Most people know me as the CEO of Conscious Good, but in my personal life, I’m Mom to my kids and to my husband his partner, which means wearing many hats at all times of the day and night. Life can get overwhelming very quickly if I let it, and even more so during holiday season. Thankfully, over the years I have learned, honed and solidified an array of stress managing tools that I want to share with you. These are my tried and tested tips for relieving stress.
1. Sleep – Eight hours a night is my top priority. Without a good night’s sleep, I’m unable to manage my thoughts and work at my best. There are a few things I do daily to ensure a good nights sleep: Electronics remain out of the bedroom, no sugar past 7 pm (including wine!), no caffeine past 4 pm, and a regular breathing exercise. A warm bath with lavender oils before bedtime also helps, but with our Ojai town’s draught, it’s more of a once-every-couple-of-weeks treat. Another method that I find to be integral for a quality sleep and overall mental health is limiting my intake of negative media. We are what we watch, after all.
2. Daily Practice – This is absolutely essential for limiting stress. Upon waking, I read an inspirational book for 10 minutes, I do 20 minutes of yoga, a 30 minute meditation and 20 minutes of cardio. Notice that none of these daily practices are time-consuming or tedious and they do so much to help ease my mind. A key part of this tactic is not to check email until all or a few of the above are completed!
3. Cold Shower – Like a daily practice, it’s about optimizing circulation! As I learned in Kundalini yoga teacher training, we need the blood to circulate through the capillaries and there’s no way to do that besides taking a cold shower. Yogi Bhajan, the Founder of Kundalini Yoga taught, “When the capillaries are open, they feed your glands, and when a glandular system is well-fed, it secretes. The chemistry of your blood becomes perfect. That gives you a capacity to act, think, know; and it gives you grit, stamina.”
4. Drink Your Greens – And I mean for breakfast. I do not like taking vitamins and I am not a smoothie lover. But when I have kale & other greens in the morning, it gives me a boost of energy that lasts all morning, until I eat my veggies at lunch. I love adding a packet of frozen acai – a super food – from a local health store or mainstream grocery store like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. If you are into juicing, this is another way to get all of your nutrients in at the start of your day.
5. Massage – Whether self-massage or a local masseuse, weekly. In the West, massage almost has a “luxury” connotation instead of an essential practice for preventative health as in the East. Fortunately we have an incredible Chinese massage center a few miles from my house. No appointment necessary, fully clothed for a quick in and out, and prices are affordable. But I have also taken self-massage classes and of course some yoga postures produce similar benefits.
It can be hard to set aside extra time for ourselves when we are already feeling the pressures of a busy week, yet alone the holiday season. This, however, is precisely the best time to incorporate these stress-relieving strategies into your life before we become overwhelmed. I recommend using them all through the New Year and especially this week to ensure that your time with your friends and family is as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. Happy holidays!
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