December 2, 2022
With so much going on during the busy holiday season we get taken out of our routines that keep us grounded. Here are some of my favorite ways to stay balanced during the holidays.
Early winter is a time of family, connection, and festivities. Unfortunately, the holiday season also comes with overeating, over-drinking, over-working and over-stressing. No matter how hard we try, with so much going on we get taken out of our routines that keep us grounded, and can easily find ourselves spiraling into a season of over-indulgence. Yet, this is the time we need those self-care practices the most.
Luckily, with a little help from Ayurveda and your own awareness, we can stay our happy, healthy selves even throughout the chaos that the holidays may bring. Rather than trying to restrict ourselves (and ultimately failing as this often leads to binging or simply not enjoying ourselves with friends and family), Ayurveda offers a more balanced approach.
Why wait until New Years to take control of your health, when you can live in balance with simple day-to-day practices that allow you to enjoy yourself this holiday season, while remaining healthy. Below are some of my favorite tips for staying centered, avoiding toxic build-up, and preventing holiday season burnout.
The holiday season is often a time of excess movement – more commuting and traveling, more time running errands, staying up later than normal, and overall fluctuation in our day. Our body is a system that likes routine, and works better when there are established rhythms to each day. Trying to keep an optimal sleep cycle, eating schedule, self-care practices and exercise routine is a very effective way of keeping balance throughout this season of celebration. A few simple ways to do this is to eat three meals a day at around the same time each day, go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, and stick to your morning routine as usual.
During the season of gatherings centered around endless treats, it is easy to overtax our digestion. Consuming many things we don’t typically eat or drink on a daily basis can lead to lethargy, toxins, weight gain and sickness. Some simple ways to keep digestion strong are to avoid grazing, eating without hunger, overeating, and improper food combining. Try to eat three main meals each day, with a snack in between if you need. Grazing without giving you body time to digest the previous meal will lead to poor digestion and toxic build up. If you’re not hungry for breakfast the next morning, sip ginger tea until your hunger returns rather than grabbing leftover pie. Eat with awareness to avoid overeating and feeling lethargic after a meal. Crucial food combination “No, No’s” include eating fruit with anything else, and mixing multiple proteins together; stick to one per meal.
Simply by sipping on warm water throughout the day this time of year, we can help to keep our system hydrated, our digestion strong and flush out unwanted toxins. Make sure to sip water throughout the day. If you chug too much water at once your body doesn’t actually absorb all of it. Most of it will run right through you. Cold and iced water is an antagonist to digestion as it literally douses the digestive fire leading to constriction in the GI tract, a weakened digestive fire and toxic accumulation in the gut.
Eating late at night when the digestive fire is low and sleep is near inevitably leads to indigestion, toxic-build-up, a sluggish metabolism and weight gain. If you are attending a late night holiday gathering and you know there will be food, try eating a healthy meal ahead of time to make sure you are not tempted to over indulge at a late hour. If you feel like you need a snack late at night make it a light one such as fruit, steamed vegetables, or a warm beverage like herbal tea with honey or a milk tonic.
So many of us are overscheduled, overworked, and overtired during the holiday season that it is easy to put our exercise routine on the back burner. Continuing your movement practice will support calm, stable energy, properly functioning digestion, and keep metabolism pumping. Not to mention it relieves stress and burns toxins. A simple way to get exercise in when things are extra busy is to go for a walk after a big meal, or practice gentle yoga, which will help to ground your energy rather than overly stimulate it; something that a holiday themed spin class might do.