During this time of year, we all loosen up on some of our routine in order to connect to others and balance our regular yearly routine with some fun. That being said, now that the holidays are over you may notice some subtle, or not so subtle, changes in your mind and body.
If your sleep routine has been off, we can feel sluggish and tired. You might feel heavy, bloated, or have irregular digestion from eating different foods or overeating. You may also be feeling a host of emotions from the holidays such as sadness that they are over, anxiety about getting back to routine life, or anger and resentment if you had some challenging conversations with people. You may even be feeling guilty for ‘not doing enough’ or things that you said to others.
Each situation, including the holidays, can bring up feelings and emotions that need to be released so we can move into the next year more freely. It is also a great time to reset the digestion and begin the new year with energy and lightness.
In Ayurveda, whenever we have gone through a particularly busy or stressful period, this is a great time to do a cleanse to release any toxicity that has accumulated and to rekindle the digestive fire, or agni. Our agni helps us digest our food as well as our life experiences.
A Mind-Body Reset for the New Year
Here are some Ayurvedic tips to reset and reboot after a busy holiday season:
- Get back to a regular schedule that is aligned with your circadian rhythm. Try to go to bed by 10:00 and wake up by 6:00.
- Meditate and do some slow, deep breathing in the morning to calm the nervous system and shift the physiology toward healing and balancing.
- Drink warm water with lemon or ginger in the morning to stimulate the digestion for the day.
- Do some mindful movement during the day to get the circulation going and lighten the body. Even getting up every half hour and walking around your house or doing some short stretches will benefit your body.
- Eat your largest meal at lunch with a light breakfast and dinner based on your hunger level. You may find that post-holiday, your body is craving light and healthy food.
- Focus on plant-based or plant-focused eating after the holidays to rebalance the gut.
- Drink some warm water or healthy herbal teas throughout the day.
- Take some time before bed for self-care with a warm bath or gentle oil massage.
- Journal to release anything that happened over the holidays that don’t uplift you, and have the intention to let it go.
Intentions for the Year Ahead
As part of a ‘reset’, we also can reflect and set intentions for the new year. In Sanskrit, a subtle intention from the heart is called Sankalpa. When we connect to our hearts, meditate, and set intentions in the field of pure potential, we begin the process of manifesting our intentions.
Here is a practice to help you release any emotions that are weighing you down to create space for new intentions:
- Sit in a quiet space and take some slow, deep breaths for a few minutes.
- Connect to the sensations in your body and notice if any emotions are coming up. Imagine yourself breathing into those spaces and allowing the energy of the emotions to move.
- Now open your eyes and write down the emotions that you were aware of. Just write down what you were feeling and any experiences that brought those feelings up.
- Allow yourself to fully feel the emotions and accept them.
- Use words that allow you to take responsibility for the feelings and emotions and empower you, especially when they are feelings of discomfort.
- Examples: aggravated, alienated, fragile, withdrawn, disappointed, hurt, or guilty. For more information on identifying your emotions, refer to the work of Marshall Rosenberg and nonviolent communication.
- If you are feeling comfort, here are some words you may use: openhearted, curious, happy, content, or grateful.
- Continue feeling the sensations in your body as you write and pause to breathe into any discomfort as it releases.
- Once you are feeling comfortable, write down some affirmations related to the emotions that came up. For example:
- “I accept myself and others exactly as they are”
- “I forgive myself and others”
- “I am always doing my best given each circumstance”
- “I accept all of my emotions”
- “I embrace the opportunity to see other points of view”
Reflecting on the Previous Year
Lastly, try to think of a few things that brought you joy over the holiday season and write them down. Even if you don’t feel they are significant, bringing awareness to things that bring you joy reduces the focus on the things that did not and are a great way to end any journaling practice. Examples that may apply to you:
- “I enjoyed some holiday music”
- “I enjoyed my favorite dessert”
- “I enjoyed some alone time”
- “I enjoyed seeing family and friends”
- “I enjoyed the first snow”
Releasing anything, whether it’s food, daily schedule, or emotions, that don’t serve your future self and focusing on the things that did can help you detox and reset from the holidays and allow you to move forward with more energy, clarity, joy, and lightness.
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