Christmas is upon us hurrah!! But that also means with all the parties, present buying and excess alcohol, our mind/body balance will be thrown out of whack.
And no one wants to fall ill with the inevitable festive cold! Follow this plan over the christmas period and stay healthy, balanced and in control.
While we sleep we become dehydrated – after all, when else do we go 8 hours without drinking! It’s super important to rehydrate in the morning because we need to replenish those liquids lost while sleeping. You’ll feel instantly more alert and more refreshed. It also kickstarts your metabolism – great for burning those extra Christmas calories! – and fuels your brain (since our brains are largely made up of water) which will help you win at Trivial Pursuit :p
First thing in the morning, on waking, go and grab yourself a large glass of water (make sure it isn’t cold) and add in a couple of lemon slices, or squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.
Adding lemon to the water is a great way to boost your vitamin C intake – and fight the festive flu! – plus the zingy smell of lemons has been shown to be a great mood booster.
Next, wake your body and breathing with this speedy exercise.
When completing this exercise, try to breathe through your nose and exhale through your mouth. When you inhale, push the air all the way into your belly – relax! – and hold it for 3 counts before releasing and exhaling.
Here we go…!
If you have an exercise or yoga mat, feel free to use it for this exercise but it isn’t super necessary.
1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart and your arms loosely by the side of your body. On the inhale, raise your arms up towards the sky, move your gaze upwards to look at the ceiling. Hold your breath for three, interlacing your fingers.
2. Turn your palms to face upwards and stretch towards the ceiling, exhaling. Maintain this position and side stretch to the right, inhale. Hold the stretch (and the breath) before exhaling and returning to centre. Repeat on the left.
3. Lower arms inhale, exhale a drop neck onto right shoulder. Inhale right arm up, place gently n head to increase the stretch. Exhale, bring left arm out straight to the side, palm up and out to the left. Inhale back to centre, arms by sides. Repeat on the left.
4. Inhale bring both shoulders up to ears. Hold the position and the breath. Exhale drop shoulders down. Repeat 3 more times.
5. Inhale bring arms back up above head. Exhale and fold over letting your arms and head relax. Inhale, gently nod the head yes. Exhale, gently shake the head no. Inhale slowly lower down into a squat position. Exhale, come into table top (on your hands an knees).
6. Inhale arch your back into cat pose. Exhale drop into cow, gently arching your back with your gaze held upwards. Repeat another 3 times.
7. Finally, inhale lower into child’s pose. Stay here for a few more breaths, feeling a sense of stillness before you face the day.
To Aid Restful Sleep:
It seems well accepted that the festive season is a time for indulging in more food and drink than we would normally allow ourselves. While this is super enjoyable at the time, full tummies and too much alcohol can have a negative affect on our sleep, which in turn affects our mental health.
Try to be mindful of meal times and don’t go to bed on a full stomach, and make sure you keep hydrated with plenty of liquids.
Here’s a couple of ideas of things that will help you find mind/body balance before bed and ensure you sleep well, even with a tummy full of turkey!
- 2 mugs of drinking water
- 2 chamomile tea sachets (or dried leaves if available)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric/ 2cm of fresh turmeric root grated
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger/ 1cm of fresh ginger root grated
- 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp honey
- Bring water to boil (either in a kettle or in a saucepan)
- Add chamomile and let it steep for about 3 minutes.
- If using fresh ginger and turmeric root, add them after a minute.
- Remove the chamomile (and grated roots if used), stir in the remaining spice and the honey.
- Taste and add spices as required.
- Some people enjoy this with a little milk.
*Recipe adapted from http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/chamomile-turmeric-evening-tea/
And add a little bit of pre-bed meditation…
Want to help yourself sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed? Try meditating for ten minutes to wind down before bed.
If you’ve had a bit too much to eat, or have indulged in a bit too much alcohol it can make you feel uncomfortable, jittery and anxious. Not a good combination if you’re trying to sleep! Need something speedy to calm yourself? Try this exercise.
Otherwise, if you have a bit more time, here are three links to different guided meditations to try before bed.
Get yourself seated in a comfortable position, and take three deep belly breaths before you begin:
Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. This will help you be aware of which part of your lungs you are using to breathe. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, pushing your stomach out (your chest should only rise a little bit). Exhale through your mouth keeping everything relaxed – you should notice your stomach being pulled inward. Try pausing slightly after every exhalation and inhalation as this will help you slow down your breathing further and avoid hyperventilating.
Have a go at including all (or just some) of these into your daily routine over the Christmas period to help you feel in control of your mind/body balance.
So, there you go my lovelies…Happy happy Christmas, try to relax and enjoy yourself surrounded by the people you love most in the world!
And remember, if you need a few more ideas for looking after your mind and body (and not just over the festive season!) sign up below and grab your FREE copy of my self-care cheat sheet 🙂 It’s a goodie!
Much festive love to you all,