The Western holiday season has arrived: a time of celebration, togetherness and for many people, stress! If you feel stressed, please do not judge yourself harshly. I practice yoga and meditation daily, and I still find the same anxieties come up for me like clockwork every year.
Didn’t we just have Thanksgiving? What if the gifts I carefully selected for family and friends don’t arrive on time? Is my home ready for guests? How will I complete my professional responsibilities before businesses close? On and on and on.
The holiday season can feel so stressful that we forget that we’re supposed to be enjoying ourselves. Here are some things that I do to keep myself in a grounded and present state of mind.
Acknowledge, Then Redirect
The first rule of meditation is that anything you try to ignore grows. If you deny that you are stressed, that denial will itself become a source of stress, adding onto the stress you were trying to ignore in the first place. Take a moment every morning to check in with yourself. If you have 2 minutes, then take 2 minutes. If you have more time, take longer,
With eyes closed, ask yourself, How am I feeling? Don’t be afraid of the answer. Maybe you are stressed by your endless to-do list. Maybe you are saddened by the absence of a loved one who has passed away. These are normal and natural feelings, and you must be gentle with yourself.
Once you have sat with these feelings for however long you need, ask yourself a second question: What am I grateful for? On the other side of a seemingly negative feeling is almost always a positive one.
You are stressed by your endless to-do list, but you are grateful for the love of the family and friends who will soon fill your house. You are saddened by the loss of a grandparent, but you carry their memories in your heart.
Being grateful does not mean that the feelings you perceive as negative will vanish. Nor should they. We can hold stress, sadness, joy and gratitude within us all at once.
Adjust Your Goals
I have learned that almost all stress in our modern-day society is self-inflicted. I include myself in this! As a business owner, I am continuously striving to create new and even more innovative Ayurveda-inspired products, celebrate and inspire my employees, grow my philanthropic organization… you get it.
Having high goals can be a wonderful thing, particularly around the holidays. If you want to give your the perfect gifts or create an unforgettable holiday meal, you no doubt want to show your loved ones that you care about them.
However, you don’t need material things to make your friends and family feel loved. Give hugs. Share the qualities you love most about each of them. Tell stories of fond memories together.
Once you do this, you will understand that perfection is both impossible and unnecessary. Your brother doesn’t like his gift? He certainly appreciates the thought behind it. You don’t have time to prepare every dish you had planned? Pick something up from a store.
Better yet, ask for helping hands.
Take Care of Your Wellness
In Ayurveda, “wellness” refers to a state of mind, body, and soul being in harmony. Whether you would like to improve your oral health or simply cultivate a more soothing home or work environment, I invite you to make your own well-being a priority this holiday season.
You’ll enjoy it that much more.