Its January again. A time of reflection and renewal. The adrenaline rush of the holidays are over and the festive decorations are put away, leaving our homes looking a little bare and our hearts a little empty. The transition from the end of the holiday season to the beginning of a new year can be just as stressful as the transition into December; aka Black Friday. Many people find solace in getting back into a regular routine, forging ahead and setting their intentions for the new year with resolutions. While this is certainly constructive we can also benefit from other, less talked about, centering practices to make the transition into January a little easier.
Grounding. Our body comes back into a state of balance more easily when its supercharged with electrons, which can be obtained in abundance in a surprisingly simple way: by walking barefoot on the earth. The bottoms of the feet have long been considered maps of the rest of the body, so by grounding through the feet, we are simultaneously allowing currents of rejuvenating charges to power our vital organs and synchronize the systems of the body. Electrons are also likened to antioxidants in their ability to reduce inflammation and stimulate red blood cell circulation. Your body produces and uses electrical energy all the time, but when it receives extra electrons from an outside source it is able to cleanse, repair, and return to its optimal state more efficiently.
Breathing. Once every few hours a notification goes off on my smart watch that simply says “Breathe.” Sounds simple enough, right? But how often do we actually practice intentional breathing? According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s sufficient evidence that intentional deep breathing can actually calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system, lowering blood pressure and providing an almost immediate sense of relaxation by reducing stress and improving your mood. That makes it an exceptional treatment for anxiety disorders and depression. The Box Breathing method is a simple way to incorporate intentional breathing into your daily routine:
-Slowly exhale through your mouth, getting all the oxygen out of your lungs. Focus on this intention and be conscious of what you’re doing.
-Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. Feel the air fill your lungs, one section at a time, until your lungs are completely full and the air moves into your abdomen.
-Hold your breath for another slow count of four.
-Exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of four, expelling the air from your lungs and abdomen. Be conscious of the feeling of the air leaving your lungs.
-Hold your breath for the same slow count of four before repeating this process.
It can also help treat insomnia by allowing you to calm your nervous system at night before bed. Try it for yourself tonight as you lay down to go to sleep.
Speaking of Sleep… We’ve all heard that we should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. And understanding why might make you want to skip the all night Netflix binge watching. Giving the body a chance to fully recharge, especially after a stressful period like the holiday season, is a vital, often neglected, component of every person's overall health and well-being. Proper amounts of sleep can do wonders for your mind and body by boosting your immune system, increasing your energy and enhancing your mood, improve memory, and help prevent weight gain. Have trouble falling or staying asleep? Try a short (30 minutes or less) Guided Meditation to help you fall into a deeper level of relaxation, or listen to Binaural Beats (a technique of combining two slightly different sound frequencies to create the perception of a single new frequency tone). You can do a search of either of these techniques online, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Ground, Breathe and Sleep to bring some high vibes into your daily routine. Add these simple techniques to your New Year’s Resolutions and you’ll soon discover why it isn’t necessary to have twinkling red and green lights strung up all year to brighten your mood.