5 Ways to Beat Holiday Stress
I'm so excited to share this piece I wrote for Yoga Journal. You can find the whole thing here. I hope you enjoy it! How do you chill out when life ramps up?
1. Center yourself with a grounding, restorative yoga practice.
As we get closer to the holiday season, usually the energy in the yoga room is more frantic and forceful: students want to push and maximize the hour or 75 minutes we’re spending in the studio. Because New Yorkers are very good at pushing, these qualities often show up in the physical practice. I often structure classes as a way to gain a different perspective through creative and challenging sequencing aimed at centering and grounding. I’m also very particular about including a longer restorative sequence at the end of practice. The things that we are not naturally inclined toward are usually the things we need to practice the most. Surrender and non-effort can be challenging, especially during the holiday season, and so to practice “softness” can be incredibly powerful and transformative for students.
2. Flip your stress on its head.
3. Use essential oils.
Essential oils stimulate a specific energy or way of being in the world. They evoke feelings and sensations. In the yoga practice, they're a great way to awaken all of our senses to truly create a completely immersive experience. New York City functions at a higher frequency than almost any other city in the world. Because lavender essential oil is used to calm, I carry it around with me at all times and use it liberally: in Savasana assists, in a diffuser for my home and office, on the subway during rush hour when people get crazy, or if I’m having trouble falling asleep. Nature's Origin makes a 100 percent pure and natural lavender essential oil that promotes serenity and tranquility.
4. "Meditate" in a way that brings you joy.
5. Give yourself permission to say "no," and take time for yourself.
My holiday plans are usually hectic. I’ll bounce between holiday parties in the city and in my hometown. For me, that means a ton of late nights and early mornings. I give myself permission to say “no” to events that will wind up making me feel incredibly stressed. There are a few things I do every day that allow me to feel at home in myself and energetically full, like spending a good chunk of time alone, unplugging (which means no social media, no emails, no calls, and no texts). I practice every day; that could look like a typical yoga class, or a 20-minute sequence filled with exploring all ranges of motion in the spine, a few restorative postures, and a supported Fish Pose. I read small pieces of wisdom (think Thich Nhat Hanh’s How to Relax). I put on my favorite song and have a private dance party. This may seem like a long list, but imagine how magical your day would be if every few hours, you sprinkled in an action that filled you with joy and allowed you to come back to your authentic self? This joyful activity could be as simple as mixing a few drops of essential oils, like peppermint, cinnamon, and sweet orange, and putting them in a diffuser to set the mood for the holidays. You can get more great ideas for holiday scents at Nature's Origins.