How to Have a Merry Body, Mind and Spirit This Holiday, Part 3

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Part 3: Merry Spirit

While my holiday mantra serves as a reminder for me to slow down, re-center and re-focus, it also reminds me that I have specific practices that can help me with this. Today I’m sharing some of my favorites ways to make sure my spirit stays merry and bright!

SPIRIT:

There’s not much that makes my spirit feel brighter than doing something selfless. Which isn’t always easy especially when we feel like we are too overwhelmed to even take care of ourselves. And still, if we get creative, there’s always an easy way to be of service. Here’s just a few examples:

Make a meal for someone. We make ourselves dinner on most nights. Why not make one serving more and invite someone over. Maybe someone who doesn’t have family nearby, or someone for whom the holidays are tough because of a loss or other reason.

Compliment a stranger or simply smile and say hello to them.

Donate. This can be really easy–for instance, next time you’re purchasing a gift from amazon, do it through smile.amazon so that your favorite charity also gets a gift.

–Share gratitude. Tell a loved one you’re grateful for them. Give them at least one specific reason.

–Laugh. Tell a joke, or make people laugh (preferably without self-deprecating humor)

–Connect. Reach out to an old friend or relative. You’ll both feel great.

We don’t have to limit ourselves to human kindness either:

Share gratitude with nature. Tell a tree how much you appreciate it.

–Appreciate nature. Look up at the sky at night and marvel at all of the stars

–Honor nature. Start your day by greeting the sun, feeling its rays on your face and giving gratitude for all of its gifts, or take some extra special care of a plant or pet.

How will you keep your spirit merry this holiday season? I’d love to hear from you either by email or post your answer on Facebook or Instagram and be sure to tag me @nmyogawellness.

How to Have a Merry Body, Mind and Spirit This Holiday, Part 2

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Part 2: Merry Mind

While my holiday mantra serves as a reminder for me to slow down, re-center and re-focus, it also reminds me that I have specific practices that can help me with this. Today I’m sharing some of my favorites ways to make sure my mind stays merry and bright!

MIND:

Create a holiday mantra. I discussed this in a previous post, but had to reiterate it here because having this mantra has been so beneficial in keeping me out of panic mode. Haven’t got one yet? Go back to your Guiding Light Statement and see what gems you can use to create your holiday mantra.

Make a shopping plan. Who do I need to buy for? What do I want to get them?  What do they want? Can I do it online or do I need to make a special trip? Is there a simple thoughtful gift I can give to colleagues or clients? Taking about 30 minutes or so to answer some of these questions on paper helps get this mess out of my head so I can organize it and most importantly, stop thinking about it.

Schedule in time for nothing. Fact: Cramming your schedule with too many things with no breaks NEVER results in merriment.  So I like to make sure that I carve out at least 20 minutes a day and maybe an additional hour per week to do nothing. No devices are allowed during this time. Just me with myself perhaps sitting in nature, watching the sky,  being with silence, or sitting down to…

Meditate. Staring my day with meditation sets the tone of ease and focus for the whole day. But why stop there? If I need a moment to re-center, sitting with my breath, or sensations,  or even listening to a meditation on an app can do wonders for bringing me back to a merry and bright state of mind.

How will you keep your mind merry this holiday season? I’d love to hear from you either by email or post your answer on Facebook or Instagram and be sure to tag me @nmyogawellness.

Coming up next:

How to Have a Merry Body, Mind and Spirit This Holiday, Part 3

How to Have a Merry Body, Mind and Spirit This Holiday, Part 1

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Part 1: Merry Body

While my holiday mantra serves as a reminder for me to slow down, re-center and re-focus, it also reminds me that I have specific practices that can help me with this. Today I’m sharing some of my favorites ways to make sure my body stays merry and bright!

BODY:

Follow all of the feasting recommendations, but especially staying hydrated!

Get to bed by 10pm. Our bodies go through natural detoxing and rejuvenating processes starting at 10pm. To make sure I feel merry and bright in the morning, it’s important to be asleep by this time so that my body can focus on these revitalizing activities.

Calming bedtime rituals: With all the excitement, it’s important to help our body wind down before we go to bed so that we can get a deeper, more restorative sleep. My favorite bedtime ritual is to oil my feet before bed with warm oil (organic unrefined sesame, sunflower or almond oil is best).

Daily morning movement. Whether it’s a walk, a little yoga or qigong, if I make time for 20 minutes of movement before I eat breakfast, my body, my digestion, my energy levels are feeling pretty merry all day long. So no matter where I spend the holiday, I find a way to keep this practice as consistent as possible. If it means I have to shorten it to 10 minutes on some days, I’m ok with that. Doing some of the practice is better than not doing it at all.

