The seasons are changing and the holidays are quickly approaching. That means it’s time to breathe into a new season. When you’re a person who likes routine (and yes, that’s me, too!) it can be hard to embrace fully this season when parties are planned and relatives come into town.
Though this time can be challenging, it’s also a time to breathe into the season. Gently easing in without falling completely into the hustle and bustle. Rituals are so important and so effective in this way. Like I wrote in Three Ways to Create an Evening Ritual, rituals provide centering, balance, and grounding energy. They allow you to be in tune with yourself and come back to yourself at the end of the day. Rituals are a way to feel connected when the season gets busy and allows you to breathe and re-center at the end of the day.
Here are three ways I like to breathe into stressful seasons, like the holidays, to stay grounded, present, and healthy.
Set an intention.
Before we get too far into the month and it feels like you’re being swept along without knowing how you came to be at yet another party with your plate piled with sugary treats, pause to reflect for a moment.
Close your eyes and meditate on how you want to feel this holiday season. Bring up emotions, physical feelings, scents you want to surround yourself with, and people that make up the season you’re in right now. Note how you want to feel and the emotions that come up within you.
Then, use those feelings to guide yourself into an intention. Say, for example, you want to feel peaceful and grounded (as opposed to rushed and frazzled, standing in line at a large chain store with half of the city in front of you). Your intention may be something like, “I want to move through this season purposefully and spend time with those doing things that contributes to a sense of ease and consuming mindfully.”
Now, you can measure everything against that intention you set. Make decisions on where you’ll spend your time, with whom, and what you’re doing based on that intention. Does it make you feel centered and calm? Do it. Does it make you feel anxious and goes against your goal of being purposeful this holiday season? Kindly pass.
Choose a self-care ritual to support you.
The weather is changing and with it comes shorter days and frosty weather. With each seasonal change, I like to add something new into my self-care ritual or change what I’m doing if it is no longer in service to me.
To breathe into this holiday season, I like to add more breathwork and mindfulness into my routine. Making myself a cup of tea is always a grounding ritual I come back to when I feel stressed and rushed, which often happens this time of year.
Feeling the cup in my hands, watching the leaves unfurl in the hot water, and focusing on breathing in the scents while the tea steeps is a mindful moment that helps reset any chatter and anxiety that may be present in the day.
Use an elixir to maintain physical and mental health.
Elixirs have been around for centuries and are intended to “cure one’s illness.” It’s a very thin, medicinal liquid to help with warding off sickness. I like to use elixirs in my daily ritual to support various ailments.
Right now, immune health is big focus for me. Stress weakens your immune system, making it harder to fight colds and other illnesses that run rampant this time of year.
I made a batch of Winter Comfort Honey Syrup before our wedding to support our immune systems. James and I took a tablespoon daily leading up to our wedding as it was a busy two weeks and we wanted to feel good on our wedding day!
Raw honey has amazing qualities to support a healthy, nurtured system. It’s a good source of antioxidants, which fight free radicals we pick up from the environment. Antibacterial and anti-fungal properties make honey a great choice to nurture your body. It also is great for digestion and helps to thicken the elixir.
I used Winter Comfort Tea in this for a few reasons. Ginger root is warming and comforting in the tea. Ginger also helps boost your metabolism and increase circulation. The tea is packed with echinacea and elderberry; two ingredients that naturally boost your immune system.
Winter Comfort Honey Syrup
2 cups distilled or filtered water (distilled is better)
3 tablespoons Winter Comfort Tea
Raw Organic Honey (local is best!) or sugar if you avoid honey
Place water and Winter Comfort Tea into a pot on the stove on medium low heat. Let simmer about an hour or until water has reduced about half. Strain liquid into a large canning jar.
Fill pot with water and heat. There should be steam, but it shouldn’t boil. Set canning jar into the water bath and slowly add the honey (or sugar). I used 1 ½ cups honey to 1 cup Winter Comfort Tea. Stir well and remove from heat.
Please note: heating the honey too much will destroy the enzymes you want to keep in the honey! The syrup is on the stove just to help the two blend well.
Keep it in the jar or pour it into something more decorative. Allow to cool, cap it, and place it in the refrigerator.
If you would rather have this at room temperature, increase the honey to 2 cups, although it is very sweet as it is!
Using sugar? You can leave the canning jar in the water bath for about 20 minutes on medium heat to thicken it up.
Take about 1 tablespoon per day as needed to support your immune system.