During the holiday season, achieving mind and body balance can feel even more daunting than usual. The burning question remains…how do we do it? How do we care for ourselves while hanging up a string of holiday responsibilities atop our already full lives?
As a yoga teacher, you might expect me to tell you to exercise more, to mindfully breathe more, or to meditate more. But, I think the key to finding balance this time of year is quite the opposite. I invite you to do less.
ASK YOURSELF WHAT YOU REALLY WANT
Be honest with yourself about what sparks joy for you and what doesn’t. Then, do only what will ignite that spark and skip what doesn’t. Maybe this sounds selfish, especially during the season of giving, but we mustn’t give everything we have to others or charge ahead with to do lists full of tasks that bog us down. Without taking the time to consider our actual wants, we can’t possibly show up as our best selves, for anyone. In the hustle and bustle of our hectic lives and a society that applauds us for working ourselves into exhaustion, it’s no wonder so many of us feel imbalanced and not on solid footing.
Setting goals is great. Some days it’s easy to make a list, check everything off it (and maybe even check it twice). Let’s be real though–some days, it’s super tough. Honestly, I’m sitting in the passenger seat of my car with my laptop open writing this, after a long day at work followed by a long rehearsal an hour away from home. I skipped my meditation this morning, I didn’t exercise today, and I ate a peanut butter bar. Did I plan my day this way? No. But, here’s the thing. To feel balanced, we must look at our lives in the moment and appreciate them exactly as they are–not how we wish they were.
SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE
A lot of finding balance is about shifting perspective. It’s about knowing that one peanut butter bar or one skipped workout doesn’t define us, or make us a failure. It’s about embracing every moment–even the most flawed among them–and saying, “I’m here. I honor this moment. And I choose to make peace with it.” It’s about releasing concern for the things we can’t control–the wild family members, the package of gifts that doesn’t arrive on time, the pain and the loss and the fear that continues even during this time of holiday happiness.
If exercising, meditating and mindfully breathing is on your “spark joy” list, then do it. But, if it’s not, or if it falls off your list because life just gets in the way, take a moment to honor yourself exactly as you are. Take a breath. Root your feet into the earth. Stand tall. And open yourself up to the next moment and whatever might come.
Give yourself the gift of respecting and loving yourself–and your circumstances–exactly as you and they are this holiday season. Because the thing is, if we get so caught up in what hasn’t been checked off the list, or what we think our lives should look like, we might end up missing something beautiful that never even made it on the list in the first place.