Solace + Self-Care: A Holiday Survival Guide

If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.
— Ram Das

For some of us, the holidays are full of happiness; relatives joyfully gathering over mom’s famous stuffing, talent shows, mugs of hot cocoa, and sugar plum fairies dancing in our dreams. Just kidding. Real life holidays are more likely to include your crazy uncle getting way too drunk, your little cousins scream-crying, and your grandma asking you why you’re not married yet.

In all seriousness, I feel blessed to have a great relationship with my parents and immediate family members, but somehow holidays can still be a trying time. To gird yourself for lots of time around kin in the coming weeks, I’ve complied five easy (and sneaky) ways to find solace and self-care no matter what the holidays have in store for you.

CARVE OUT QUIET TIME || There is immense peace and power in silence. Even 5 minutes of silence.  Maybe it’s in silent meditation. Maybe it’s a savasana in the middle of your still-decked-out-in-beanie-babies-kid-room. Maybe it’s in the bathroom with the light turned off so you can escape without nosy family members wondering where you are. Find some time to be alone and take some deep breaths.

TRY A GROUNDING MUDRA || Mudras, (for the purpose of this blog) are a sort of ‘hand yoga’ and they serve as easy and pretty sneaky to relax. Bhu mudra is one of my (and my clients’) favorites for a quick way to cultivate a greater sense of inner calm no matter what’s happening around you. How to do this mudra? Simply make the peace sign with both hands and then turn your fingertips down and gently press them into your thighs. Take a few breaths and feel your body settle, root, re-anchor into the support of mama earth.  

FIND A POSITIVE MANTRA || If confidence-erosion was an Olympic sport, it’s usually a near and dear family member that could take home the gold medal. Oft not meant to be malicious, snide comments are often heightened during times of “holiday cheer.” Pre-selecting a positive phrase, affirmation or mantra can really help. Sat Nam or “truth is my identity” – is a powerful, self-affirming mantra. If you’re not into the Sanskrit, try something like – “I am grounded, I am strong”; or “I am unshakable and I love my life.” 

USE GOOD FOOD || Holidays are sometimes synonymous with stuffing-your-face and getting out the post-Thanksgiving stretchy pants. But, I believe there is another way! A way to enjoy the bounty of this season without wrecking your health. If no one’s making a green veggie dish at an event, bring one yourself. If you know talking to your Aunt Bessie always makes you beeline to the cookies, then do your best to avoid her or see tips 1-3. At holiday meals, employ the concept of ‘crowding out’ to make a plate that includes some of your favorite foods but also crows out with the good stuff (think- leafy greens and cruciferous veggies of any and all kinds).

UP YOUR ENDORPHINS || Elle woods knew what she was talking about. Moving your body makes you feel good. It’s science! But I’m going to share with you a secret tip that never fails to amaze my clients. You should engage in exercise you enjoy. For real! I love yoga, and practice almost daily, but I will not run more than 3 steps unless I’m late. I hate running. That said, if you’re favorite exercise is reaching for fistfuls of potato chips, I will encourage you to try something a little more full-body. Nevertheless, move in a way that feels good and if the only thing you can do is power walk around your cul-de-sac for 20 minutes, do it. You will feel better, I promise,  

Sending you love, dairy-free eggnog and lots of self-love this season.