6 Essentials for Self Care During The Holidays
Holiday shopping, gift wrapping, decking the halls, food with all of the trimmings, family, multiple parties, TV specials, holiday music and for some, Elf on the Shelf and Santa Claus. Oh, and creating, addressing and mailing holiday cards!
Does this bring you joy or do you feel stress, obligation or overwhelm? While I do enjoy the spirit and magic of the holiday season, I can also feel exhausted about maintaining a high or even steady energy in the midst of the extra busy-ness and experiences; all in the span of a four week period. Whew!
In these times of life, I’m grateful to know how to monitor and maintain the Six Essentials of life for my daily self care. My clients learn about these from the beginning of our relationship and we continue to review and adjust them in every Bioenergetic Synchronization Technique session.
What we eat and drink, how we breathe, exercise, rest and most importantly, the magnitude of what and how often we allow the mind to race and chase, are a foundation for caring for ourselves. Maintaining these individual areas of our life may seem simple. Collectively, they deserve our attention equally and perhaps even some careful planning until it becomes our daily practice and eventually, integrated effortlessly.
Here are a few key factors for maintaining these Six Essentials during the holidays and any day:
1. What We Eat
Eating a plant based diet of approximately 75% fruits and vegetables will help to keep the body alkaline as they are the easiest for the body to digest. Where as too much “party food” creates more acid in the body which can cause fatigue, or inflammation and lead to pain throughout the body.
2. What We Drink
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, room temperature is preferred, to flush out toxins and allow the body to absorb the water. Keep the alcohol, caffeinated drinks and soda to a minimum. These drinks dehydrate the system and can also cause fatigue, dizziness or headaches.
3. How We Breathe
Breathing in a clean environment is clearly important. Conscious breathing is beneficial in times of stress and overwhelm. Dropping your attention into the belly and breathing from the core takes our attention out of the monkey mind and sends a signal to the brain that all is well. This both calms the mind so that we can make clear choices and oxygenates systems in the body.
4. How We Exercise
Exercise is a key component in feeling well and mandatory when we’re eating both more food than usual and rich foods that our body may not be used to. Getting your heart rate up will boost your metabolism, where strength training will maintain muscle tone. If you’re not an athlete or a gym rat, walk! It’s convenient and the contralateral movement keeps the left brain and right brain communicating, which is once again important to keep the mind clear for healthy, conscious choices.
5. When We Rest
Rest is not just a good nights sleep. I have clients that literally fall asleep on my table because most people don’t take a moment, let alone 10-20 minutes to simply “be” at some point throughout their day. Sitting mindlessly on a park bench or a silent place in your home, or perhaps in the sand at the beach if it is available, can be very calming. Try this, without a laptop computer a cell phone or even a book. Comfortably sit or lie down and quietly rest both the body and the mind.
6. What and How We Think
Thinking is the clincher here. Overthinking and negative thinking are big culprits of taking us out of the game completely. During the holiday season with all that there is to do and who we share our time with, can send the mind spinning. Be aware of what’s running through the brain and possibly causing more angst than you need. If you don’t already have a meditation practice or prior to a meditation practice, set the intention to pause in the moments of crazy, consciously release the over or negative thought of the hour and clear away what isn’t serving you in that moment. Using the breath, as stated above is wonderful way to support this process.
How do I do this during the holidays you may ask? By making mindful conscious choices that also feel good in your body. Putting your needs at the top of the list is most beneficial. Maybe you don’t say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. In fact, there may be times when you need to course correct during this time and graciously bow out of seeming obligations. Discern what truly matters to you. This can absolutely be tricky with family and, this is an opportunity for you to step into living intentionally without being reactive.
Put your attention on your heart and ask what truly matters to me? Perhaps it’s being with friends or family, serving your community or cultivating magic in your day. This may be an inquiry first thing in the morning, or even a moment to moment question. Allow your heart, mind and body to melt together and choose from an integrated place of spaciousness. Breathe into the answer and honor it. Ah, now that that feels wonderful.