Now that December's rolled around, I'm gift shopping, planning dinners with family and friends, and rejoicing in our baby, Kaden. The holidays really ramp up stress with all the extra work plus managing Chef V. Reducing stress can be challenging anytime, and during the holidays it is harder – and more important – than ever.
How do I keep my cool during the “season of cheer"? I treat myself – and you should treat yourself too, because it keeps you healthier, and that is super important right now.
Here’s how I keep my sh*! together….
To keep my stress levels down in this busy time, I’m focusing on the good things in my life: a beautiful baby, a thriving business, a handsome and devoted husband, a fit physique, cooking skills, the ability to turn any cocktail into a healthy mocktail, pickle ball(!) and, I have another love on the side–Coconut (my canine kid).
And we live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet: sunny, temperate San Diego, where I can go to the beach. Some people go their whole lifetime without ever seeing the ocean. But I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve taken an early-morning beach walk, watching the dolphins surf the waves (while sipping Green Drink, natch).
No matter what my stress level, I know I need three things to keep myself sane and centered. Meditation, yoga, and Green Drink.
Meditation, Yoga & Green Drink: The Holy Trinity of Stress Management
No matter what’s going in my life, three things are a constant every morning: meditation, yoga and Green Drink. Even now, when we are extra busy, you can follow my stress management steps.
As soon as I get up and take care of Kaden, I sit cross-legged and do some pranayama breathing. Pranayam is the foundation of any yoga practice. Even if I know that I’m going to have to face lots of frustration later in the day, these breathing exercises are so important. They’re like the equivalent of recharging your cell phone, only for your mind.
And no matter how exhausting the previous day was, I always find that practicing pranayama breathing is like a natural cup of coffee. Within a couple minutes, I notice a dramatic boost in my energy level, even if I didn’t sleep well. I feel the stress melting away. Even if my stress level will rise later in the day, this is the ultimate stress-management technique to do first thing in the morning.
There are a ton of YouTube videos you can follow along to. (Maybe I’ll create my own video after the new store is up and running on autopilot.)
Pranayama breathing warms your body and mind up for the asanas, (physical postures) of my yoga practice.
Despite 10-12 hour long days keeping the Chef V kitchen and delivery services running and lots of time with Kaden, I make sure I do a minimum of 10-15 minutes of yoga. It’s so easy to let stress get the best of you and say, “I’ve got no time today for yoga, I’ve got so much work to do….”
But I’m telling you the more stressful your day, the more you need to start your day off with yoga to manage your stress.
To those who know me, I might seem centered but without meditation and yoga, I might be a mess. And with the additional stress of a new baby, I’m keeping the time I spend on both.
Keeping Your (Third) Eye on the Prize
Speaking of meditation, I finish my yoga practice with 5-10 minutes of silent meditation. If you don’t think you can sit in silence for even a minute, no worries. There are free guided meditation apps you can follow along to.
While I meditate I try to think of nothing other than my breathing. Then, after that, I take a few minutes and visualize what I want to achieve for the day. I think it’s really important to keep your eye on the prize and not stress out on annoying impediments get in the way of achieving your goals. I’m trying to focus on the good things in my life and in the ways I can make the lives of my employees and customers better.
Immediately after I’m done with my yoga and meditation practice, I nourish my body and keep my immune system healthy with 16 oz of Green Drink. I need the extra boost of fresh Green Drink energy and health more than ever right now.
Treating Yourself When You’re Stressed Out
When you feel like crap, try to resist eating that pint of Ben ‘N’ Jerry’s, no matter how strong a temptation that Chunky Monkey is.
Going for sugar snacks is a misfiring of the reward mechanism of the brain. It’s no different than alcoholism.
Your brain tells you that you’ll feel better about things if you allow yourself to indulge by eating a bunch of ice cream.
But in the long run, you feel lousier. The sugar from the ice cream, along with the highly inflammatory dairy, causes foggy brain and sluggish energy. You might feel blissed-out eating the ice cream for maybe 10 minutes or so. But an hour later, you’re going to feel like you’re dragging. Try my healthier alternative, my vanilla “Milk” shake and indulge yourself without bloating and weight gain.
So what can you do when your back is to the wall and you just feel like curling up in a ball? And you can’t leave the house?
Make room for play time with your children.
Book yourself a do-it-yourself mani-pedi.
Treat yourself to that ten step facial you never had time for.
Go through all your old makeup, throw out the old stuff and organize the rest.
Try out the recipes on my blog.
Stretch – see how much you can increase your flexibility. It’s critical that when you’re feeling stressed out, you need to do things to revitalize your health.
We are Figuring this out Together
Holiday times are busy and stressful but you are not in this alone. You, my customers and friends, are a blessing in my life and I am so grateful to you. I thank you for your patronage and friendship. – Veronica