I have heard so many people say recently, something about “this time of year” and the fact that they feel overwhelmed in some way by it. There is an anticipation of activity, family gatherings, needing to meet expectations and just a sheer energy output required that is already setting them up for stress.
“The Holidays” come every year and with them a sense of hurry, responsibility and overwhelm. You may feel both the draw toward the excitement and want to really experience joy in your world while also feeling that there is too much to do and that the commercialization of the holidays takes away from the quality of peace and connection that you want. You may cherish your family traditions and the spirit of Chanukah or Christmas, you may enjoy the beautiful lights and decorations, you may love getting together with family and friends and still you may find that there is something not quite right – you may feel tired, or irritable or even, stressed.
Over the years I have found that having some time during “this time of year” just for myself and for some ceremony and ritual that is intended to really connect me to spirit – the divine light in everything – and to stop and contemplate the return of light to the earth, has been immensely helpful in sustaining me.
The Solstice can be a perfect personal holiday to help ground your energy and support you in being your best in all the other activities that have come to represent “the holidays”. The word Solstice means, sun stands still – and the Solstice itself occurs on the longest night of the year. What more perfect time to stop for personal reflection and quietude. And there it is bundled up right in the middle of the mad dash of preparing, visiting, shopping and all – a moment when time can stand still and you might rest.
The Solstice has come to be a time, for me, of remembering. Remembering that as winter is in her depths, she calls us as all of nature to be quiet and still. Remembering that all the lights and décor were originally intended to be a reminder that the light will be returning and to appreciate that. I love the family and friend get togethers, but I make sure that I have some celebrations that are really for me and for filling myself back up.
Here are a few tips for self-nurturing this Solstice season – I hope they make your Holidays, more holy.
- Right now put a few times in your calendar over the next few weeks, that are dates with yourself where you will stay in, have some time to relax, put on quiet music, burn candles, take a bath….anything that helps you to feel relaxed. It will allow you to be more fully present in the times you are with others.
- Cook simple, nourishing meals – consider root vegetables, soups and stews to help support grounding and nurturing. If you know you are going to be busy, consider cooking some ahead and putting in the freezer for easy meals that will keep you from stopping at a restaurant for take-out. If you are going to a party, don’t skip lunch! Eat something healthy and nourishing so you don’t arrive at the party famished and ungrounded.
- Take time every day to simply be quiet. Light a candle and set yourself up in a simple restorative pose. Set a timer for 10 – 15 minutes and give yourself space to be. On the days that even that seems impossible, at least take 5 minutes in the morning to close your eyes and focus on your breath. Do the same right before you go to bed and see how it affects your sleep!
- With each invitation, stop and be honest with yourself – does this event feel nourishing to you? Are you going out of obligation or joy? If you are going out of obligation, do you really have to go? If you choose to go, what can you do to allow you to be present and to actually enjoy yourself?
- Consider joining me for my annual Solstice Restorative Yoga Event. By giving yourself the gift of deep rest in the company of others, you just may find a way to bring a little bliss in the season that will help carry you through into the new year.
Many blessings to you,