Christmas Holidays are upon us, and what a fantastic time to enjoy sun, beach, family, opening presents and unplugging from the world. The lead up to Christmas can be stressful, but with some simple techniques, you can enjoy the season without worry.
So how do we maximise our summer holidays to allow the stresses of 2019 to fade away and refresh and feel amazing for 2020?
There are a few things to do that can help reset the mind and the body. The first one is to surround yourself with family and friends and spend time reconnecting with them. We co-exist with a lot of people around us, but Christmas is a great time to rejuvenate our relationships.
The modern world provides a lot of distractions and preparing for Christmas can be stressful. Take the time to relax, eat some nutritious food, put your feet up, drink some wine, and have a merry time.
That seems obvious, but sometimes the preparation for these significant events and making them a success separates us from just enjoying the moments and taking time to breathe and relax. Take this Christmas break to rebalance, enjoy life and not be in such a rush to get everything done.
Try adding a bit of yoga to your evening or morning routine over Christmas to alleviate stress and bring you to the present. I am not suggesting doing some full-blown practices, although this may appeal to you; I am suggesting just doing a little mindfulness and a few stretches to reconnect with your mind and your body in a relaxing and therapeutic way.
You can do this by doing a few Sun Salutation sequences in the morning or evening and then spend five minutes sitting in a comfortable position and focusing on your breathing. A simple breathing ratio to follow would be to breathe in, through the nose, for a count of four and then exhale, out the nose, for a count of six.
Set a timer, out of reach, and breathe and reconnect to yourself. Combining some simple yoga postures and some breath work is a great way to amplify your results and release tension and stress that may have built up over the year.
To enjoy your summer break and release stress, try adding a simple yoga practice to your favourite places. You could do yoga at your family's bach, the beach, or anywhere else that resonates with you. Again, you don't need to do a whole lot of practice, it's just bringing yoga and your favourite places together to amplify the benefits that mindfulness and yoga have.
Taking time to sit and hear the ocean, feel the warmth and sea breeze, and be in the moment can be fantastic for body and mind. There is a lot of family to see and things to do, but use this time to give you what you need: peace and tranquillity. We are spoiled with so many beautiful places in New Zealand; head out and explore!
We all look forward to summer and vacations and time spent living the great New Zealand life. Remember to take the time to do things for yourself, and through the entertaining and trips, reignite your passion and relationships.
Don't sweat the small stuff, whether the food is perfect, or the company is all there, remember what is truly important to you and then slow down. Add some yoga to the mix, just a few minutes a day, and rebalance yourself so that 2020 is the best year ever! Take care and Merry Christmas!
• Tim Seutter is a firefighter, yoga teacher and manager at The Loft Yoga and Pilates Studio, Whangārei.