Be Healthy. Be Happy. Naturally.
This time of year we are barraged with constant images, messages, expectations and advertising to get us to do more, buy more and be more. After all, it is ‘the most wonderful time of the year.” Often though, we end up feeling overwhelmed, anxious or insecure. Not very jolly feelings, are they?
Here are my favorite ways for staying balanced, calm and content. They are actually variations on the same theme: be mindful and present. Pretty simple, right?
Every day, well, every moment, we have continuous choices about what we are doing, feeling and experiencing. Too much of anything can be overwhelming. Make a goal to be conscious of your decisions and what you want to focus on. Each time you focus and pay attention (and I know it can be tough with so much going on) you will be rewarded with better health. Keep things simple, observe your feelings, make a decision, and then be fine with it.
Breathe, just breathe. Repeat.
A wonderful habit for being present is mindful breathing. Each time you become aware of your thoughts or emotions, especially when uncomfortable, bring your attention to your breath. Take a moment, breathe in nice and long, hold for a bit and exhale even longer. Repeat this five to ten times to automatically feel calmer and more centered. Physiologically, the deeper breath tells your body everything is ok; no need to fight or take flight. The more you practice this, the easier it becomes. After a while, your mind will do it unconsciously and voila! Life is easier and more enjoyable.
Keep your balance.
When you run yourself ragged and become overwhelmed and stressed, it lessens your ability to be healthy. It lessens what you can give freely to others. Like when you are flying and are instructed in an emergency to put oxygen on yourself first before you help others, you have to take care of yourself before you can give more. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. Really.
Sometimes good enough is perfect.
Our old emotional baggage dictates how we react to our present circumstance. During the holidays we have so many internal and external expectations. Did I buy enough? Is it the perfect present? How will I survive dinner with my brother-in-law? On and on it goes.
My favorite part of Christmas is when my adult daughters run into our bedroom first thing Christmas morning to snuggle before we start the day. It’s a ritual we started when they were little and my husband and I needed a little more sleep. And they still do it, as adults! I savor these special, close and perfect moments. They help me focus on what is important so I can let go of the to-do list. I don’t need to cook the perfect meal, or buy the perfect gifts to be content; I just need to focus on being present during these perfect moments.
So find your own special ritual, decide what is important to you, what makes you happiest and nourished, and then remember it is good enough. That is love. That is, after all, what this season is all about.
So until next time, I wish you calm moments and peaceful living.
In love and light,
I'm Shivani Chase. I love to help people learn how to live the best life they can using Ayurveda, yoga, compassion and common sense.