Home For The Holidays: Top 5 Tips For Keeping Your Cool

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Holiday Helper
“I don’t know exactly how it happens,” my friend, a yoga teacher, said, “But when I go home for the holidays, I lose it. I lose the person I usually am when I’m not there. I get cranky, stressed, argumentative….what’s the deal with that?” All I could do was nod. It happens to me too.

I’m not really sure what the deal is, but a bunch of things might do it: we’re in closer quarters than we’re used to, with more people than we’re used to; we’re not getting the usual food that keeps us balanced; or we’re not getting the same exercise that releases adrenaline. Or, we’ve eaten way too many of our dad’s homemade almond cookies even though we know sugar makes us cranky, and reverted to the selves we know we can be around people who love us no matter what, even if we do sometimes resort to teenage-like bickering with our big sister. Not that I’ve ever done that, of course.

Home For The Holidays: Top 5 Tips For Keeping Your Cool
Aside from the usual admonitions: getting the the R & R we need, eating well, lowering our expectations of getting our dream Christmas…

1 Tap In
We can take five minutes in the morning to tap into that person we know we can be, through anything that works for us. Some suggestions:
– asana (vinyasas work really well when short on time)
– meditation with long, deep breathing
journalling

2 Pause and Check
Got a snarky reply on the tip of our tongues? A one-second pause to recognize that the source of our bad mood is likely coming from us and whatever leftovers we’re hanging onto from the fight we had when we were 12–not them–is often enough to help us let that response go.

3 Reprogram
On the yoga mat we learn to meet physical stressors and challenges with peace and equanimity. Just remembering that we’ve done that can help us consciously tap into that when we meet stressors in the living room. “Oh, hiiiiiii, (smarmy and irritating goon) Uncle Ted!”

4 Release
And when it all just gets to be a bit too much? Head to the basement, shut the door, turn down the lights, and take Lions’ Breath at least 10 times, while standing. Adding big, sweeping arm movements, reaching high then out and down, on each exhale, adds oooomph.

5 Escape
Do what an acquaintance of mine is doing this year: head to Mexico.

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Dec 19, 2008 · Comment
 
 

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