Yogify Your Holiday Season

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

holidays?

 

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

anymore.

 

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!!!