There’s nothing quite like the holiday season to bump you out of your daily self-care routine. And quite frankly, it might be best to live and let go rather than to cling too tightly or feel remorse around not being able to keep up. Yet at the same time, we can’t just toss all of what keeps us healthy by the wayside. So as a gift to you, I put together some of my favorite tips for keeping the holidays both happy and healthy.
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- Ginger. You may have this in your kitchen already, and if not, it’s easy to find at any grocery store. It increases your digestive fire and thus helps break down your food. Chop it a few inches of the root finely, add a squeeze of lime juice, sprinkle with salt, and then eat a pinch before your meal. Another option is to cut it into coins and steep in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Sip this before your meal.
- Fennel seeds. This is one of the easiest antidotes to bloating and gas. Chew and swallow a pinch of fennel seeds after your meal or as you feel needed.
- Triphala. This one is a medicinal herb rather than culinary, so you may have to look a little harder to find it. This is good for all doshas which means it’s good for pretty much everyone. It helps with peristalsis and makes absorption and elimination easier. Take as the bottle directs, especially if you’ve eaten too late or way outside the parameters of your normal diet.
- Enjoy what you eat! Instead of feeling guilt or regret, eat with pleasure. This is a wonderful time of year and kicking back and having fun is important for mind and your digestion.
- Look at your food before eating. When you stop to take a few breaths and to be thankful for what’s on your plate, you’re far less likely to overeat or to feel indigestion.
- Eat and only eat!
- Savor some alone time. You’ll more than likely have plenty of time with others between holiday dinners and parties with friends. Get up a few minutes early for a few minutes of breathing exercises or a short meditation. You can also do the same midday or before bed. Never underestimate what time for YOU can do.
- Mucuna. This is an herb that is helpful for stressful times. It’s sort of like a happy pill, as it acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Always check with your healthcare practitioner before using.
- Ashwaganda. By now, many of us have heard of adaptogens and this is one of them. It helps your body to adapt and regulate important physiological functions while under stress. It can help with both sleep and increasing energy.
- Nutmeg. I love being able to use what is already in our kitchen cupboards. This seasonal spice is a sedative and can help you relax or help you fall asleep. Try a little sprinkle on top of a warm drink in the evening.
- Prioritize sleep. I don’t mean only to get enough, but to go to bed at the same time and wake at the same time when possible. It will help regulate your circadian rhythms and the more in sync we are with nature, the less likely we are to get sick. Sleep is also when our body naturally detoxes and restores. We don’t want to miss out on any of that action.
- Chyavanprash. This is an herbal jam packed with goodness for rejuvenation. In Ayurveda, we call it a rasayana which means it can help restore and rebuild all of your tissues. It’s also a great way to boost ojas or your health reserves.
- Turmeric. You probably already know this as an anti-inflammatory, and that’s great because stress causes inflammation and this can make us more vulnerable to illnesses. But that’s not all turmeric can do. It’s also acts as an antibiotic, and that’s definitely something you should get on board with if you’re starting to feel sick.
- Chlorella. This is a green that comes from the sea and can aid with detoxification. Our body already comes with a built-in detox system, but why not help it along?
I personally love the holidays and all the bad movies, music, and tacky decor that comes along with it. It's only once a year, so give me Die Hard 1 and 2 and a cup of hot cocoa and I'll enjoy it guilt-free. To me, that's the best self-care I can gift myself.