The holiday season is the most celebrated time of the year, but it can also bring high levels of stress and anxiety. Shopping for gifts, getting the house ready for guests and preparing the perfect holiday meal can get in the way of enjoying the season for what it truly is - not only a time to cherish our family and friends but also at time to cherish and nurture ourselves.
Although it may sound like a difficult task, there are effective ways to maintain your inner
balance and truly enjoy this time of the year.
Stay active - A regular exercise program has been shown to enhance your mood and keep
stress levels in check. An exercise session should leave you feeling energized not completely exhausted. At this time of the year your daily life is moving at a fast forward pace. Continue your current exercise program but alternate it with a slower pace activity. Take a morning walk, practice yoga, tai chi or choose an activity that you enjoy. While exercising be in tune with your body and notice how it feels. Let it be your guide on the choices you make. Your body never lies.
Eat well - Eat in moderation with the mindset that you are eating to nourish your body. Avoid
emotional eating. Ask yourself if you are eating because you are hungry or just stressed. Eating for optimal health will not only help you maintain your weight during the season, it will also help keep your immune system strong. Balance your meals by sparsely consuming sugary and fatty foods and being more generous on portions of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Limit your intake of red meat, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates. Create holiday recipes that are delicious, healthy and balanced for your guests. If you enjoy holistic eating, consider bringing the fundamental principals of Ayurveda cooking into your holiday feast. This 5,000 year old science of life teaches us to balance our meals by including each of the six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. For example: raspberries are sweet and sour, fish is sweet and salty; cheese is sweet, sour and salty; chocolate can be sweet, bitter and astringent. By following these guidelines you will ensure that all major food groups and nutrients are represented. When you include all six tastes, you will also notice that you feel satisfied and that the urge to snack and overeat will diminish. By nourishing your body, you will be also nourishing your mind.
Sleep well - The benefits of a good night sleep are usually underrated. Restful sleep is known to reduce stress, keep your immune system strong, improve memory are among a few of its many benefits. Your body and your mind need this time to rebuild and recharge. It may be tempting to stay up late at night chatting over the kitchen counter but even during the holidays, try to keep a regular bedtime. Avoid looking at your smartphone or tablet right before bedtime.
The bright light send signals to your brain with a message that it is time to wake up.
Have a calming bedtime routine, like gentle yoga or relaxation.
Practice mindfulness - Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at anytime. Turn off the autopilot while performing your daily activities and be fully present in each moment. Be completely involved in your daily activities. For example, while wrapping gifts instead of thinking of the gifts you still need to buy, enjoy the process, do it with your heart. Send the gift recipient loving energy and thoughts.That will bring you back to the reason why you purchased the gift in the first place - loving kindness.
Be loving, be peaceful, give and be open to receiving. Stay balanced and enjoy the beauty of the season. Happy Holidays!
Virna Lichter is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Yoga and
Meditation instructor, and Owner at Energia Yoga and Fitness Studios. For
more information on how to work with Virna on your health and wellness goals call 813-973-7300