Less than a month to go, and the combined pressures of Christmas, winter, darkness, and the end of the year are starting to build. The beginning of every class’s question, how are you and what would you like, is being met with exhaustion, stress and a deep request for calm and peace.
After the joys of October and the bright lights of November, we often think of Christmas as festivities time. And then, come the actual moment, find ourselves moaning about how silly season has taken over. The story we tell ourselves is more powerful here than the reality, pub drinks while fun are not usually life or death decisions we have to make. The truth is we enjoy them, and we are drawn to doing what we enjoy most. What we don’t enjoy is the aftermath and the build up of taxation on our bodies at a time of year that is arguably the toughest ride for our physical selves in terms of gathering energy (in the form of sleep, food, and daylight hours) and managing it.
The Ayurvedic commentary on this is that its entirely natural in Winter, particularly in the colder north, to feel it is a time for for turning inwards, for self awareness and for self nurturing.
So how do we support our busy lives and balance the desire for peace with the desire to party. Here are five ways to create that balance.
- Move your body in a way that nurtures you. Play your boundaries in terms of pushing yourself and avoid things you know you don’t like. Do things you enjoy, even love and do them in a way that warms you up from the inside out. Build up to the peak of the session so that you’re warm and ready to go all out when you want to. Dance, pilates, yoga, box fit, whatever floats your boat, and cool down properly afterwards (and warmly – stay well wrapped up after exercise).
- Breathe with awareness at the navel centre. Place your hand on the tummy just above your belly button, and breathe into your hand. If you notice that you are restricting your breath, or not completing your exhales, see if you can allow all the breath to release, and let the inhale come naturally, while your attention is here in the belly.
- Be peaceful for five minutes before you go to bed and after you wake up. Focus on your breath, on the good things in your day passed or ahead, remind yourself what you are thankful for and if you are so inclined, pray. Remember how content you can feel, and for a few moments, feel it.
- Look at your tongue in the morning. If it is whitish, use a spoon to scrape the whiteness off before brushing your teeth. Then drink warm water, either with a squeeze of lemon if you need reviving, or with a soothing tea like the Pukka Herbs Cleanse tea, or simply Nettle tea (available from all UK supermarkets – and on every hedgerow you’ve ever passed if picked carefully!)
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink warm water or herbal teas through the day. Eat foods high in good fats and oils, eggs, avocados, olive oil. Cook with coconut oil, and use good quality fats in every meal to give your digestive tract some well needed support.If you get dry skin, moisturise both inside and out. Use a good quality, unscented, moisturiser. If you want to pull the stops out, spend an hour covering yourself in sesame oil, and hanging out with it on the skin for 40 minutes before showering and moisturising.
Above all remember that you are the master of your destiny. The choices you make moment to moment define your future experience. The natural consequence of overloading yourself with sugar, caffeine, the legal uppers and downers that our society supports, is self evident. You are wise enough to know how to make the choice that best suits you. And when you do that the majority of the time, you’ll give yourself more space and leeway to throw caution to the wind and have a blast for an evening without tipping the balance into ill health and exhaustion.
Look after yourself.