The holidays brings up so much for us. I’ve noticed that all of the things we’ve gone through this year, from loved ones choosing to leave this earthly plane, to earthly disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, to massive inner upheavals surfacing to be addressed, has left many of us feeling vulnerable during a time when popular media touts the over saturation of holiday joy and consumerism.
What can we do when we’re struggling to find peace during the holidays?
- Reset your breathing.
Why: When we feel the stress, the sympathetic nervous system kicks into gear. Our heartbeats race, cortisol is released (which is why if you are under constant stress, the regular release of cortisol accumulates and increases the girth of your waistline), and our breathing gets shallow, among other things. This is our body’s way to process incoming danger, which is useful when we occasionally encounter stress. But, when we are under stress for long periods of time, our sympathetic nervous system is over-stimulated, and our body takes a toll. Part of that is having generally suppressed breathing. This decreases oxygen to our brain and the rest of our body system. To keep things running smoothly, and to allow the Qi to cultivate and flow more freely within our meridians, regulating our breathing is vital.
How: To reset your breathing, especially if you’re having an anxiety attack, breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4, and breathe out, slowly, through your mouth, for a count of 8. So simple, yet effective!
- Talk a salt bath.
Why: Aside from feeling absolutely wonderful, warm salt baths are excellent detoxifiers! Not only on a physical level, to release painful muscles after a workout or muscle strain, and even to stave off an oncoming cold, but it energetically cleanses our spirit of energies that no longer serve us. This is especially helpful if you’ve had a long day around toxic people, or attended a party where you were overloaded with stimulation from partygoers (this is especially helpful for empaths, who tend to absorb peoples’ energies like a sponge).
How: Take 3/4 cup of epsom salt (cheaply found at your local drugstore like CVS or Duane Reade) + 3/4 cup of baking soda (adds a detoxing punch, and is excellent to add if you have trouble sleeping) + 4-5 drops essential oils. Pine essential oil is excellent when you want to clear others’ energies from your body and aura, eucalyptus essential oil is great if you want to open up clogged sinuses, or you can use Geranium to gently comfort your Heart.
- Be selective of how you invest your holiday time.
Why: Holiday time is filled with parties, get-togethers, and special events. With so much going on, it’s hard to say “no”, especially when we feel obligated. But in neglecting to say “no” more often, we run the risk of over-committing ourselves to events, leaving us little time to recuperate! This results in taxing our sympathetic nervous system, and leaves us feeling somewhat resentful for overextending ourselves.
How: Only engage in events that you find heart nourishing. Anything else can fall by the wayside. If you find yourself feeling obligated to attend certain events, then make sure you carve out time for yourself, whether it be in that same week, or during the day of the event, itself. Take a few minutes to check in with yourself, and see where your body’s at. Are you breathing easily? Are you feeling centered? If not, what do you need to say to yourself, at that very moment, in order to make the situation more manageable and enjoyable? Find out what that is, and say it to yourself. This is an extension of self-love.
- Practice wellness.
Why: Having wellness practices in place, such as physical activity to get your Liver Qi flowing, regular connection with loved ones to keep our Heart expressions centered in joy, as well as receiving Acupuncture, Reiki, Bodywork, Energywork, or other healing modalities, are all helpful in keeping our Qi open and flowing, our chakras cleansed, and our vibrations high. Meditation and prayer are powerful in wellness practice, and something that I enjoy cultivating every day. At this point, it’s now a habit and a necessity to keep my body, mind, and spirit in check!
How: Bust out that yoga mat/spin class/home video/walk around the block, schedule a meal with a dear one, schedule your wellness appointment, and/or cultivate stillness with prayer or meditation (5 minutes a day to start if you’re a newbie, consistency is key!)
- Drink oatstraw infusions.
Why: Oatstraw is a nervine (that means it calms down your nervous system!) It’s great for anxiety and allows you to feel more at ease. Best thing is, it actually does taste comforting, just like oatmeal!
How: Infuse an ounce of dried oatstraw in boiling water in a closed mason jar overnight, and in the morning, start your day off feeling more relaxed and ready for your day by drinking a strained cupful. You can enjoy it as often as you’d like throughout the day.
So, there you have it! You can’t control what life throws at you during the holidays, but you can do things to help yourself deal with it in ways that are nourishing to your entire being. Keep that in mind when things feel overwhelming!
What is your favorite way to ground yourself during the holidays? I’d love to hear about it!
In heart warmth,
I’ll be performing free ear community acupuncture at the Audre Lorde Project’s Community Care Day this evening, from 7pm-9pm! I’m looking forward to doing the NADA ear acupuncture technique, which is helpful for anxiety, recovery from addictions/cravings, and PTSD. Perfect for the holidays!
Alcantara Acupuncture & Healing Arts has gift certificates available for the holidays! Give yourself or a loved one the gift of wellness to start your New Year off right.
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