Handling the holidays with grace
For many, the holiday season throws our schedules and routines off. We often forsake our own needs in exchange for common social interaction over meals and conversation. In one sense, it's a wonderful time to surrender yourself to this process and abandon your normal routines, which can surprisingly reinvigorate our awareness and bring a fresh perspective to those routines. Surrendering can also make space to bring a more open mindset to family interactions and help us to be fully present. On the other hand, if we completely lose sight of what we usually do to feel balanced, you may find yourself feeling emotionally unstable, moody, and irritable, which can unintentionally be taken out on family members. Remember, we want holiday time together to be merry, harmonious, restful, and fun! So, this season make the intention to find the middle ground between surrendering yourself fully to the chaos and being too set in your own ways to enjoy the spontaneity of group mentality.
Follow these Ayurvedic tips to get the best of both worlds:
1) Upon waking sit up in bed, rub your hands together and sweep them over your head, face and neck towards your heart. Do the same along your arms, belly, chest and back working towards your heart. Finish with your palms together at heart center and set an intention for the day: "May I treat myself with kindness, may I extend that kindness out towards others and may all those around me today do the same." Take a moment to think about what you love about your family members or whomever you are spending your holiday with and what you are grateful for.
2) Look at your tongue in the mirror and use a tongue scraper to gently scrape it from back to front 7 times, rinse it, then do it again 7 times. Brush your teeth and drink 1/2-1 cup of plain warm water.
3) Plan ahead and get some plain, organic, unrefined sesame oil so you can do a modified Abhyanga (self-massage) before you shower. Shorten this by applying a thin layer in circular motions to your joints and particular areas of soreness or tension. And/or, apply a small amount of sesame oil to the crown of your head and the soles of your feet at night just before bed. If you will be taking a plane you can also swab sesame oil in each nostril using your pinky finger. Then pinch both nostrils closed, release and inhale deeply. Do this three times. This will protect the mucus membranes from becomming too dry and will prevent germs from traveling up the nasal pathways.
4) Invite family members to exercise with you. Either go for a daily walk, hike, dance or do yoga/stretching together. This can be a wonderful way to diversify how you spend time together.
5) Remember to bring Triphala with you! Take 1/2 teaspoon either in powder or tablet form with 1/2 cup of warm water after dinner or before bed - regardless of what time you get to bed or what you have had to eat or drink! You will thank yourself in the morning. Triphala is abundant in vitamin C, will improve digestion, and strengthen immunity.
Remember, instead of lecturing family members on how they should do things differently, simply share your experience of what you do to stay healthy and invite them to participant. Actions speak louder than words and this creates a feeling of inclusiveness. If you know this simply won't fly with your family members, just do what you need to do for you. You will all reap the benefits of these simple measures because you will be happier. When you are happier it will affect and infect everyone around you, even if they don't know why. Hold this simple phrase in your heart: May all beings everywhere be happy!
Melissa Di Rito, AHP, RYT