Are you caught up in a pre-holiday rush? Are you using a final burst of adrenalin to get your preparations or traveling as perfect as possible?
How do you manage to restore yourself from a busy and perhaps challenging year? For some, too much food, drink and socialising can be exhausting and draining. For others, stress and loneliness may become overwhelming.
Be good to yourself – even ten minutes of self-care per day can help tremendously. By eliciting the relaxation response thoroughly, you can recharge your whole body, your adrenal glands, your mind and your emotions. Here are three simple suggestions to rejuvenate yourself these holidays:
1) Home Footbath – Hot or Cold
- Pour hot, warm or cool water into a plastic tub, bucket or footbath. 1/2 Cup Epsom salts (available from Bin Inn or some supermarkets).
- Option A – Hot or Cold: Add 3-5 drops of essential oil (Lavender or Eucalyptus).
- Option B – Hot: Add 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil – Olive or Coconut. Use pure, cold pressed (organic if possible) vegetable oil.
- Option C – Hot: Add 1 Tablespoon of VapoRub.
Sit for 5-10 minutes with your feet immersed and breathe deeply. If you are hot, use cold water which acts on the Lymphatic system, reduces any swelling, cools and refreshes. It is also helpful for restless leg syndrome. Epsom salts consist of Magnesium Sulphate and help to relax the muscles, soften the skin and replenish any lost minerals from the body due to reverse osmosis. If you do this last thing at night, after drying your feet, rub in some oil and massage your feet thoroughly. The stimulation of the 7000 nerve endings in each foot draws the circulation downward, which helps clear your senses and calms your restless mind.
2) Body Movement
Too much food and sitting down, coupled with not enough time or ability to process all the impressions from the past year can lead to stagnation or an overload of energy. Everything needs to flow within us for us to feel good. Pain or depression are signs of disharmony within us on some level, so get moving!
Move so that you hear your breath. A short jog, jumping on the spot or warm-up exercises and some fresh air will make all the difference to your energy. Even 5 minutes a day will make a difference. But the key is to breathe rhythmically and to take deeper, longer breaths. After exercising, rest lying flat on your back and exaggerate your breaths by bloating your belly as you breathe in and draw your belly button inwards when you breathe out. Do these 10 times. The all-important Vagus nerve is being toned and your sense of wellbeing will return.
3) Bedtime Closing Ritual
Before bed, allow for 1-2 hours with NO blue screen time and no heavy food. Read a fictional, satisfying book instead of watching television or movies. A 2009 study by the University of Sussex, UK found that reading for just 6 minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. (The Telegraph, March 2009). Folding clothes, cleaning the bed space and listing three important things to do tomorrow allows you to feel prepared for the next day.
Often when we are tossing and turning in bed at night it’s because we feel some aspect of our lives is out of control. As Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues discovered, we only remember two things about an event – the emotional peak (whether good or bad), and how it ended. So, by creating your own calming ‘closing ritual’ you’re essentially re-writing each day with a positive ending.