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Self nourishment for a stress-free holiday

I can hardly believe we are into December already! For many of you, the next few weeks will be a whirlwind of baking, shopping, organizing, eating, preparing, spending, drinking, wrapping and socializing.

And while much of this can be fun and joyful, along with it comes stress and overwhelm. By the end of it you’re worn out.

Instead of letting all of these external factors run your life for the next month, why not step up and take control?

I’ve put together a list of my top 5 favourite quick and easy self-care practices to help nourish yourself and ease the stress so you are able to truly embrace and enjoy the spirit of the season.

1. Stick to your daily routine – If you are into a regular daily routine that works for you, now is the time to stick to it, not to stop. Get up at your regular time. Continue with your daily exercise routine. Eat regular meals. And get to bed at your normal time. Keeping a schedule and keeping your body in the flow of what it’s used to will help minimize stress.

2. Carve out some “me time” – Each day build in a little window of time just for you. Maybe it’s a few minutes of yoga or meditation in the morning. Sipping cup of hot tea while planning your day with intention and focus. A short walk in the fresh crisp air. Time out at the end of the day soaking in a hot bath or reading a few pages of a good book. Whatever brings you a few minutes of peace and solace will do wonders.

3. Pack a power smoothie – Food can be challenging during this busy chaotic time. A great way to get in some nutrient dense nourishment is with a power smoothie. It can be prepared quickly and taken with you while you’re out and about. My favourite recipe is 2 handfuls spinach, 1/4 of an avocado, 1 scoop whey protein powder, 1/2 cup frozen berries, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1 heaping tbsp cacao powder. Top with water and blend until smooth. Yum!

4. Take time to breathe – If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, anxious and at the end of that very last nerve, the best strategy is to just breath! Pause. Collect yourself. Focus on your breath. Close your eyes. Watch the breath coming in and out. Count your inhales and exhales up to 10. The back to 1. Continue this for a few rounds. This simple conscious breathing exercise will calm the mind and body.

5. Find the gratitude – In the hustle and bustle and materialism of the season we can lose focus on what’s really important. Spending time in gratitude really helps to put things into perspective. This can be done while driving in the car, during your morning mediation, while out for that quick walk, or before bed. What are you grateful for? What or who do you appreciate in your life? Deliberately cultivating gratitude can increase well-being, happiness, optimism and energy.

This holiday season set yourself up for success with a de-stressing plan. Don’t fall victim to the external pressures, but find what’s true within you. Be in the moment. Let go of expectations. Focus on what you truly enjoy and you’ll have a merrier holiday season.

 
This post first appeared here in the Halifax Citizen on Nov 30, 2015.

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