We are in rapidly shifting times, and becoming masters of change while staying fully embodied is a challenge for most of us. When we factor in the holiday season too, it can be an overwhelming landscape. I tend to make some universal recommendations this time of year, and you can incorporate these simple but very effective strategies into your day to day life. Making sure you eat as well as you can and get good rest are important strategies too.
Pay attention to your breath. Breathing is one of the most important ways to stay grounded, and is generally something we don't do enough of. Stand or sit quietly, allowing everything else that's going on to fall away for a few minutes. If you've got a lot of mental chatter going on, invite the chatter to go sit down with the promise that you'll be right back. As odd as this may sound, it generally works. Let your belly soften, and your mind quiet. Take deep, full breaths, in through your nose, out through your mouth. Do this at least 10 times. This breathing technique dials down stress response in the body. I like being in a quiet place, but it also works really well while driving -as long as your eyes are open!
Do a grounding meditation. Stand or sit with your feet planted side by side on the ground or the floor. If you live in a warm climate, take your shoes off. One of my favorite meditations is to imagine that roots of light are growing out of your root chakra (base of spine/perineum) and the soles of your feet and weaving deep into the earth. Feel the roots being welcomed and planted into the heart of our planet. This is also great for remembering and honoring our interconnectedness to all of life, something we all need to be aware of these days.
Take a salt bath. Dead Sea salt or epsom salt are both great for a steaming bath to draw out stress and negative energies. Add some essential oil to your tub: lavender is deeply relaxing and great for bedtime, while oils like spruce, cedar and eucalyptus have wonderful grounding properties for any time of day. If you're stressed and anxious, add a couple of cups of strong kava tea to the bath; just don't operate any machinery afterwards, as chances are you'll be ready for a deep snuggle on the couch when you emerge from the tub. Kava is a sedative and slightly euphoric plant, so use it carefully.
Shake it out. Taking a lesson from animals, who shiver and shake when they are frightened or stressed, we can too. Stand with soft knees hip distance apart and start gently bouncing with your feet well planted. Let your arms start to shake out rag-doll style, then let your shoulders follow. Allow your whole body to soften and shake like nobody's watching. Stay in one spot and do this for a few minutes, then stop and do 10 soft belly breaths. Put on a really happy song and dance to it, letting your body go wherever it wants to. I promise you'll feel better afterwards.
Clear Yourself: Sage, palo santo and copal are my preferred carriers; smudging yourself from head to toe, including the soles of your feet and "washing" your hands in the smoke gives you an instant clearing. Smoke sensitive? Add a few drops of essential oils to a spray bottle of water and spritz from head to toe.