Yoga Studios and gyms see the same pattern every year: between Thanksgiving and New Years, attendance drops sharply, and then in January, classes brim over and business booms.
That means that many of us struggle to stay connected to our practice and wellness routines over the holidays. Me too. I totally get it. I travel, overeat, take on too many obligations, and can sometimes find myself and my practice lost in the shuffle.
But not always. Traveling and times when our routines are changed can also be great opportunities to infuse more self-care into our lives. Here are some of the things that have worked for me:
1. I use travel as an opportunity to explore new yoga studios and experience new teachers. I love to try out different classes when I travel. In towns large and small everywhere, local yoga teachers have been changing people’s lives in quiet and profound ways for decades. Go meet some of them! It might not be the master class of your dreams, but I guarantee you will get something out of it. Remember that you’re just there to practice.
2. I often use the interruption in my routine to add to or restart my morning practice. Waking up in strange beds with subpar coffee and no office to report to is an opportunity to do something different. Enjoy a five-minute meditation between your hotel coffee and your trip to the nearest café. Add in a little journaling time, perhaps. The routine is already different. Why not mix it up in a positive way?
3. I escape stressful situations by hitting the hotel gym, going for a walk, or practicing yoga. Even in the best of times, the obligations of being with family can become overwhelming. Pay close attention! If you’re like me, there is a window between feeling the strain and snapping that can work as an alarm bell. Grab your ear buds and find a treadmill if the weather is bad or take it outside if it’s not. I’m not usually a treadmill walker, but many times a quiet hotel gym has been just the respite I need. At least in my family, it’s unlikely anyone will join me, so I'm able to get some endorphins going while I recharge my introvert batteries. Everyone is happier in the end.
4. It’s easy for me to focus on the lifelong annoyances of my family, and when I do, I miss their kindness, their love, and their endless efforts to be good, decent people. I don’t need to judge those efforts, even if they’re not what I would choose. Change the focus and look for what you love in the people you are with.
5. If that’s not true that your family is generally trying to be kind, or if being with them is problematic for any reason, feel no guilt about making alternate arrangements. One Christmas I went to the Bahamas for a spiritual retreat Christmas week. It was exactly what I needed, a 100% self-care vacation. Above all, in ways big and small, take care of yourself first, whatever that means for you. In the end, everyone benefits.
6. Finally, know that is extremely unlikely that your health will be destroyed by one overindulgent holiday, so ditch the guilt. Have fun, enjoy the ones you love, and we’ll see you on the mat soon!
Join our holiday challenge! Post a picture of what your practice looks like on Facebook and Instagram, tag squareoneyoga, and for each post, we’ll add your name to a raffle to win yoga and gear in the New Year. It’s a great way to stay connected with your Square One community and share what you love with others.