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Suffice to say, the holidays will look a little different this year for all of us. Whether you’re accustomed to celebrating with your entire social circle, or you prefer a quaint gathering, a mix of emotions from joy to anxiety are likely to join the party – invited or otherwise. Throw in a global pandemic and added heaviness is inevitable.
We called in close friend of The NAVEDA Edit and Founder/Holistic Health Coach of Find Your Rai, Neha Shah, to seek much needed advice on staying calm, maintaining mindfulness, and finding happiness through this unprecedented time. She shared a wealth of tips straight from her daily practices — below are just a handful we found especially helpful!
AMPLIFY HEALTHY HABITS
Though joyous and cheer-filled, the holiday season can also bring its fair share of stress, particularly this year. Undoubtedly, pressures of hosting, shopping for the perfect gifts for loved ones, and of course 2020’s additional burdens can feel overwhelming. While it may require a bit of extra effort, Neha suggests leaning on – rather, amplifying — healthy habits as much as possible this season more than any before.
Starting each morning with a few minutes of uninterrupted serenity is a great way to set the tone for the balance of the day. Whether that dedicated time is spent practicing yoga (through meditation or movement), journaling, breathing exercises or enjoying a cozy cup of hot water or tea, that self-care is important.
Breathwork, Neha notes, is an impactful non-time-consuming way of re-introducing balance. When that feeling of tension is building, she suggests taking a deep breath in for 4 seconds, holding and releasing for another 4 seconds. Repeat that 3 times. While it won’t take the problem at hand away, it’ll certainly help to engage and reconnect the mind, body and soul – providing a calmer headspace to move forward.
BE HONEST, AND SHOW UP FOR YOU
What we leave unsaid tends to live rent free in our minds. Let that sink in.
Does a holiday gathering with questionable social distancing make you feel uneasy? Is your ever-growing gifting list keeping you up at night? Are you struggling with how best to stay connected to family members through this very different holiday season? Whatever the answer may be – it’s OK.
It can be easier to tuck away anxiety-inducing thoughts – not allowing our minds to really feel those emotions and work towards getting through them. Instead, it’s human nature to sometimes let those feelings fester beneath the surface, ultimately giving them free reign to later manifest through various ways in life. As challenging as it can be though, Neha advises allowing yourself to really feel the feelings associated with any crossroad that comes along the way. After all, giving yourself that permission will ultimately lead to making choices that best suit you.
Further, with that honesty, comes action. Part of respecting yourself includes doing what feels right in your own heart. Just as a loved one may feel comfortable hosting a small gathering, you may feel uncomfortable attending. That said, as Neha so eloquently said in our conversation with her, “If you choose not to attend, politely declining does not have to be a negative experience.” She suggests being clear about your decision and keeping the conversation short and sweet. “You don’t need to oversell your rationale for your RSVP one way or the other,” she added.
Even if you’re not able to attend a gathering physically, try these alternatives to remind your host how much you appreciate his/her invitation nonetheless:
- Zoom into the event, or make a special appearance via Facetime to thank the host and join in on the fun virtually
- Send a thank you card to the host. After all, it’s the thought that counts!
- Make a another plan that you feel comfortable with. Perhaps, after the event, you can simply drive by the host’s house to hello and catch up from a distance.
Holidays, party of one! Understandably, we’re taking a different approach to the holiday season and that can cause feelings of lonliness for some. That said, and while In keeping with social distancing, Neha recommends enjoying moments of solitude while while finding creative ways to stay in touch with loved ones.
- Spend time with yourself. Take this time as an opportunity to engage in an activity that makes you happy. Treat yourself to a long bath, curling up to a book you’ve been meaning to read, or finally start that new hobby you’ve been toying with! Whatever you do, value your time with you.
- Stay connected. The beauty of this tech era that we live in is that we can connect with a loved one in seconds. Wining and dining with friends and family can be enjoyed virtually via Zoom — after all, it’s more about spending moments together versus how and where you gather.
A special thank you to Neha Shah for lending her expertise for this feature! For more of her helpful tips, visit @FindYourRai.