The holidays are coming! The time of year that used to feel so exciting and happy when you were a kid now may cause anxiety and irritation. I don't know if you feel overwhelmed, but it's how many of my clients have felt in the last few days.
It's hard to stay positive and think kind, nurturing thoughts when your mind is racing through endless tasks. And it's difficult to find time to eat mindfully when there are hundreds of emails to reply to. Or when your only exercise is shopping, and when you're eating party platter fare instead of kale and quinoa.
Fortunately, we can find some effective remedies in Ayurveda, with its amazing seasonal approach.
Anxiety is associated with aggravated Vata dosha. Vata dosha can be elevated due to stress, dry cold season, too much caffeine, and dry cold foods or drinks.
Breaking a regular routine and staying up late get mess Vata, too. To heal anxiety and un-grounded fear, you need to balance Vata.
Below are a few tips to prevent anxiety and stress recommended by Dr. Vasant Lad:
1. Relaxing bath with ginger and baking soda
Use 1/4 cup ginger and 1/3 cup baking soda in a tubful of water.
Soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Almond milk
Soak 10 almonds overnight in water. Peel off the skins and blend with 1 cup water or warm milk.
Warm milk is traditional variation recommended by Dr. Lad but if you are avoiding dairy, use warm water.
Add a pinch of nutmeg, ginger and saffron.
3. Orange juice
For anxiety accompanied by a fast heart rate, a cup of orange juice with 1 teaspoon honey and a pinch of nutmeg can be effective.
4. Calming pressure point
When you're on the go and can't take a bath or make almond milk, acupressure can come in handy.
Make a fist with your left hand, so that the fingers rest in the middle of the palm. Locate the point where the middle finger ends, in the 'heart' of the palm. Then, with the thumb of your right hand, press firmly on this point in the center of your left hand.
Press for 1 minute.
This will calm down the agitation of prana, which causes anxiety.
This one is probably one of the most effective strategies, based on my own experience. I do it every night to prepare for sleep. You can use vata massage oil or plain sesame, coconut, or almond oil.
Warm it up in hot water and rub it on your feet, neck, and major joints. If you have time rub it on your scalp, too. Usually this massage is done before morning shower but it can be done at any other time, too.
Let the skin soak in the oil while you take 10-15 deep relaxing breaths. Them either wipe the oil or take the shower. You can also leave the oil on, put on warm soaks to prevent soiling the sheets and go to sleep.
It's a lot more fun to enjoy holidays and hang out with friends when you feel grounded and balanced so find a few minutes a day to cure your anxiety with Ayurveda!