People pay a lot of lip service to “the holidays,” but in reality the holiday season is full of stressors. Pressure to be cheerful and pleasant all the time. Hokey holiday movies constantly creating unrealistic expectations. Crowded, expensive holiday travel in winter weather. New Years parties never being what you imagined. Dinner with Trump-supporting relatives. Non-stop consumerism to a dystopian, up-tempo, jinglebell soundtrack. Time-and-money-consuming gift giving and meal planning.
And everything about this season is doubly stressful if you’re not Christian.
So, keeping in mind that the holiday season is never quite as perfect and cozy as the TV makes it out to be, here are some tools to help you manage your stress as you make your way through.
Woven Psyche’s Multi-Holiday Playlist
I put together a holiday music playlist that I, as a non-Christian, actually enjoy listening to. I’ve tried to make the playlist inclusive, with songs celebrating fall/winter holidays from several cultures as well as Christmas-oriented songs from different cultures and traditions. Many of the songs in the playlist are designed to be meditative and calming. I also included songs with universal messages of peace and love. Note that Islam doesn’t have a major holiday around this time of year, but I included an Eid song anyway out of a desire to be as inclusive as possible. Also, Diwali 2019 has already taken place, and Chinese New year will be in January. If you think I have missed any holidays or cultures that should be included, please feel free to reach out with any suggested additions.
Easy Winter Aromatherapy Tricks
Essential oils are awesome and they are my go-to for intense self care work with my clients. But you don’t need an expensive essential oil library to take advantage of natural aromatherapy as you go about your everyday routine.
Pick up some fresh rosemary at the grocery store. Rosemary is the OG of garden witchery. It reduces stress and soothes nerves, stimulates mental clarity, boosts energy, and enhances alertness and concentration. Take a spray with you in the shower, throw some in hot water on the stove, or cook with it. Here’s a recipe for rosemary shortbread, one of my favorite fall/winter treats to bring to parties or put out when I’m hosting.
Lavender and Chamomile
Lavender is possibly the best known plant for evoking a calm and relaxed state. Consider buying some lavender dryer bags at Trader Joe’s – they’re filled with real lavender and already sealed in convenient pouches, so you can use them like sachets or pop one in your car. Similarly, chamomile is also known for calm, soothing and relaxation; like the dryer bags, chamomile tea bags are a practical and portable way to take advantage of this natural remedy (or, you know, make tea).
Eucalyptus and Peppermint
Eucalyptus and peppermint are both natural decongestants. If you can find fresh or even dried eucalyptus consider hanging it from the shower head and when you crank up a hot shower it will help you fight the winter sniffles. If not, consider peppermint tea or sprinkling a fruit salad with fresh mint, which is also known to invigorate and help combat winter fatigue.
Yoga for Winter Weather
I frequently recommend yoga to my clients because I have found it to be uniquely effective in its ability to evoke calm and help manage any number of physical and emotional problems. It’s a really healthy practice to do year round. That said, there are certain yoga poses and techniques that are particularly good for counteracting the negative effects that winter weather can have on our bodies. Read more here.
If you search online for mindfulness tips for getting through the holidays, there are plenty of articles featuring lists of ways to remain mindful. I prefer this one from the Harvard Health Blog.
Use Ayurvedic Principles to Balance Your Doshas
In Ayurveda, there are 3 “doshas” or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Different personality types and personal constitutions are associated with each of the three doshas. There are also three seasons in Ayurveda, each associated with a dosha. Right now, we are in Vata season. Check out this article to learn more about Vata season and how to keep Vata energy from becoming too dominant.
I personally find that doing something crafty, creative and/or artistic is one of the best cures for stress. Arts and crafts let us express ourselves, funnel our emotions into something tangible and productive, and tune out for a bit while we focus on something specific and tactile and concrete. Check out this list of winter themed crafts for inspiration (an added bonus is that some of these items can make affordable holiday gifts, too).
Winter weather can wreak havoc on our skin. It can dry skin out, causing cracked and even bleeding skin. Or it can make us flakey in some places and oily in others where our skin tries to compensate. Take care of your skin with easy, affordable spa treatments directly out of your own kitchen.
Handmade Herbal Teas
The right tea blend can boost both physical and emotional health. Click here for several easy-to-make herbal blends using regular kitchen ingredients. The best part is that these can also double as affordable homemade holiday gifts.
Let Woven Psyche make your holiday season easier.
Woven Psyche offers a variety of services that can make your holiday season easier, both by giving you additional opportunities to engage in self care and also by making your gift shopping a lot easier.
Holiday gifts can be purchased through Woven Psyche’s hidden 2019 Holiday Shop – enter using password WPHoliday19 (password option is in upper right).
Give a tarot reading gift certificate, tarot lessons or goddess gift box for the ones on your list who seem to already have everything. Or reach out about creating your own custom self care program to help you get through the holiday season with more mindfulness and less stress.