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6 Tips for Finding Contentment amid the Christmas Chaos

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Christmas ChaosThis month Bliss Baby Yoga senior course facilitator, and busy mum-of-2, Mari Notaras, shares her tips on staying grounded through the busy festive season.

Whoa! Crazy time of year is upon us! Knowing that I was planning to write this article, I have been watching those around me (and myself) with a bemused curiosity, and observing the impact that this time of year has on us all
(Disclaimer – I DO live in Sydney!)

I am sure you can relate to this; this incessant need to get everything done before the end of the year! It makes everyone go at full speed, head first, towards Christmas.

Why does this happen? I have to admit, I am one of those people right now... My bathroom is currently getting renovated (included with a singing wanna-be 'Ed Sheeran' tiler); my daughter is leaving Year 6 and is wanting to attend all the “I’ll never be in primary school again” events possible; every conceivable Christmas party known to man is happening for both myself and my husband; the “we must catch up before the end of the year” conversation takes place daily; my house is a bomb; I still haven’t done my Christmas shopping – and -  what about the actual day…..!

Can you relate to this?

Deep breath in, long calm breath out… I am so grateful for having the gift of yoga in my life.

Wrapped up in the busyness of Christmas, it is more important than ever to find time for ourselves. Christmas Day is a time to fully embrace our family and friends, to be present in each other’s company and to treasure all the moments that we have together. Often, people bring this snowball effect of stress, tiredness, and general ‘over-doing it all’ to the Christmas ‘rest’ period and are completely wiped out.

From a yogic point of view, we can use this time of year to deeply reflect and re-assess how we are living our lives. What can you do to ‘amp’ up your self care practices during this overloaded period? How can you avoid burnout and exhaustion?

These are questions that I ask myself on a daily basis, and I have come up with six reminders that may help you take care of yourself a little better during this crazy busy time:

1. The Power of Pausing

Stop and be in the moment; recharge. Pausing allows us to make wiser choices in our lives.  Simply take a deep breath and observe your body. Is there tension that you can consciously release? Dropping deeper into our own being and creating the space to listen to what our inner voice is telling us, helps us to make better choices for those around as well as ourselves. Fundamentally, pausing also permits us to see the beauty in life. As a mother, reminding myself to pause (and not react) can allow me to really see and hear my children. Last night I paused and heard the most wonderful story through the eyes of my ten year old daughter; her joy, her expression, her understanding of the world around her – all of which made me smile.  These are moments that I treasure.

Yoga Nature2. Find somewhere special in nature

As simple as this sounds, connecting with nature can help you feel more balanced and in harmony.  Go for a walk and feel the breeze and the sun against your skin. Sit under a tree and feel the grass under your toes, hear the birds and the sounds of nature. Take a moment to recalibrate. Being a great lover of the ocean I find that a daily dose of seawater helps me feel alive, refreshed, grounded and in the moment. Spending time in nature is essential to our wellbeing.

3. The Art of Giving and Receiving

What does it even mean, to give, or to receive? At one level, it is an exchange of ‘things’.  For giving and receiving to mean something more, it is important to relate to this concept at a heart level. Giving and receiving is about the opportunity we have for a deep exchange with other people. These gifts aren’t a physical gift at all. It can be the gift of love for someone you love, or even a favor someone does for you for no apparent reason.  Simplicity.

4. The Season of Santosha

Santosha or ‘contentment’ is the second of the Niyamas of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. Santosha simply means accepting and appreciating what we have, what we are already, and moving forwards from there.  Mindfully choosing contentment can be very powerful at this time of year.

Examples of choosing contentment are when you are contemplating purchasing another Christmas stocking filler; take a very deep breath, and pause – ‘is this really needed?’ This serves as a good reminder not only to ourselves, but to our children in these days of over consumption and consumerism.

Cultivating gratitude for what you already have and contemplating what you actually do need can be applied to the traditional Christmas Day ‘over consumption mentality’ that many of us are guilty of.  Before eating, a simple acknowledgement of thanks and gratitude can change our mindset and help to avoid overeating and indulging on Christmas Day.  As often as you can, choose contentment especially when dealing with family members on Christmas day!

5. Drink Water

How you feel is strongly influenced by your hydration levels. This time of year can often involve the odd glass of champers or three, as we celebrate Christmas cheer with friends.   A good habit to get into is to drink one glass of alcohol and then one glass of water to help with the hydration levels the day after.  I find if I don't drink adequate amounts of water during the day I often feel more sluggish, irritable and lethargic in the afternoons. Drinking water on a daily basis is essential for our health, vitality, concentration and focus.

Restorative Yoga Bliss Baby Dec News6. Practice Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga, the crème de la crème of Self Care, allows the body to rest on a deep level. It involves being supported by props, in static positions, with absolutely no effort, and most importantly the mind is quietened. Just 20 minutes of this gorgeous practice can transform the way we approach this busy festive period.  It’s a practice that involves actually doing very little to receive endless benefits. It helps you rest from all of the stresses and strains of life by relaxing muscles, and most importantly allowing your nervous system to stop constantly reacting. Restorative Yoga therefore offers a panacea for those of us suffering burnout at year’s end topped with the frazzling effects of the Christmas chaos.

The good news is that we can change the way we approach our celebrations and make sure that we are taking care of our needs during this hectic time. Christmas is for giving.  

This year, give to yourself first in order to be emotionally and physically satisfied to give to others….

And Merry Christmas!

By Mari Notaras


Study Restorative Yoga with Bliss Baby Yoga:

•  Level 1 & Level 2 Restorative Yoga Teacher Training, Byron Bay, 31st March - 2nd April, 2017
(Early bird discount applies for bookings made before 17th February 2017)

•  Level 1 Restorative Yoga Teacher Training, Melbourne, 12th June, 2017 (Queen's Birthday holiday)

Study with Mari:

•  Postnatal & Mums n Bubs Yoga Teacher Training, Melbourne, 11th-13th March, 2017 (Labour Day weekend)  (Early bird discount applies for bookings made before 28th January 2017)

•  Prenatal Yoga teacher Training, Perth, 19th-21st May, 2017

•  Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training, Melbourne, 9th-11th June, 2017 (Queen's Birthday weekend)


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