One winter holiday down and many parties, hugs, long drives and lots of food to go! Believe it or not, I'm totally jealous of the snow, the bundling up, the gatherings, and even the east coast holiday hustle and bustle (FOMO). While the holidays create some of the most exciting experiences of the year, they can also be stressful. If we are proactive in our self care though, we can prevent depletion and over exertion to stay balanced and vibrant.
In Ayurveda, winter season is associated with the elements of air and ether (aka Vata) which mark similar qualities that present themselves during this time of year in many regions. Vata energy is cold, dry, rough, light, clear, and moving.
When balanced, these elements reflect as healthy creativity, clear communication and exuberance, which you may naturally feel this time of year. However, when too much Vata accumulates by lots of travel, too much talking or over exposure to cold and windy weather, you may not feel your best. Symptoms can range from dry skin and cracking joints, to insomnia and anxiety, so here are a few things you can easily do to keep feeling centered, energized and at ease during the winter holidays:
Stay Centered & Energized for the Holidays
Enjoy warming fresh foods that are well cooked. Try to avoid cold, uncooked or dry foods (especially salads, raw fruits and veg). Soups and stews are better, and we naturally crave heartier meals right now anyway.
Drink lots of warming liquids like hot water and herbal teas to prevent dehydration. You can prepare a fresh ginger tea by placing a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger your thermos with hot water. Avoid iced water, as it dampens your digestive fire!
Take a break from electronics. It can just be a few hours. Try the first hour of your day phone free and shut down your screens an hour before bed. You will get better sleep, feel more rested and refreshed.
Practice self love! Try abhyanga, a self oil massage. Sesame is a great heating oil to apply. In Sanskrit, the word sneha means oil, it also means LOVE - isn't that cute?
Go easy on yourself. Tone down your yoga practice and relax with restorative or gentle stretching to counter the constant bustle of the holidays.
These practices are simple and they make a huge difference. I find when I make these tiny changes, I have better digestion, feel more relaxed and grounded and am way more equipped to handle stress. This season is about warmth and connection, so pull up your knee high socks, make some cinnamon tea, slather some oil on and love yourself and each other.
Happy Vata Days !