healing into spaces that need it. Come to the present
and look at what lies ahead, what are you excited about, what is most
important to you this holiday season?
Sometimes when there are so many parties to go to, gift expectations,
plays, and ornament or cookie exchanges, we start to get distracted by
obligations and consumerism, but isn't what's the most important goal
for many to just enjoy spending quality time with loved ones? Let's
step back and take charge of our wellbeing during the holidays with
these and other stress-reduction strategies.
5 Tips to Refocus and Reenergize Yourself During the Holidays
Practice your breathing. Department store lines getting under your
skin? Tense political conversations arise with in-laws? Take a few
deep, grounding breaths. This is something you can do anywhere in the
moment, or, if you can slip away for a minute, close your eyes and
root yourself in mountain pose, imagine your connection to the earth,
grounding you and making any present moment more palatable.
Visualize a peaceful holiday. As in the exercise above, ask yourself
what your priorities are this holiday? What key words do you want to
espouse- love, joy, compassion? Keep these in mind as you visualize
peace for you and your loved ones. Maybe that means you will have to
graciously decline a party or offer up that your adult siblings just
donate to charities instead of trying to find gifts for people that
are hard to shop for.
Allow yourself to come first. “What!? That sounds selfish!” Think of
it more like they recommend on a plane- put your oxygen mask on before
you help others. Make the necessary choices for yourself so you don't
get burnt out or sick and unable to do much of anything! As a child
you may not have had the authority to choose how much holiday folly to
subject yourself to. You are an adult now and can choose new ways to
celebrate or how much you want to commit to. Maybe this means letting
go of a time-consuming tradition that just doesn't ring true to you
Be forgiving. This goes for yourself and others. We all make mistakes!
Just because you can't afford (or don't want to pay an arm and a leg)
to get your child a Hatchimal (the latest toy craze), doesn't mean
their Christmas will be completely ruined. If we are all compassionate
and understand if someone can't make an event then everyone will have
less pressure to squeeze in all these events!
Make time for self-care. Come up with a list of four or five things
you can do when you are starting to get overwhelmed, and make a point
to do one or two a week. These could be taking a bath with oils and
epsom salts, getting therapy or a massage, or, of course- coming to
Dig Yoga to continue a regular practice that will keep your blood
pressure down and give you some much-needed endorphins.
Whatever it takes to get you to not only survive, but to thrive this
holiday season, do take the time to grant yourself your own wishes.
Carving out time for self-care and wellbeing will allow you to do more
and be more present to truly savor these important moments. Whether
you're sticking with old traditions or making some new ones, remember
to breathe and to be here now.
About the author: Amanda Childs is a recent yoga addict, thanks to Dig
Studios, and a teacher and writer. While living in California from
2013-2016, she and her now-fiance spent every Christmas just the two
of them (very different from big family get-togethers in the midwest
or east coast they usually had), starting new traditions together like
hiking by the ocean! Now again living back on the east coast, they
look forward to holidays with friends and family, and also intend to
use some of these tips over the next month!!!