‘Home’ for the Holidays
Striving for ‘wellness’ is a popular aim these days. But somehow we can lose sight of that goal of physical, mental, and social wellbeing during the holiday season, with a deleterious impact on everyone, the skilled juggling of extra engagements with colleagues and family, and related, so-called, responsibilities, all too easily becoming the main and elusive achievement. It seems like something has to give, and that often becomes our self-care, as Hanukkah, Christmas, and other festivities, approach. The logistics of the joy to be shared amped up with such fervour, that when we do gather to celebrate, it doesn’t always play out as well as hoped.
And so, the greater good in fact requires an attuned focus on the retention of a balance that includes the self, for otherwise, we wind up too stressed out, too disembodied, to truly partake in the special moments discoverable along winter’s trail. The following are a few suggestions for maintaining a blissful, conscious, harmony in the weeks ahead:
Exercise and Sleep
Find time for the group classes you enjoy – yoga, Pilates, barre, spin – and not at the expense of sleep (say no to something else instead – think about it, and you’ll likely discern a few things expendable this busy month)! Burn off some tension in a Power Yoga class. Simultaneously take your mindfulness up a notch in 889’sThe Move + Meditate. Such diligence could keep you from reaching for that second or third spiced (and maybe spiked) Holiday Nog, and umpteenth piece of vegan peppermint bark, moderation being the key here. Regular exercise increases energy levels and allows for the release of neurochemicals associated with improved mood, decreasing the notional need for a sugar high. Maintaining engagement with our bodies keeps us from filling them with too much of anything lacking good nutrition.
As temperatures dip, we often seek the comfort of the couch in our ‘free’ time, and whatever tantalizing program Apple TV+/Netflix/Prime Video happens to be streaming. Perfect for binge-watching – I did this myself recently, watching the entire Modern Love anthology series in one fell swoop (well, two, but there were eight episodes!) just because there was snow on the ground. But take time over the busy holidays for intermittent explorations outside, in lieu of too much screen-grazing, the indoors all the cozier afterwards, and with rosy cheeks. Bundle up and bring a friend (or furry creature) with you on that winter stroll, or embrace the quiet by yourself, making it a moving meditation. But be sure to fill a thermos with a nut milk latte or plant-based soup before you head out. A sustainable habit that will keep you from reaching for the store-bought and plastic-contained at whatever shop beckons along the way.
You can even do your shopping outdoors, at the Christmas Market at the Distillery District (Nov. 14 to Dec. 22, except Mondays), say. Or make the city’s ramped up December energy your own with a skate on one of our many public rinks afterwards. There’s a new one outside Union Station on Front Street (Nov. 29 to Jan. 4) and a dreamy one amidst the gardens at Evergreen Brick Works, for example, to enjoy. Being in nature one of the best spirit boosts overall.
Maintain Relaxing Self-Care Practices
In the midst of your holiday errands, wrapping, or entertaining, unwind at home, and augment your awareness, by engaging in your yoga self-practice or meditating. Add some relaxing essential oils to the air (Bergamot orange, for example, always nice this time of year), or a bath, or make soy candles with such and savor – a great gift for loved ones. Think one for me, one for you! A creative outlet’s simply wonderful for stress busting.
Consider scheduling a holistic treatment in advance for a quieter, vacation, day: you’ll know the reprieve is up ahead. Bolster your inner calm in a restorative group class such as 889’s Release and Restore or The Restore + Reiki, amongst other like-minded individuals in our 889 Community.
Make a Commitment to Yourself
Take a deep breath right now, and diarize accordingly, such that your self-care plans truly take effect as days become more hectic. Schedule breaks right into your calendar, along with everything else, such that the time you give yourself doesn’t give way to the more bustling demands of the season. It may seem silly to make an ‘appointment’ to read that good book, or go for a winter ski or snowshoe, but doing so could guarantee your chosen wellness priorities don’t get lost in the fray.
You can connect deeply with all of the wonderful people in your life this coming winter holiday, there is time, but the quality of that engagement will most likely be augmented with some care and foresight, even if the quantity diminishes slightly. Make your choices intentional, and new, healthy, patterns can evolve. That way, you may never again find yourself looking around on December 26th and asking ‘What the @*!# happened?’ Or find yourself with a hangover the first day of the New Year, rather than a strong sense of opportunity for even further growth in the year ahead, as you bring your unique gifts to bear on the planet in a steady and 365-days-a-year-conscientious way.
Written by: Leah Lutz