Here are five things to accomplish during your winter holiday, to prepare you for accomplishing all your dreams this year.
It is easy to fall behind on sleep. Perhaps you have to complete a project - yet also get up early. But gradually the hours in between get squeezed out… when in reality the more sleep, and more importantly, regular sleep patterns you get into - the more productive and efficient your brain and body is able to be. Think of sleeping like your body’s chance to reset; an internal car wash of your body, mind and emotions.
In order to get a good rest, try a few of these:
Turn off devices an hour (or two!) before bed
Drink a cup of sleep or chamomile tea
Avoid eating after 7pm
If you’re hungry, try Ojas milk
Take a warm bath
Try Abhyanga (self oil massage)
Or massage your feet and hands with oil
Journal, and plan out tomorrow
Sleep for at least 8 hours
Get up with the sun
So, join me in setting a challenge to whip up a stellar sleep routine this year, and enjoy life and accomplish things to the full.
As the saying goes ‘you are what you eat’. The system of Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu system of medicine (incorporated in Atharva Veda, the last of the four Vedas), is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems, using diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.
As important as it is to maintain a routine in sleep, the same thing applies to food. Think of your stomach like a pot on the stove. To make sure it squeezes the most energy from your food, it needs quality fuel, and time to process. With christmas it’s easy to get lost in accepting all your grandma’s cake offers throughout the day, but to actually enjoy it from start to finish, stick to eating when you’re truly hungry.
Some tips to help digestion:
Avoid drinking water, especially cold water, with food. That’s like pouring water on a fire… it’ll go out in smoke!
Eat some toasted fennel seeds or drink some ‘detox’ tea after meals
Take a moment to breathe after you’ve eaten, before getting up
Try to sit to eat, as the stomach is more relaxed and better able to absorb the food.
Eat what tastes good - but observe how it feels when it’s in your stomach. A donut tastes great - but when it’s digested I know I’ll feel sluggish, tired and get a horrible taste in my mouth later on. But if I eat raw kale, I dislike it from the moment it is in my mouth - and when it’s being digested. That’s because any raw food is harder for the stomach to digest.
Breathe and move
Like sleep and food, everything is subjective to your body, and your current situation.
Some people thrive from running in cold wet conditions. Some thrive by doing a long slow yoga class in a heated room. Some thrive by doing steady weightlifting, and some by doing hardcore but short workouts, like boxing.
But in all of them, it gives your body the chance to breath and move things through. Be conscious of whether your body is really asking to be listened to and to slow down, especially after a busy year.
Things to try:
Holding plank for 2 minute sets x 4
Make or listen to music just for fun
To quote a similar article posted last year by Dom Jones:
‘Yes, we're musicians. We spend most of our time studying, creating, editing, arranging, and/or performing music. Don't forget to enjoy it as something other than a skill or a job, but as something that you truly love. Catch up on the albums you missed from 2019, and try to listen as a lover of music, without analyzing it (I know, I know, it'll be tough not to)!’
Why not also catch up on the best music from the last decade - to inspire you to create the new music of this decade!
Most of all, try and do one thing every day that makes you happy. Take care of yourself so that you can come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the new year!