How will you keep your body merry this holiday season? I’d love to hear from you either by email or post your answer on Facebook or Instagram and be sure to tag me @nmyogawellness.

Coming up next:

How to Have a Merry Body, Mind and Spirit This Holiday, Part 2 and Part 3

This Holiday Season: Are You Calm? Are You Bright?

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The holidays can get hectic and stressful. And if I don’t remind myself to slow down, re-center and re-focus, my nervous system gets frazzled, my immunity suffers, I make poor decisions and I usually find myself depleted and regretful before the season is over.

So a couple years ago, I decided to give myself a mantra, to the tune of a Christmas carol, so that I was constantly reminding myself of how I wanted to experience the holiday.

What emerged was my holiday mantra:  “I am calm, I am bright” (to the tune of Silent Night).

I’ve thought about changing it this year, yet nothing else seems to resonate as well for me right now. So for another year, this is it.

What kind of mantra can you come up with to stay on track for having a healthier, more mindful holiday? Can you sing it to the tune of your favorite holiday song? Consider how you want to feel this holiday, or go through my Design Your Holiday exercises to find the right words for your mantra.

Would love to hear what you come up with. Post your holiday mantra on Facebook or Instagram and be sure to tag me @nmyogawellness. Or you can share it with me by email.

Design Your Holidays: How to Get What You Really Want, Part 2

 

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Now that you’ve got your Guiding Light Statement, let’s create a plan that will move you closer to it. Below is an exercise to create action plans to help you map the way forward.

Same instructions here as in Part 1:

I recommend brewing a cup of your favorite herbal tea and setting aside 45 – 60 minutes to journal about the questions.

And if you don’t have the time right now for this exercise, open up your calendar and find the time within the next few days to do this for yourself. Set a reminder in your calendar so you don’t forget. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Don’t forget to read my important message at the end of this article. 

Part 2: Action Plans

  1. Think about a time when you’ve experienced one or more or all of the things you wrote in your Guiding Light Statement. What was happening? Who were you with? What did you do or what qualities do you possess that caused this to happen? Were there any preparations or organization that helped? What made it possible?
  2. What challenges or obstacles might prevent you from having this experience this holiday season? Who or what might have a different opinion about/effect on how your holidays should go?
  3. So you have an idea of what might get in the way (#2). And an idea of how you pulled this off before (#1). Ask yourself, how can your knowledge and experience from past success help you work through any challenges that may arise? What qualities do you possess that will help you move towards what you want? Who can you turn to for support? What practices or techniques will aid you? You might even make a list of who/what won’t support you in this endeavor. Sometimes we look for support in all the wrong places. Let’s get clear on who or what can really support us and not place unrealistic expectations on those that can’t/won’t.
  4. For each challenge listed in #2, come up with an action plan based on your answers in #3 to help you move beyond that challenge. As part of your action plan, get as specific as you can about details like where, when, how often, with whom, etc.

Here are a few examples of action plans:

I am going to make a gift giving plan so that I am not doing all my shopping that week before Christmas when nothing is left or sizing is all wrong and I’m just getting whatever I can so there’s a gift under the tree. I will make this gift giving plan on Nov. 15th @ 9am, and will plan to have all of my shopping completed by Dec. 2nd.

I am going to let my family know that it’s important to me to have an earlier, lighter dinner by around 6pm. If they are not able to accommodate me, I will make my own dinners and eat by 6pm and then have tea with them while they are eating at least 5 of the 7 nights I will be with my family. Those two exceptions will be on Christmas night and the first night I arrive.

I will keep up my daily morning exercise and meditation routine 6 out of 7 mornings I am gone and will ask my husband to join me and keep me accountable.

I will limit my alcohol intake to 3 glasses of wine per week. I will let my family know when I am planning to have those glasses so that they don’t bother to ask me every night if I’m having wine with dinner.

I would love to hear your action plan!! Feel free to post your plan(s) on Facebook or Instagram (and be sure to tag me @nmyogawellness). Or you can email me and share what actions you’re going to take this season!

IMPORTANT: Our patterns during the holidays run deep and we are surrounded by people who expect us to follow those patterns. So if at first you don’t succeed with your action plans, don’t despair or be too hard on yourself. This defeats the purpose. Instead, pat yourself on the back for taking these initial steps to creating a better holiday season. This is a great gift to yourself and those around you. Learn what you can this year so you can think about how to improve your action plan for more holiday cheer next year.