Yikes! is the beauty of this joyful season causing you more stress and anxiety than “great tidings of comfort and joy”? Whether you celebrate Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or another seasonal tradition, the societal expectations can put you over the edge.
I have given this a lot of thought. Rather than try to be all things to all people, how about picking the traditions that give you happiness versus trying to do it all. Perhaps not sending Christmas cards to a hundred people causes anxiety. How about sending 10 handwritten ones to people far away that you don’t see and that you really want to communicate with? If baking 9 dozen cookies for a cookie swap does not sound fun, ask the hostess if may come and say hello and just bring some egg nog for the swappers to share?
I also know that for me when I get overwhelmed with things, I let some of my personal care go, for some of us that is our yoga practice. The stress we feel from trying to balance the holiday commitments may bring on feelings of irritation, short temperedness and fatigue. As we get run down, we also may be susceptible to colds and flu.
Let’s try to fit in our yoga practice – even a short one, or an outdoor walk – embracing its benefits as it works on our mind, body, and breath. Don’t worry about fitting in full classes, there are lots of ways to fit in short practices that will promote wellbeing.
Our breath practice helps us bring flow of oxygen to the brain, slowing our heart rate and activating our parasympathetic nerve system. The asanas help strengthen and loosen our muscles and meditation helps us manage stress and negativity.
Let’s take a short walk and do a simple practice to help combat the downsides of the holidays so that you move through them as happy and nimble as an elf!
Here are some articles that discuss yoga’s power to reduce stress and some practices to try.
Our Practice – YouTube or Zoom?
Instead of focusing on a specific pose, I suggest this season we find ways to fit a practice in whether it be self-led or with an instructor. All our classes are Zoom-able – when you sign up the Zoom link will be automatically sent whether you are in person or on Zoom. If that does not work for you, remember I have several short practices on the Rockbriar Farm YouTube channel. Link to that is here:
Additionally, I recommend fellow online yogis Kassandra and Adrienne. They both have wonderful short 10-20 minutes practices for all levels. Here is a link to a 20 minute one that I am currently enjoying (with lots of modifications for my hip)
Meditation – Holiday Season
“The Joy of brightening other lives, bearing each other’s burdens, easing each other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” – W. C. Jones
“I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” - Maya Angelou.
Nurturing with Food – Peanut Brittle
This recipe is a deviation from my usual “healthful” recommendations and recipes, it is the holidays after all. As my husband embarks upon his marathon cookie making, I make some cookies and candy. Very few are vegan or dairy free and I have been known to have one or two anyway.
One of the candies I make is peanut brittle. The key to the recipe is to use a candy thermometer, getting it to the right temperature is key for it to crack properly and not be sticky. It is easy to make and addictive. It is nondairy except for a teaspoon of butter at the end which can be omitted, or vegan butter substituted. Enjoy!
See you on the mat!