The Only Guide You Need To Prepare Your Body For The New Year
The holidays are such a beautiful time to gather together, celebrate, and cozy up by a fire, right? Sure, ‘tis the season to be jolly, but the reality is the holidays can also create a ton of stress with family dynamics, indulgent parties, traffic, and pressure to find those perfect gifts.
And as most of us know, the problem with stress is that it creates tension, pain, compression, weight gain, digestive issues and makes us feel exhausted, burnt out, and cranky; so instead of starting off the new year feeling fired up, we too often come out of the holidays feeling sluggish, bloated, and blah.
The great news is that stress is a reaction, and even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it, we all have the power to choose how to react to any situation. Here are my top nine tips for choosing to stay chill, calm, connected, and glowing through the holidays so you can start 2018 with a bang:
1. Let that sh*t go.
By practicing acceptance and forgiveness, life can become so much more joyful. Being in a state of resentment, anger, or frustration can put us in a tense state that ramps up our adrenals and stress levels instantly. Instead, choose to forgive and accept your family and the dynamics involved, and you’ll feel instantly lighter and calmer, which will make the holidays so much more enjoyable.
2. Just breathe.
I know it sounds obvious, but the better we breathe, the easier life is. Plus, you can really practice breathwork anywhere: in your car, at your desk, or before a big meeting. All you need to do is bring an awareness to your breath. Try inhaling through your nose for a count of five, feeling the air expand three-dimensionally throughout your lungs, ribs, and sides of your body. Then, exhale for a count of five through the mouth while drawing your belly to your spine, squeezing your abdominals, and wringing out your organs.
As a nice bonus, breathing expansively boosts metabolism and increases oxygen flow. It’s also a great way to hit the pause button on any stress reaction you might be feeling and taking a moment to truly be in the moment.
3. Meditate your state.
Mentally unplugging can dramatically impact your mindset, and we know that meditating has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and release tension. Remember, it’s not complicated—just close your eyes, focus on your breath, and you’re doing it. Here’s a quick meditation I swear by.
4. Foam roll.
One of the least expensive, most valuable and versatile tools to help reduce stress and tension in our bodies is foam rolling. Rollers were designed to reduce and release the tension that can build in the deep connective tissue (fascia) and help the body return it to its normal healthy alignment. When stress builds up, our fascia can tighten, harden, and become blocked and thickened—and a few minutes of rolling each day is the perfect way to alleviate this.
Studies have proved that there are endless calming and mentally rejuvenating effects of aerobic exercise. For example, Harvard Medical School found that, "regular aerobic exercise will bring remarkable changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart, and your spirits. It has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress."
Using a rebounder is one of the best forms of aerobic exercises out there because it’s low impact, burns fat, and it stimulates your lymphatic system to help flush toxins. Plus, it’s fun—so hop on and bounce any holiday worries away. My favorite rebounder is the bellicon. Give it a try!
6. Try earthing.
"Earthing," or going barefoot, helps ground you while also helping to nourish your body with electromagnetic energy directly through the soles of your feet. Research shows that going barefoot has the ability to calm and center you and even reduces tension and inflammation. It may also help you sleep better, reduce stress and pain, and increase immunity.
7. Take your vital vitamins.
Taking a supplement can have a huge impact when you want to ease stress and support a healthy immune system, replenish your brain and rebalance your nervous system. My favorite vitamin to help me stay calm and nourished is the Rainbow Light Vibrance PLUS Stress Support. This supplement includes B vitamins and magnesium to support a healthy stress response. It also contains an antioxidant called selenium (found in Brazil nuts) that helps to reduce anxiety and depression and can even improve your mood. In addition, it has probiotics, prebiotics, and plant-sourced digestive enzymes to help ease digestion and promote gut health.
8. Practice gratitude.
Every night when you sit down to eat a meal, it’s helpful to establish a ritual of focusing on three things you are grateful for in your life. If you’re dining with friends or family, take it one step further and talk about those things. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel once you start to focus on the good in your life, and the "stress" of life starts to fade away.
9. Take a hot magnesium salt bath.
Magnesium truly is nature’s stress-reducing mineral. It helps nourish your skin and helps cellular relaxation in your fascia muscles. It's also the perfect way to end your day and support optimal beautifying and rejuvenating sleep, digestion, and overall better vitality. I absolutely love using Life-flo Pure Magnesium Flakes to unwind, de-stress, and chill out. It’s also great for post-workout recovery and a relaxing meditation to complement yoga practice. Relaxing music and candlelight can certainly add to the experience.
Want more ideas for how to stay calm during the holidays? Here's a meditation that will help with that.