With the holidays rapidly approaching, we often find ourselves lost in the feelings of chaos, stress and anxiety, causing us to close out the year in an overwhelmed and burnt out state. “What a perfect way to bring in the new year,” said no one ever.
While it’s easy to get caught up in these emotions, shifting our focus away from the hustle and bustle, and focusing more on gratitude can make the holidays seem less daunting. You know what they say: count your blessings, not your problems.
To enjoy and appreciate more this holiday season without spreading yourself thin, check out these steps for expressing gratitude.
Stay consistent with your yoga practice
One of the best ways to encourage gratitude is to keep up with your daily yoga practice at home.
It may seem to effortlessly slip during the holiday festivities, but remaining persistent and committed to your at home yoga routine will provide the opportunity to recenter yourself and calm the mind. In the midst of the holiday chaos, a true testament to self care is creating this one-on-one time to recharge and reconnect with yourself.
If you feel like it’s impossible to fit a little bit of yoga into your busy schedule, simply focus on basic yoga moves for a short 10 minute yoga routine.
Building the best you: meditation and yoga
Making a meditation space in your home designates an area solely for yoga and meditation where you can focus on your practice. It may seem superfluous at first, but establishing a room or meditation corner can be the glue to keeping your practice together during the busy holiday season.
Even the “task” of setting up a meditation room can be ample opportunity for gratitude! Building a meditation altar, choosing relaxing incense, lighting candles, and hanging inspiring images are all part of the calming and introspective process.
Once you’ve created that meditation space within your home, be sure to use it! Research shows that spending even ten minutes a day in meditation helps reset and relax your body’s stress response, improves sleep, reduces pain, and brightens your mood. What do you have to lose?
Keep a gratitude journal
Jotting down what you are thankful for everyday is a powerful way to invite gratitude into your life. If it sounds simple, it’s because it is.
I keep a gratitude journal on my nightstand and make it a habit to evaluate my day, recalling those little moments of joy, happiness, and appreciation that are unfortunately overlooked by the day’s end. It’s easy to focus on what’s “wrong” in life, but it takes effort to recognize that the positives far outweigh the negatives, which is why keeping a gratitude journal is so important. This small, yet powerful change in perspective is the essence of developing a more appreciative and thankful outlook on life.
Include restorative yoga poses in your practice
We live in a world that is so fast-paced and bustling, we often forget to take the time to calm our bodies and minds. Adding restorative, gentle yoga poses to your home yoga routine, like child’s pose, happy baby pose, reclining hero pose, and corpse pose will help relax that mental chatter, giving you a blissful state to focus on gratitude and appreciation.
Sharing is caring
Making an effort to express positivity and gratitude will enhance your own mood while also spreading love to those around you. It’s a win-win! When you are open to love, it will inevitably find its way back into your life and, since kindness is a chain reaction, sharing your light will undoubtedly spark a flame in those around you.
Before the holiday stress overwhelms you, try implementing these gratitude tips proactively into your life. Don’t wait until the stress is unbearable. Instead, make the initiative to establish these practices as a preventative way to avoid holiday burnout, all while welcoming the selfless practice of gratitude into your life.
About the Author
Veronica is a mom of four with an extensive background in medicine and physical therapy. She started practicing yoga as a tool for managing PTSD and anxiety along with the daily stresses of “Mom Life.” She now teaches yoga within her own community, encouraging others (especially other busy moms) to discover the numerous benefits of yoga.