Self Care can be challenging any time of year, but it can be extra challenging around the holidays. Holidays are not particularly easy for a lot of people. They bring up core issues, sadness and depression. There is also a pressure to buy the right gifts, make the right meals and to look a certain way. It is, sometimes, all too much. I personally, love the holidays but also feel the stress of the season so here is my guide for self-care from now through January 1st.
was given the gift of mediation at a very young age. I realize that it does not come as easy for everybody. Even if it is just a quick 3 minutes meditation every day. Take a moment to sit in a quite place, close your eyes and breathe deeply. If you have more time, that is wonderful, but 3 minutes is just long enough to connect and reset. I like to practice the alternating nostril breath. To do this plug your right nostril with the middle finger of your left hand and inhale to the count of 8. Hold for a few moments and then plug your left nostril with your thumb and exhale. For more information on this meditation click HERE.
Make good food choices:
This can be tricky as the "right" foods are different for everyone. What I mean by this, is to eat as much of a whole food diet as you can. Especially this time of year our bodies crave warming foods like winter squash, root vegetables, dark leafy greens, whole grains, beans etc. I like to batch cook roasted vegetable and grains so that I can throw together a quick bowl when I'm hungry instead of going to those convenience foods that don't make me feel very good (let's be real, I have an addiction to boxed macaroni and cheese). These foods will not only make your body feel good, but will also keep you grounded and balanced around all the chaos of the season. Learning to listen to your body is a learning curve. For example; usually when you are craving sugar (yes, you may have a sugar addiction, but that's a conversation for another time), your body is actually craving protein. Try eating a slice of organic cheese, an egg or some baked tofu. It will typically curb the craving. When that doesn't do the trick I will eat a date with almond butter, a piece of organic dark chocolate or a homemade goodie made without refined sugar. My philosophy this time of year is to eat really well 85% of the time and to indulge the other 15%. The reality is that there is no point in completely restricting yourself from all the things you love, but the constant over indulgence isn't healthy either. There is a balance and it's important to find which balance is for you. The whole mentality of "the diet starts Monday" is not healthy. It creates an anxiety around your food with effects your digestion and the way your body takes it in. Try to give yourself permission to enjoy what you eat and not guilt trip yourself. At the end of the date, eat the pie, have some roasted vegetables and go to sleep, you're gonna be ok!
Attitude of Gratitude:
No matter how busy I am, I always take time to write down 5 things I am grateful for each day. Not only does this put life into perspective, but it also makes you stop and think about how much you actually have. We can get so caught up in all the things we want and not have appreciation for what we already have in front of us. It's powerful to recognize those things and send out grateful energy. Not only does it feel good to do this, but it also cultivates more positive energy in your life. Why is this in my self-care for the holidays post? Because self-care isn't always about taking a bath or eating a cookie, it's also about connecting with yourself, honoring your body and creating an awareness of what you need. On the flip side, it is also ok to journal about all the things that are effecting you. Journal it out. Write about your frustration and your stresses and then set intention to surrender or release (if you're ready) and if you're not that is ok too. Self-compassion is a hard thing to learn, but it is of utmost importance. Learning to not be so hard on yourself will truly have a huge impact on your life.
Move Your Body:
Whether it is getting outside for a walk, doing 15 minutes of yoga, getting some cardio in or just putting on a song and dancing your heart out, MOVE YOUR BODY! There is so much science and research about the effects exercise not only has on the body but on the brain. It is an incredible anti-depressant, lifts your spirit, strengthens your body and releases toxins. On an energetic level it also shakes all the shit off. So if you're feeling super low, get that body moving and sweat it out. You don't have to run 3 miles for it to be effective, just do something that gets your blood circulating and your heart rate up. Most importantly, don't beat yourself up if a day goes by and you don't move. Just start again tomorrow.
The Holiday season should be something that in enjoyed. It should be spent with the people you love and enjoy spending time with. But, unfortunately, this is not always the case. This is the time of year when you really need to put your mental health before anything else. Take a bath at the end of the day, read a book that brings your joy, eat foods that nourish your body, but that also taste delicious. It's so important to take time each day to connect with yourself. Connect with what is stressing you out and causing you anxiety and see if there is something you can do about it. Try to stay present in the moment, BE IN YOUR BODY and breathe. If this post does nothing more then give women the permission to take care of themselves and be a little selfish, then I have done my job.