As we head toward the holidays it’s important to take time to make sure you’re checking in with your mind and body in order to stay well. Here are five ways to treat yourself:
Take time to stretch in the morning. Taking time to do a short stretching sequence in the morning can boost your energy and awaken your mind before you head off to face your day. Remember that our spines move in six directions, so stand tall and do the following:
- Reach one hand over your head and lean to the opposite side. Repeat on the other side.
- Hold your hands out to your sides and gently twist your torso to the left. Repeat the twist to the right.
- Clasp your hands behind your lower back, arch your back and look up toward the ceiling. Extend your hands out in front of your and round your back.
- Extend your arms up, bend at the waist and try to touch your toes.
Journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings releases them from your body and mind. Unburden yourself by jotting notes or doing bullet points and then write down activities you can do or approaches you can take that will help you feel your best for the rest of the day.
Take a short walk. If you can’t make it outside, at least try to take a short walk inside, whether that be to the break room at work or just to a different (and maybe more cozy and peaceful) room in your house. Notice how moving makes you feel and concentrate on taking full breaths as you walk.
Meditate. Meditating doesn’t have to be complicated or take an hour out of your day. Find a place where you won’t be disturbed, even if it’s in a coffee shop or public place, focus your attention on one point, and then notice your breath. Sometimes it’s helpful to focus on the sensation air makes as it flows into your nostrils. Allow thoughts that rise up to float away and continue to stay aware of your breath. Try for 5 minutes to start and notice how your senses are heightened by the experience.
Enjoy a hot beverage. Most people rush through their days often downing coffee or tea without giving the experience a second thought. Instead, try sipping and enjoying the flavor of what you’re drinking and using the time to reflect on what you have to be grateful for; what have you accomplished this year, what challenges did you overcome, what did you learn about yourself?
Returning to a place of calm isn’t a selfish exercise. Learning to take short – or long – breaks to regain a sense of peace in our chaotic world is critical to feeling as though we’re actually living, not just surviving. Staying well starts and ends with how you treat yourself so try one or more of these rituals in the upcoming month to better enjoy the hectic holiday season.