The holidays should be happy, not hectic, so alignyo asked April Martucci, the creator of Fire Dragon Yoga to share easy ways to deal with holiday stress. “Your ability to manage your stress levels is going to make all the difference,” says April. “We can pace ourselves over the next few weeks until the new year so that not only are we more appreciative of our loved ones, but we actually feel good, too.”
April Martucci's top five ways to stay calm and happy during the holiday season:
Sit to center + create an intention for the day ahead
We want to think consistency vs. intensity when it comes to meditation. By waking up slowly—instead of rushing, getting the coffee, putting on the TV—we can sit to center and set an intention for the day ahead. By sitting on a cushion or a block every morning for 5 minutes you focus on your breathing and consciously decide how you want the day to look.
Know your schedule
You have dinners and parties to go to, right? Well, if you know when they are on the calendar, you can use the down time more wisely by resting, eating well, and limiting your alcohol intake. If you know you might want to indulge, plan your indulging! Use the other days to cut back. Also, if you fear that you will overeat and drink, you can always have a healthy late lunch full of veggies that afternoon a few hours before so you are not as inclined to pig out.
Get more tips on how to stay healthy at holiday parties in our Holiday Eating Survival Guide.
Do more yoga
Practicing yoga and meditation lowers your stress levels, balances out the hormones, helps to quiet the mind and reminds us to be present, so the holidays are a great time to amp up your practice. If you cannot get to class, schedule an appointment with yourself to practice some simple asanas at home, even if you only have a few minutes. Focus on your breath, steady your attention, and work to let thoughts come and go. Then take that practice with you to the parties and to the in-laws house.
Write a gratitude list every day
Studies have shown that the happiest people are the grateful ones. Rather than complaining about your to-do list, look around. Who is in your life that supports you, loves you, and fulfills you? Put things into perspective. If you feel there is nothing to be grateful for, look around again. You have a human body – this is the most auspicious birth! One useful technique for dealing with loved ones who can be challenging is to write a list of all their positive attributes. Next time you are butting heads, take out that list.
Deflate your to-do list
Most of us have long to-do lists around this time of year. Try doing a little each day so that way you are not completely frazzled and overwhelmed at year-end. If you can delegate some duties to kids or partners, do so. Procrastinating sets you up for a season of irritation and stress. While you are stressing about what needs to get done, you will miss the whole point of the holidays – to recognize that which is good in your life, to reflect on the year, and most importantly to spread love to loved ones.