Monday, December 1, 2014

Finding Steadiness and Ease During the Holidays

♪ It's the most wonderful time of the year.....♫

Yes, this time of the year is a wonderful time. You get to spend time with family; Some you haven't seen since last holiday. You get to attend lovely events and parties BUT it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year...Funny they didn't make that a song!

You're making a list, and checking it twice...Only this list isn't to see who is naughty or nice. The To-Do lists won't stop growing and the calender keeps filling up. You can feel your fuel running low, and soon this favourite holiday turns into a not-so-favourite holiday.

In Pantanjali's Yoga Sutra we learn about Steadiness(Sthira) and Ease(Sukha). In Asana(Postures) we should always practice Sthira and Sukha. Sthira(Steadiness) to hold steady; Mind, body and soul. Sukha(Ease) to be in that "good space"; That space of comfort in a posture. When you are in perfect alignment and your bones and joints are free from any strain, you are physically and mentally in a "good space".

It's beneficial to live Sthira and Sukha in your daily life. That point of being balanced/steady and at ease. Things may be challenging(just like a Yoga posture) but practicing Sthira and Sukha can bring you back into that "Good space" And you'll be able to take the blinders off of the small stresses this holiday can bring, and focus on the joy and happiness it brings!

How to find that joy and balance during this holiday season? Well, here are some suggestions:

Lose expectations: In Pantanjali's Yoga Sutras we learn about the Yamas and Niyamas. The Yama Aparigraha translates to Non-Attachment It is easy to get so caught up in how things should turn out. How the outcome of something should be. These expectations can take away from us experiencing the real joy of the situation. You'll be attached to the outcome and when it doesn't go the way you expected then that takes away from your joy. Take a breath and let it go. Drop the expectations and just let things be as they are. 

Give time to yourself: How can you fully enjoy this wonderful time of the year if you are running on empty and juggling a dozen things a minute? You can't. Take time for yourself. And let go of the to-do list. Don't think about what you should be doing when you are trying to relax and give back to yourself. Just take a breather and refuel your tank. Reboot!
  • Practice Savasana every day Or take an extra long Savasana at the end of your practice
  • Meditate
  • Practice Yoga
  • Read a Book
  • Take a Hot Bath
  • Have a Hot cup of tea, hot chocolate, coffee, whiskey, etc
  • Cuddle(with your kids, loved ones, dogs, cats, blanket, teddy bear, all of the above!)
  • Move around(dance, go for a walk, a run, etc)
No matter how you like to enjoy your down time, just do it. Take that down time for yourself

Ask for Help: It's okay, you don't have to do all this on your own! You are allowed to ask for help. 
  • Ask a friend or family member if they can watch the kids while you take that down time, or run some errands, Christmas shop, etc. 
  • Host a potluck style brunch or dinner instead of tackling the whole shebang on your own. 
Be Kind to Yourself: This may sound crazy but you are not obligated to do anything you don't want to do. Don't feel you have to attend every function you are invited to. Be kind to yourself! If you rather turn on Netflix and make clothes optional, then do it! This is your holiday, too.

Gratitude Journal: This was something introduced to me during Yoga Teacher Training and I have kept it up since. It has been life changing. As often as you can(I write every night in bed) jot down everything you are grateful for. Sometimes it may be 10 things, other times it may just be one. You may write down that you are grateful for your kids, family and the roof over your head, and one day it might just be that you didn't flip off that driver that cut you off or that you didn't engage in your co-workers argument. Every bit counts!

Reflection/What Does this Time Mean to You: Journal or just think about what this time means to you. What is it that is truly important to you during the holidays? I doubt it's fighting long lines and cranky sales associates while Christmas shopping. It's probably snuggling under a blanket during the snowy nights, gathering with family or friends, sitting by the fire listening to your favourite songs, baking cookies with your loved ones...Whatever the reason may be, reflect on it. 

Live in the Moment: This time can get busy but don't let all that busyness cause the time to fly right by you.

Happy Holidays!

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