4 Useful Tips To Find Your Centre and Stay ThereBy Elizabeth Ewanchuk
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… families gathered to enjoy quiet time together, feasting on healthful foods and taking time to rest and replenish.” Sound like your holiday season? Nope, mine neither.
In an idyllic world, year-end celebrations would be this charming. For most of us though, the reality is quite different. In addition to hectic schedules, over-indulgence in food and drink, as well as the financial strain of the season, we’re greeted by another hobgoblin: the projects and deadlines at work that we sloughed off in December greet us with frightening urgency come January. Yikes!
Re-establishing centre needn’t be a complicated process, though. Here are a few suggestions that will have you feeling like yourself again.
1. SPEND TIME IN NATURE
Most of us know intrinsically that being in nature just makes us feel good. Now science explains why.
In 2013, the David Suzuki Foundation launched the 30×30 Nature Challenge. Participants committed to spending a minimum of 30 minutes in nature for 30 days. The list of benefits participants experienced is impressive:
- Greater sense of happiness, calmness and peacefulness
- Enhanced vitality and energy
- Decreased feelings of stress and negativity
- Fewer sleep disturbances
- Increased work productivity
Other studies highlight that connecting to nature enhances our neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life—as well as boosting immunity and lessening the likelihood of depression.
If you can’t manage 30 minutes, go for a 10-minute walk outside to reset your system. Housebound due to illness? Research shows that merely viewing scenes of the natural world can provide some of the same benefits.
Most importantly, unplug. Turn off your phone and don’t listen to music; let the sights, sounds and smells of nature serenade you.
2. PRACTICE LEGS UP THE WALL
One of the best stress antidotes is a restorative yoga pose called Legs Up the Wall. It affects the body in a number of ways:
- Calms the nervous system
- Eases insomnia
- Quiets the mind
- Aids digestion
- Revives tired legs
- Soothes adrenals and kidneys
- Regulates blood pressure
A variation of Legs Up the Wall is to add some height under your pelvis (such as a pillow or folded blanket) to provide a small backbend. If your hamstrings or calves are tight, scootch your buttocks away from the wall a few inches. It’s fine to leave a bend at your knees.
Enjoy this pose from 5 to 30 minutes.
3. EAT GROUNDING FOOD
Overindulging in alcohol, fats and sugars can leave us feeling both lethargic and ungrounded. To counteract this, look to simple, whole foods.
A hearty homemade soup with a light salad will fill you with yummy goodness without taxing the digestive system. Another delicious and easy option is roasted vegetables.
My go-to recipe combines whatever vegetables I have on hand—potatoes, beets, onions, yams, squash, whole cloves of garlic, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms and fresh rosemary. Toss in a bit of oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in a covered dish at 400 degrees F until tender.
An added bonus: these ingredients are easy on the wallet.
4. ENJOY AUTHENTIC CONNECTIONS
Sometimes the holiday celebrations mean spending time around people with whom you’d rather not. But I’ll bet there are others whose company you’d love to enjoy more than once a year.
Now that things have settled down a bit, follow up with these fine folks. Sharing an authentic connection with others facilitates feelings of groundedness. It also has a major influence on your overall wellbeing.
Make your plans simple and carefree. Grab a hot chocolate or go for a walk together. Don’t fuss about doing something novel or elaborate; the goal is to connect, so strip away as many distractions as possible (yes, that means turning off your phone).
You may not always be able to control the circumstances of your life, but you can choose how you’ll respond to them.
If you find that things have gone astray, take heart: coming back to find your centre isn’t that difficult and it can be a lot of fun.