With looming to-do lists, invite lists, gift lists, wish lists, and grocery lists, the most wonderful time of the year can quickly become seasonal chaos. It’s no wonder that many of us feel so stressed out during the holiday season!
The expectations of holiday shopping, hosting or visiting family, having so much to do and so many decisions to make, may cause Prana Vata, the subdosha of Vata that governs mental functioning, to go out of balance. Aggravated Prana Vata can cause excessive worry, occasional feelings of anxiety and trouble sleeping — thus making it difficult to remain calm and stay happy during one of the best times of the year. If we become more and more stressed, we enjoy the holidays less and less.
The holiday season does not have to be stressful. Ayurveda empowers us to balance our lives, in body, heart (emotional) and mind. We can utilize healing ayurvedic herbs to stay calm, balanced and de-stressed during the holidays. The experience of holiday chaos is inversely proportional to our state of balance; the more balanced we are, the less we feel that life is chaos. Nothing may change on the outside, but how we experience our world can change — for the better.
De-stress Your Digestion
According to ayurveda, balancing any part of our bodies (or lives) starts in the gut. If we’re not digesting food properly, the nutrients we’re eating are wasted instead of absorbed. Strong digestion keeps our immune system healthy and our brain happy. If things are off in our gut, our health may fall out of balance, leading to a vicious cycle of imbalance.
Simple Tip: Eat the main meal of the day at lunch rather than at dinner, and add an ayurvedic combination of herbs, called Triphala, into the mix. When we eat a large dinner, we are telling our body to do two contradictory things: deeply rest, but also maintain a higher metabolic rate to digest food. Our body cannot reach the deepest, most restful part of sleep when it is trying to handle a big meal. The result: we wake up not fully rested and with a meal that is not fully digested, leaving us with ama, or improperly digested food being metabolized. Ever wonder why you wake up hungry the morning after a big dinner? It is because your stomach is starting to re-digest the food it could not handle the night before… you are not hungry; it is your body still dealing with the big meal.
Triphala — A mild laxative, it gently purifies, detoxes and when used over a longer period of time, it allows even the deepest tissues and organs of the body to release toxins. Despite its powerful cleansing quality, Triphala actually supports food absorption rather than depleting the body of nutrients. This ayurvedic formula contains three remarkable fruits — and together in the combination of Triphala they are known as a digestive rasayana, a king of herbal combinations known for amazing rejuvenative and health-giving qualities. Because Triphala Tone contains three fruits in one compound, it is considered one of the most valuable herbal preparations in the world.
Be Stress Free
The obligations and to-do’s of the holiday season can demand our time and energy, leaving us feeling depleted. Ongoing stress can contribute to imbalances in our mind and body, leading to feelings of sadness and physical fatigue. If we take time to check in with our emotions and our heart during this busy season, we can let go of unnecessary stress and choose to let go of unfulfilling obligations. Ayurvedic Stress Ease is a healing herbal formula that can help us reclaim the calm from within.
Stress Ease — A great product for those who experience anger when under stress. For natural support of emotional stress and fatigue, this blend of whole herbal extracts, powders, and minerals nourishes and supports the immune system, which is often taxed by everyday mental stress. Nearly all health professionals agree that the stress of modern living is one of the biggest obstacles to maintaining health and well-being. As stress accumulates, many people find themselves exhausted as they try to juggle the responsibilities of their demanding lifestyles. Stress Ease helps the body cope with stress by supporting the resiliency and tone of the neuromuscular system. Unlike the temporary jolts and inevitable crashes experienced with caffeine and sugar, this blend of herbs strengthens the system to provide a sustained source of natural energy. Stress Ease bolsters one's ability to surmount physical, mental and emotional challenges. Its rejuvenative actions may be beneficial for those prone to fatigue, weakness and feeling overwhelmed.
Vata governs movement, and as our movement increases with the “too-much-to-do, too-little-time” feeling and holiday travel, we may start to feel restless, anxious, and overall Vata-deranged! When Vata wobbles out of balance, we might notice that we are anxious, tired, fatigued, forgetful or “spaced out,” and lack the focus to be present and enjoy our quality time with friends and family.
When life gets too hectic, restore balance instantly with a warm, nurturing cup of Organic Calming Vata Tea, especially formulated to pacify Vata-related imbalances.
Organic Calming Vata Tea — A few sips of sweet, soothing Organic Vata Tea will settle a whirling mind and help our body relax. Licorice, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon combine in this organic herbal tea to aid digestion, promote a healthy appetite and relieve occasional stomach discomfort. Whether at work, at home, or on the road, Organic Vata Tea can help us quickly create a zone of inner calm. Whew!
Worry Free — A great product for those who experience worry, indecision, or spaciness when under stress. Bacopa, dwarf morning glory, ashwagandha, jatamansi, licorice, and Indian tinospora combine to create one of our strongest Vata-balancing formulations. Supporting a healthy emotional response, Worry Free helps us step up to the challenge of modern life. Because it simultaneously calms the nervous system while supporting mental acuity and the brain’s ability to cope with anxiety-producing, stress-related situations, we’ll sail through the same situations that used to cause a meltdown. It’s not about having a different attitude — it’s about changing the automatic and immediate emotional reaction to stress.
Our body heals itself during sleep, which is why quality sleep is essential to maintain balance. Ayurveda recommends turning in before 10:00 p.m., during Kapha time when our body naturally supports rest, and waking with the sunrise. After 10:00 p.m., a more active, Pitta-quality sleep sets in. So, if we can fall asleep before then, a more restful Kapha-quality sleep takes hold; we fall asleep more easily, and experience a deeper quality of sleep. If turning in before 10:00 p.m. seems unrealistic, there are simple ways we can at least improve the quality of sleep we’re getting. Slow down a half hour before lights out and power down all electronics in the bedroom.
Simple Tip: If you frequently find yourself not feeling tired by bedtime, try this: Turn out all the lights in your home before sundown. Enjoy a restful activity such as reading, avoid electronics, and allow the light to naturally set in your home. You may find that drowsiness naturally comes on.
In order to experience a deep, restful sleep the body must be fully relaxed and the mind calm. 'I Sleep Soundly' contains natural muscle relaxants that help release the accumulated tension from a stressful day. In addition, the herbs also have a subtle, soothing effect on the mind that helps to ease the mental restlessness that can keep one tossing and turning throughout the night. Containing natural sleep promoters like chamomile and skullcap, 'I Sleep Soundly' provides a deep sense of relaxation and calm that allows for a sound, healthy repose. As you rest, rejuvenating herbs like ashwagandha work to restore and revitalize the body and mind. Since 'I Sleep Soundly' works to support the body's natural sleep process, you awake feeling rested, refreshed and full of vitality.
Underneath all of the holiday activities, remember that the end of one year and the beginning of another is a time to practice gratitude, and enjoy the connection from both within and around. Through ayurvedic practices, we can empower ourselves to find balance and de-stress during chaotic times!
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.
With thanks to Maharishi Ayurveda for their holiday tips. Reach them at mapi.com