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Put down your holiday to-do list and try these tips for staying grounded and feeling serene all season long.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed this time of year. There’s never enough time to do everything you planned to do, your healthful habits get pushed aside, you still have work demands as your social and family obligations ramp up. And 30 people will be showing up at your (still to be cleaned) house in two days!
It may feel like you don’t have a spare moment, but you do. And all it takes is a few seconds, just mere minutes, to pause and hit the reset button for a fresh outlook and a quieter, calmer you.
Start the Day Right
Adopt a morning ritual that allows you to set a positive intention for the day. Do Ujjayi Pranayama for a few minutes to steady the breath and calm the mind. Visualize the kind of day you want to have, allowing your mind to resonate with your goals.
Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a real smile and an intentional one. So making yourself smile more often can actually make you feel calmer and happier. Before you know it, you won’t even remember feeling stressed out.
If you begin to feel your blood pressure rise, take a few minutes for this simple vinyasa flow:
Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), with hands in prayer position. As you inhale, raise your arms overhead into Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute), silently chanting “Om” as you move. As you exhale, bring your hands to the earth in Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), silently chanting “Namaha.” Repeat 10 times, making sure to breathe deeply throughout.
Play it Again
Your body responds to the rhythms in your environment. You can manipulate this effect and lift your mood by filling your space with a rhythm that puts you in a happy place. Choose tunes with about 60 beats per minute (Bob Marley, anyone?). Close your eyes, stay conscious of your listening, and feel as your breathing and heart rate begin to slow and a sense of calm comes over you.
Brew Some Bliss
In contrast to the high-octane coffee break, a cup of freshly brewed tea offers a mellow pick-me-up.
4 black peppercorns
4 whole green cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
a 1/2-inch slice fresh ginger
half a cinnamon stick
1 1/2 C water
Put all the ingredients in a pot and boil for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of your milk of choice, along with a black tea bag, and steep for 5 minutes.
Let the World In
Reap the benefits of meditation by heading outdoors for a short walking break with your senses set to receive.
Pay attention to anything you hear. Listen completely—the barking of a dog, the rattle of a truck, the wind in the leaves. Allow these sights and sounds to penetrate you, and you’ll begin to experience true inner peace.
A short, soothing bedtime routine signals to your body and mind that it’s time to let go of the day and rest.
Add 2 drops each of lavender, chamomile, and rose essential oil to 2 oz. organic almond oil. Blend together and sprinkle a drops into your palms. Massage your face and neck gently with upward strokes. Pinch lightly along the eyebrow, and then press down along the ridge under your eye. Finish with circular full-facial strokes before placing the palms over your closed eyes, and inhaling deeply for a few seconds.