New Year, New You. Open yourself to new possibilities.
A few nights ago, I had a version of a dream that I have had before. I dreamed that I found a new room in my house, a room I had never seen before. I was delighted to find this room. The room itself was quite lovely with a window looking out to water. I couldn’t believe I had never encountered it before. Maybe you’ve had this kind of dream. It’s not uncommon. According to dream analysts, the symbolism of the new room can relate to areas of our lives where we are discovering new skills, abilities or strengths within ourselves. The new room serves as an invitation to open our minds to new possibilities and potentials. I love that I had this dream at this time, at this juncture between the old year and the new.
The New Year, a time for self-study and dharma alignment.
The New Year is a new beginning, a time for contemplating, reviewing, re-prioritizing and re-aligning one’s life. In yoga, this type of exercise falls under the category of svadhyaya, broadly defined as the “study of the self.”
I can't believe how time is flying! I don’t know about you, but my December is very full. I have lots to do this month and there are lots of people who need lots of things from me. I can imagine this scenario might be pretty similar for you too. The holiday season can get pretty crazy.
This is when I do my best to remember the command from the airlines to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others. December is a good time to do this!
Here are 4 Tips for Self-Care in December:
Go to bed early. Seriously! Do it. Insufficient sleep is now recognized as a serious public health concern. Unplug from the enticing holiday internet deals. Lay your work aside. Put your devices away at least an hour before bed. Have a nice cup of tea and get to bed no later than 10 PM for a long winter’s nap.
Stick to a daily routine for exercise. Whether it’s yoga, walking, jogging, or a fitness class, keep it up this month. You will feel better and be less inclined to over-indulge in holiday treats. The endorphins you get from moving your body will make you feel uplifted and will make you a more pleasant person to be around. If you want a short yoga routine: I have several you can download. Look here and here.
Do Restorative yoga. When the pressure from the holidays gets to you, take a break and do some restorative yoga.. My favorites are Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (L) and Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose) (R). I love to do these poses in the later afternoon or right before bed.
Drink warm, soothing beverages. Here are two recipes that are perfect for this month: Herbal Chai with warming spices and Soothing, Anti-Inflammatory Golden Milk.
Place one star anise, 1/2 tsp black pepper, two small slices of fresh ginger, 1 tsp cardamom seed, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1/2 tsp cloves in small pot. Add one quart water. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Add 2-4 Rooibos Tea bags. Serve with milk (dairy, almond, soy, etc.) and honey or agave nectar.
Spice and warm. Stimulates digestion. Tasty!
Golden Milk (better than eggnog!)
Heat 2 cups milk (coconut milk, dairy, almond or soymilk) with 1 tablespoon peeled, grated fresh ginger and 1/2 tsp ground turmeric and 3-4 black peppercorns, and a dash of nutmeg and cardamom. Bring to a simmer and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten to taste (if desired) with honey or agave. Add a small spoonful of ghee for a rich buttery flavor.
Turmeric has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. This is a great before bed drink. Simple, healing and delicious!
Annie Barrett. Educator, certified health coach yoga instructor.