Self-Care for the Holidays & Always
Self-Care is always vitally important to our overall mental, emotional and physical health. With the stress of the holiday season it is even more important to be sure you take time for yourself and your well-being.
From buying gifts, to cooking, preparing our homes, dealing with family members and simply getting it all done we can often lose sight that we're meant to be celebrating!
In order to keep you grounded, full of self-love, and feeling your best leading up to and in the New Year, I have made a list of my must do's in order to always be filled with vibrancy and joy.
PS-These tips are invaluable throughout the entire year, self-care should always be a priority! The more time you take for yourself the better your quality of life is, in all aspects.
1. Say thank you every morning
For your body, your home, the food in your fridge, the health of family members and for the doctors to help those who are ailing. On and on and on, from the simplest to the most lush and luxurious parts of your life.
2. Breathe deeply + slowly and continue to do so throughout the day
Everyone pretty much breathes incorrectly. As you inhale you want your stomach to expand outwards, and as you exhale you want your belly button to come back toward your spine. Breath should be long, even and deep. An excellent calming breath given to me by my teacher & guru Sri Dharma Mittra is a wonderful tool.
Inhale for 2, hold for 4, exhale for 2.
If you're able to you can:
inhale for 4, hold for 8, exhale for 4.
Just let the breath be smooth, slow, and even + take your time!
3. Find kindness, compassion and patience for others
When you are in a long line or stuck in traffic, know that everyone else has things to do, wants to get home and is doing the absolute best they can. Huffing and puffing does not make anyone's day easier (especially the cashier's) and will only leave you feeling angry or frustrated. Instead use your calming breath, and remember kindness always begets kindness.
You'll leave feeling lighter, and won't bring home any anger which would only cause you greater suffering.
4. Do your yoga or exercise as much as possible
When you hold a yoga pose for a long amount of time it alters your state of consciousness, and we all know the gym releases endorphins, keeps our heart healthy, and makes us feel accomplished (which makes us happy!)
If you're feeling anxious or angry take a nice long seated forward fold and if you need to, let the soles of your feet come together so that your legs form a diamond shape; whatever will allow you to surrender to the pose. Anytime your head is below your heart your nervous system will relax.
Laying down flat on the floor with your legs on the wall is also extremely relaxing and requires no effort, allowing your whole back to open up. Nice deep breaths are an invaluable tool!
Whatever you prefer, just be sure to make time for your body to move and be acknowledged.
5. Find simple ways to care for yourself
Bubble baths, a long walk, or a meditation.
We often explode because we feel under appreciated, taken for granted, or just plain exhausted. You are allowed to take care of you, and you can not always look to others to do it for you. Learn how to love yourself up and take sweet care of yourself, and your emotions will never again get the best of you.
A great beginner meditation:
Stare at the flame of a candle
Close your eyes and keep the candle in your mind for as long as possible.
When the image starts to fade look at the candle again, close your eyes and hold the image in your mind.
Do this for about 3-5 minutes, longer if you can.
6. Chant the sound of "Om"
OM is the universal vibration and the sound of creation. When you chant this sound you calm your nerves and align yourself with the heavens. This sound will help you to remember that we are all one, and when you can do this you do not get frustrated with strangers, loved ones, or yourself.
7. Check your shoulders and your feet
If you're feeling frustrated, worried or tense I guarantee your shoulders are scrunched up way by your ears. Letting them simply roll down the back will enhance your mood threefold.
Anxious? Your feet are probably not firmly planted, soles down on the ground beneath you. Let them fully rest, supported by the floor and bring your palms to your knees, with a nice even breath (maybe the calming breath from above!)
You will feel much better!
8. Eat veggies!
We need them, so beautiful and green. You do not have to remove anything from your diet, instead allow yourself to simply include more greens, your body will thank you!
When your body is happy and healthy, your mind is happy and healthy.
9. Remember to love yourself
When you love yourself you take the time to be good to yourself, to nourish your body with whole foods, and to surround yourself with people who make you feel good. Your home will be cleaner, your food will be healthier, and your heart will be lighter.
10. Treat yourself to something special
You deserve it! You are worthy! You are wonderful!
It is when we choose not to care for ourselves mentally, spiritually and physically that our bodies create sickness and disease, it is the only way for them to get our attention. Choose to take these preventative measures and feel the healthy vitality that is your body's natural state.
Choose to love yourself.
You can use these tools any time of day, at any moment. During commercials, while the water is boiling, on line, in the shower-anywhere! Another trick I love is to simply set a timer or alarm--take an hour or 20 minutes to yourself without checking the clock and allow yourself to remember that life is meant to be lived, not accomplished.
May you have a beautiful New Year and allow yourself to slowly and kindly integrate these changes so that they become life-long habits.
Blessed Be + Om Shanti!