The holidays are upon us—cue the annual family drama and overindulgence. I’ve been known to book a post-holiday cleanse as soon as I feel the first signs of autumn. I sat down with my favorite mindfulness teacher, Cynthia LaRoche, to discuss ways we can avoid the old pattern of holiday stress, carb-loading and the subsequent guilt-induced cleanse.
So, Cynthia, are there ways we can build up our emotional immunity to holiday stress? I’m asking for a friend.
Alignment is the theme of all my work lately. We get pulled by drama, external stimulus and other people’s emotions when we aren’t grounded in our own alignment or haven’t defined what it is we want to feel. Crazy Uncle Larry probably won’t ever change his politics and you may not be able to say no to a third helping of mom’s homemade mac and cheese, but you can change your relationship with these things. This begins by being clear on how you want to feel, then beginning practices that align with this.
You offer a Step Into Stillness retreat down in Mexico every October. Why is this an ideal time?
It’s the ultimate pre-holiday reset. It allows us to step away from our every day, to separate from our current condition, examine it, set new intentions for how we want to be, and then go back into the holidays and our lives with more clarity.
Are there other ways people can find stillness a little closer to home? Again, asking for a friend.
A regular yoga/meditation practice is an amazing way to keep your sanity. Groove Yoga offers a holiday special on class packages each year. I will also be offering two yoga nidra classes over the holidays. November will be a special intention-setting, healing session. December will be a “Holiday Relief” class with comedian Shanan Kelley. If the busyness of the season has you stretched thin, book a private yoga session to learn how to practice on your own.
When that annoying, overly opinionated uncle is sitting across the table, how do we not sling mashed potatoes in his face or tell him to shut his pie hole?
This is exactly what I meant by our alignment work. We have the ability to change our relationship with situations we don’t like. Here’s a practice I learned that really helps me in times like this: Before the family arrives, take a sheet of paper and write “If this situation were different I would feel…” and write how you would feel if the situation were more to your liking. Keep writing the words that come to mind until you begin to feel that way. It’s about taking your power back and not being so swayed by what is going on around you.
Even with all these tips, some of us will still fall off the mindfulness wagon and overindulge this holiday season. So how do we repent?
Falling off the wagon is always worse when it’s filled with guilt and regret. We’re human; ease up about this. Just get back on. Make a choice that moves you closer to alignment next time. Remember, you are in control of you.
Thank you, I will. I mean, my friend will.