Top 3 Ayurvedic Self Care Tips for the HolidaysDec 18, 2022
This brings the Ayurveda series to a close (and blogs for 2022, as I’m taking next week off) with my Top 3 Ayurvedic Self Care Tips for the Holidays. They will help you reduce the stress of modern life, and especially the holiday season upon us. These likely won’t be completely new to you, you may already be a practitioner, but it never hurts to take a closer look and ensure that you incorporate them into your daily routine.
#3 – Make the treats healthy!
By now you know how important it is to
- Just Eat Real Food!
- And to eat according to your dosha. Need to read that one again? Click HERE.
But during the holidays, one of the hardest things to do is resist all the treats with processed ingredients, especially those full of refined sugar and flour. While the occasional treat is unlikely to cause harm, we know that many of us can have a tendency to go overboard because, well, “it’s the holidays!”
The trick is preparation. If you're asked to bring a contribution, offer something you know you’ll be able to eat, like veggies and hummus (homemade of course!). Or if baked goods are in order, find something yummy that uses gluten-free flour and natural sugars like honey or male syrup - but not too much!
So here are some recipes that will satisfy without disrupting your hard work and resolve to stay healthy.
#2 – Wind down at night
Do you deserve time to yourself? Yes!
Do you want to have a good night’s sleep? Yes!
Are you tired of binge-watching on Netflix? OK, don’t answer that.
If you align your daily practices to the Rhythms of Nature, you know that it’s important to wind down after dinner, and prepare you mind and body for a restorative sleep
The biggest challenge for most of us is to turn all screens off early - no binge-watching, no disturbing news shows, no working into the night, ….
But when you do, you’ll have time for self-care! And yes, you deserve it.
So pick one or two ideas every night. These can vary from day to day, but my favourites are some restorative yoga (legs up the wall!), a hot bath with epsom salts and essential oils, and some light reading before lights out.
#1 – Meditation
Of course you knew this had to be my #1 top tip!
Don’t think you can meditate?
Try this: Sit, close your eyes, take a breath and follow it into your body - there, you’re meditating!
But then, do you get distracted by other thoughts, to-do lists, other people? That’s OK! Just acknowledge, and come back to your next breath
Follow your breath into your body - feel or imagine the air entering your lungs, your lungs expand, your diaphragm (the muscle between chest and abdominal areas of your body) lowers, compressing your lower organs , so that your “belly expands” - I know that as yoga teachers we ask you to “breathe into your belly”. Of course that’s not what’s really happening, but imagine that it is! By following the breath and noticing your body in this way, there's less chance of distractions.
Another way to stay with your breath is to count during inhale, count during exhale - this keeps your focus more on the breath. The number doesn’t matter, the time (seconds) doesn’t matter. And then whatever the count is for your inhale, can you make the exhale a couple of counts longer? This is the magic that stimulates the Vagus nerve, turns on the Parasympathetic Nervous System - known as “rest and digest” and turns off the “fight or flight” of the Sympathetic NS.
That’s what we want in this fast paced 21st Century world, and that’s what the ancient Ayurvedic practitioners practiced.
So take a few moments, sit and breathe, focus within. First thing in the morning will start your day off with some calm (especially if your thoughts keep you awake at night), and then during the whenever you feel your nervous system start to ramp up those stress levels!
And for even more self-care, self-love tips, check out last year’s holiday blog!
Happy Holidays to all – see you in 2023!
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