5 Easy Ways to Stay Zen During the Holidays
Staying grounded during the holidays may seem daunting. Some of us find sanctuary with our families, but even with the best of kin, many of us encounter stress and confusion once home for the end-of-the-year festivities.
We’re also out of our daily routine and typically have someone else preparing the food, which can lead to hefty binges and spinning out of control, only to return home depressed, a few pounds heavier, blemished and running as fast as you can to the gym to work it off and then sweat out the rest in sauna. I know you’ve been there. I definitely have, too!
Here are 5 easy tips that don’t take up much time at all and can really serve to keep you zen, even during the most hectic times of the year:
1. Meditate for 5-10 minutes every morning.
You can do this literally as soon as you wake. You don’t need a special place, fancy music or a “meditation pillow.”
Those are all excuses to not do something SO incredibly simple and effective. Just sit up in bed first thing in the morning and keeping your eyes closed, begin to focus solely on your breath.
If you feel yourself thinking about your list of to-dos or what’s going to happen later in the day, just bring your attention back to your breath. Breathe in for 4 slow counts, feeling your belly rise and expand as you inhale. Think yoga-breathing. Then hold for 4 counts and breathe out for 5 counts. We always want to let out more than we’re taking in!
2. Bring healthy snacks to keep you on track.
What do I mean by that? Well, if going home means being tempted by serious junky snacks or foods that aren’t aligned with your lifestyle, do yourself a favor and bring a few healthier treats as well. You can always have a few bites of pumpkin or pecan pie, but also bring some amazing treats with simple ingredients that can keep you from going overboard. Indulge a little here and there, but it’s not necessary to go all out so that you feel bad about it later.
- Breakfast: Barlean’s Greens Powder or ChlorOxygen drops. A greens drink every day will definitely help counteract the additional sugar and/or foods and alcohol that can stress your liver. Also, warm water with lemon in the morning will help tremendously with continual detoxification when you’re taking in heavier foods. Obviously, if you can get your hands on fresh vegetable juices, that’s also a great thing to add in daily. But if not, the warm water with lemon and greens supplements will help more than you think.
- Snacks: Try Lara Bars or Greens Plus Energy Bars, which both have minimal, clean ingredients. Don’t forget other dry snacks like almonds or a low-sugar trail mix.
- Dessert: Try raw dark chocolate or Hail Merry vegan/Gluten-Free Macaroons. I also like the GoRaw brand carrot cake or ginger cookies. They're bite-sized, crunchy, and sweet, but the ingredients are also very simple, vegan/gluten-free and there’s nothing fake inside. They satisfy even the meanest sweet-tooth.
3. Keep a gratitude journal.
When we’re home, we tend to get enveloped in family drama. It’s natural and it happens to the best of us. Since the holidays are the best time of the year to focus on what we DO have that’s special, keeping your gratitude journal will keep your mind focused on the positive and not what annoys the heck out of you when you’re in close quarters with the fam! Write down 5 things you’re grateful for each night before you go to sleep.
4. Take a daily walk.
We don’t need to engage in any other stressful physical activities when we’re home to relax. In fact, getting out of the gym and into nature is one the quickest and easiest ways to relax and reconnect. Don’t you feel better breathing in fresh air and being surrounded by greenery, birds and the blue sky? Weather permitting, get outside daily and move. All you need is a pair of sneakers and maybe some heavier clothes if you live in a cold climate, but take a walk after your big meal of the day if you can. Morning walks are also an excellent way to set the tone for the day! Walking is easy on the body AND on the mind and if you’re alone, it’s also a form of moving meditation. Double-whammy!
This is one of my favorites and something I’ll continue to repeat. It’s free and takes no time at all. When you’re angry or frustrated, just taking a deep breath and smiling can flip your perspective in a matter of seconds! Remember, the holidays are a time to reflect on how lucky we are to be alive, healthy and realize that everything we “need” is actually inside of us already.