This holiday season, I’ve been home visiting my parents for what will be a six-week trip.
I absolutely love staying at their place and getting so much quality time with them, especially during this crazy year. But I know that I would not be nearly as pleasant to be around, nor would I fully experience and appreciate my time spent with them if I didn’t keep up with my mindfulness practices.
This year’s intensity has only seemed to grow throughout the months, and I know that the holidays can bring up a lot of emotions, triggers, and unresolved issues for many of us.
I wanted to share a list of my five favorite practices that I do daily to help me stay clear, calm, and collected. All of these practices will help facilitate a deeper connection within you and can be done in 10 minutes or less. I hope you find some peace, release, and ease while practicing!
1. Somatic Shaking
This has easily become one of my favorite practices this year. Somatic shaking is something that animals frequently do in response to stress or trauma. It’s their way of biologically “shaking off” the stress (think about how often your dog shakes!). It’s a way to discharge any stagnant energy in your body, and I promise, you will feel a great release.
Start by putting on an upbeat song that makes you want to move, close your eyes, place your feet a little over hip-width distance apart with a slight bend in your knees, and start bouncing. Shake your hands, shake your head, your arms, your booty, everything. Keep your eyes closed and just let your whole body shake. It feels so good when you let yourself really get into it, and even better once you’ve completed the exercise.
I will always include meditation in any sort of wellness-related routine because I’ve witnessed both scientifically and in my own experience, its profound effects on the body, mind, spirit, and overall quality of life. Meditation has been shown to radically reduce physical and emotional symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, and increase sleep quality, immune function, attention span, and self-awareness.
Meditation has transformed my life, and I could write (and plan to!) a whole book on this. If you’re an avid-meditator, be sure to keep up with your practice during holiday chaos, as it will help you stay grounded and aware of your needs. If you’re new to meditation or have been contemplating a practice, now is the time to start.
Morning or evening pages help me to flush out or detox any fears, doubts, frustrations, anxieties, or blockages I’m facing and shed light on aspects of myself or my life that I’m grateful for or excited about. If you choose to journal in the morning, it’s an effective way to process any lingering emotions from dreams or yesterday, set intentions or goals for today, and spark your mind’s creativity. If journaling at night feels more aligned, I find it to be a nice way to unwind, process the day’s events, cultivate gratitude for all that I experienced or accomplished, and set intentions for tomorrow.
A teacher once told me, “If your mind is stuck, un-stick your body.” I absolutely love this advice, and I’ve experimented with it a lot this year. Anytime I’m feeling extra anxious, annoyed, doubtful, uninspired, sticky, or just off, I put on a song and dance. Sometimes it’s slow and passionate, and sometimes I’m whipping my pixie hair around and rocking the hell out. No matter the mood or energy level, music, and dancing are forms of art that are meant to invoke feeling and pleasure. I feel like this particular practice is one that everyone knows would be fun, but people rarely do it in practice. A song is typically between three to five minutes. You have time to dance!
I’m relatively new to tapping, but I’ve practiced it and experienced the benefits enough to vouch for it as a great tool in reducing stress, clearing out our system, and getting grounded.
Close your eyes and find a comfortable seated position. You’ll be tapping on your body’s meridian points to restore your body’s balance. As you tap, you can talk through anything that’s coming up and making you feel stressed, anxious, fearful, or uneasy. Take lots of deep breaths. Once that feels complete, continue tapping but start to speak about what’s good, hopeful, and true for you. Speak to your desires, your dreams, your accomplishments, and anything you feel grateful for.
This exercise helps me to clear out any negativity that feels heavy and remind myself of all the good in my life. You may feel much clearer, more grounded, and appreciative once you’re finished.
That’s all for now, friends! I hope these practices help you stay connected with yourself this holiday season and beyond. Share which ones were your favorites in the comments below!