An Easeful, Holistic Approach to Holiday Well-Being

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By: Devon Loftus

Oh, the holidays. Home feels a little cozier, the weather invites roaring fireplaces and cuddles, traditions are abound, celebrations are more vibrant — there are so many reasons why the holidays are so darn magical.

But to pretend like that’s all the holidays consist of would be to deny the experience as a whole. The holidays can bring about challenging emotions, run-down bodies and achy hearts and because at Moon Cycle Bakery we value duality, we believe it’s important to honor and acknowledge both sides of the coin. This not only allows us to cultivate authenticity, but it also supports our integrity in what we need and want for our body and soul.

In this post, we’ll be focusing on a variety of pain points that can come up during the holidays from anxiety + overwhelm to hangovers + fatigue. We’ll cover small ways we can help keep our mind, body and spirit fed and loved up in an easy and holistic manner. So easy that you can take the information with you to a party, tap into it late at night when putting gifts out for your kiddos, or even at the table with family.


Mind + Spirit Pain Points:

Anxiety and Overwhelm

This may register feelings of:

  • High pressure - maybe to perform at work, launch a product, hit a deadline or just be the best parent/aunt/uncle/Santa around and needing to get “the best gift”

  • Working with the well-known time-crunch that seems to pop-up around the holidays

  • Feeling tight on money

Ways to create relief:

  • Keeping a gratitude journal helps to keep perspective on the big picture, which is that the best present of all is presence (as corny as it may sound, it’s the truth) and that showing up as the full version of yourself is what will bring others (and yourself) joy during this season.

  • Walks in nature, even if cold! Especially if it’s cold, actually. There’s nothing better (and invigorating) than when you inhale that crisp, clear air.

  • Becoming the witness. Take in the perspective and truth of the holiday by watching the people around you be joyful. Sometimes the most profound strategies are the simplest.

  • If you need to travel, plan snacks and suitcases as far in advance as possible and design it in a way that ensures comfortability on your terms. (ie: headphones, blanket, fuzzy socks, essential oils, healthy snacks, etc)

  • Lavender is your best friend for anxiety.

  • Buy yourself an advent calendar and commit to taking the holidays one day at a time.

  • Set boundaries with yourself and others and work within them. This could look like a budget, how often you see your family or in-laws, or maybe getting to bed on time.

Sadness and Grief

This may register feelings of:

  • Loss - whether it’s a family member, a partner, a friend, a pet or maybe a part of yourself

  • Loneliness - perhaps you’re away from your family and/or friends or maybe you’re feeling far away from yourself and what brings you joy

  • Often times around the holidays, our hearts are open and the ache we feel for the world can feel like it’s multiplying; social injustices, people who are hurting and in need of help and support and love.

Ways to create relief:

  • Creating and prioritizing space to feel is a game changer, but can be hard to do when family or friends visit. Crying in shower and going on walks are go-to’s that can create a safe space of solitude to engage with emotions and allow them to move through.

  • Holidays can be really hard when we’ve lost someone. Hell, they’re hard the rest of the year, too. Honoring your loved one by telling stories about them or looking at their picture and talking with them is a great way to keep their spirit alive during the holidays (and always).

  • When it comes to parties, we may not always have the energy (physically or mentally) to be the life of the party. And that is a-okay! Having compassion for yourself if you’re not feeling like being an extrovert can help to relieve any feelings of loneliness or comparison. It also gives you an opportunity to really see and listen to others and practice integrity! Win-win in our book.

  • We always find that giving gratitude for what we have helps to soothe aches we experience. Keeping a gratitude journal is an option or even stating one thing you’re grateful before you go to sleep can help to relax and ground your body and mind.

  • When in doubt, give back. There’s no better way to shift a low-vibe energy to a high-vibe energy than giving back out of the goodness of your heart without expectation or pretense.

Shame

This may register feelings of:

  • Maybe you don’t have as much money as you’d like and during a holiday that can feel very money and material focused, this can leave us feeling less-than or possibly ashamed.

  • Maybe you make a lot of money and you feel judged or self-conscious.

  • Feeling spread thin and not being able to meet everyone’s needs, go to every party, etc.

  • During the holidays, we may be extra thoughtful, kind and giving and it may act as a reminder that we don’t make that a priority all year long.

Ways to create relief:

  • We’re here to tell you 1) the story we tell ourselves about self-worth being tied to how much we make is not true 2) you are not your money. 3) you are enough.

  • You have something better than money, you have heart and soul - put that to use and create gifts that make you happy. Your joy will be imbedded in every gift and that’s what people will feel.

