The holidays are always so exciting but they can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. 'Tis the season to give to others but it's also important to remember to give back to ourselves, to our mind and body, in a positive, healthy way. Everyone seems to always forget about health until the New Year when gyms give discounts to join and hundreds of articles are written about getting back on track. I prefer to prioritize my personal health at the start of the holiday season. This year, I teamed up with my friends at Express for EXP Core to share some of my healthy holiday tips that help create some calm in the holiday chaos.
Use aromatherapy and light therapy to create a sense of peace.
There's something soothing about candlelight, especially in the dark winter months. Since most holiday parties take up after-work hours it's important to have a simple, healthy wind-down routine. Practice restorative candlelight yoga, light some aromatherapy candles or carry travel sized essential oils to create that sense of calm. Lavender and bergamot are known to have a calming and relaxing effect on the mind whereas peppermint can help with mental alertness and clarity. Taking moments to ourselves, with no distractions or outside stresses, can be helpful this time of year.
Pay extra attention to your gut health.
A healthy gut means a healthy mind and body. The holidays are known for tempting, yummy food which I will of course be super excited to indulge in so I make sure to add fermented foods and pro-biotics into my diet (*Check with your healthcare advisor to make sure it's right for you). I drink plenty of water and consider some inversions to get the digestive tract moving. Nothing changes perspective like getting up-side down! I also love to wear something high waisted with compression. These EXP Core leggings have a wider waistband so it helps keep the tummy tucked in while providing extra support for workouts.
If all else fails I brew a pot of chamomile/ginger tea with honey and a fresh cinnamon stick to help me get to sleep and calm my tummy down. It's the simple things that don't take too much time that can really make a difference. I did this last night after I had a really indulgent weekend and it helped me sleep so much better.
Find Energy & Unravel Overindulgence with Yoga
I prefer to sweat it out in a 60 or 90 minute power yoga but if I can't find time for that, there are a few simple poses that can increase my energy, balance my body and mind, challenge my muscles and help aid digestion of holiday food. There's a ton of energy in stillness and I'm always surprised by just how hard it is to stand still in a position while my mind is racing thinking about holiday plans and deadlines. The benefit I get from slowing down to focus on alignment and breath really helps calm my mind and put it in an internal place to check in with myself. Treat and spread love to the world but don't forget to love yourself and your body. It's the best gift you can ever give!
Focus on poses such as high lunge and camel to stretch your abdomen and open up your center to encourage digestion or try a subtle twist to improve circulation. I'm a big fan of jewel tones for the holiday season and love breaking out purples and golds to shine during the season. These EXP Core pants also have a high waist and the print is put on the pants selectively so they accentuate and flatter the body.
Enjoy the holiday season and don't forget to take a little time for yourself!
Photos: Marianna Massey
Shot at Reyn Studios, Nola