  • Money is a GIFT and a beautiful one at that! Loving money is important and vital to happiness. Yes, money can’t buy literal happiness and having money doesn’t guarantee happiness, but it certainly helps. Don’t be ashamed to make money; receive and give, give and receive. Repeat.

  • Write a list of the things that you love about yourself and how you’re a good person. THAT’S what this holiday (and life) is about. Take it out and re-read when needed.

  • One of the best things about the holidays is getting to see our friends and family and celebrate at fun, groovy parties. It can feel hard when we can’t make every party or see every friend or family member we want because of how busy things get. In times like this, it helps to have integrity with saying yes and no. People pleasing will do more harm than good and saying yes to something you didn’t have time for only to cancel before you’re expected to show up can feel hurtful and disrespectful. Be honest and choose to accept that that’s enough.


Body Pain Points:

Indigestion:

This may register feelings of:

  • Bloating

  • Gas

  • Heartburn

Ways to create relief:

  • For bloating + gas: try adding ginger and magnesium to your diet (hello, chocolate cup!! (LINK))

  • Probiotics are your best friend. Take in a supplement form or add fermented foods to your diet like sauerkraut or kimchi.

  • Need some help digesting that heavy and delicious holiday food? Try adding lemon in warm water upon waking up. This also helps to flush out your liver and kidneys and alkalize the body.

  • Peppermint and fennel can also make your belly (and digestion) very happy.

  • For heartburn: make a cocktail of sparkling water, pieces of ginger and apple cider vinegar. Chamomile tea may also help and is great before bedtime.

Hangovers

This may register feelings of:

  • Headache

  • Indigestion

  • Fatigue

Ways to create relief:

  • WATER! Sparking, still, coconut — drink all the water you can.

  • Make sure to stock up on your magnesium, a micronutrient you lose from drinking. It may help relieve and prevent a gnarly headache. Take in supplement form or add cacao to your diet and epsom salts to your bath.

  • Beef up the protein (see what we did there?), Eggs, in particular, are great. The sulfur can help keep hangover symptoms at bay.

  • Ginger for stomach pains is always a great idea (and tastes yummy). We love Yogi Ginger Tea,

  • Cucumber, kale + lemon is the trifecta for alkalizing and detoxifying your body.

  • Detox Yogi Tea. Easy, simple and delicious.

Blood Sugar Imbalance

This may register feelings of:

  • Irritability

  • Dizziness

  • Increased hunger

  • Fatigue

Ways to create relief:

  • Make sure to eat! If you feel sick and can’t think about eating, make a smoothie and CHEW it! Chewing wakes up the enzymes in your saliva that tells your body it’s time to digest.

  • When reaching for carbs, be mindful about choosing simple carbs that will dissolve into sugar (sugar, flour, rice, white potatoes, bread). Instead, reach for complex carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes, beans and lentils, quinoa, etc). They break down slower keeping you fuller longer and don’t cause your blood sugar to spike.

  • Protein triggers hormonal responses that differ to those caused by carbohydrate; fats alter how quickly you feel full and how well your belly works ( 3 ) Therefore, a large dose of sugar, in the absence of other nutrients, is acting as a serious unnatural stimulant on your body. ( 3 )

Fatigue, Adrenal Fatigue + Stress

This may register feelings of:

  • Exhaustion

  • Depression

  • Rapid heartbeat brought on by anxiety

Ways to create relief:

  • Stress management is our best friend for adrenal fatigue! This may look like making a commitment to not overbook holiday parties/outings in general, making time for REST like holiday movie watching or getting that workout in.

  • Lots of caffeine and sugar overload can aid in your adrenals burning out. Opt for matcha, which gives you a calm focus and doesn’t harsh your adrenals.

  • Make a commitment to getting to bed early, especially if you’re up late the night before. (Playing Santa can be tiring!!)

  • With the holidays can come the mentality that we need to be “go-go-going” all the time. Setting aside time to simply “be” — nowhere to go, nothing to do — can be extremely revitalizing for body and soul.

  • 4-7-8- breathing - immediately activates the parasympathetic nervous system which can help you feel calm in an instant. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale for 8. Repeat for 2-3 minutes, or until your heart rate and stress levels start to fall. Click here for a more in depth video.

  • DO YOGA! Being bombarded with cravings for a quarter of the month is downright stressful. yoga helps improve stress by restoring the HPA axis. In fact, just eight weeks of regular yoga practice resulted in improved not only stress levels (decreased cortisol) but also working memory performance ( 10 )

Devon Loftus