Life is hectic for many these days. Our nervous systems are taxed, both collectively and personally. Holidays can exacerbate this. Here a few simple tips for caring for your nervous system during the holidays.
Breathe slowly. Extend your exhale. You can do this anywhere and in any company. Simply slowing the breath calms the nervous system and helps to create parasympathetic dominance for relaxation.
Take breaks. If you find your self overwhelmed at gatherings, excuse yourself for a walk, or a nap, or even just a little time alone in the bathroom.
Check-in with yourself. Most of us are deeply programmed to think first about how we "should" act and what we "should" do. This subconscious conditioning causes us to abandon ourselves over and over again. See if you can keep with you, and act on, the thought, "How can I best care for myself right now?”
Do some breathwork or meditation. Even ten minutes of breathwork or meditation in the morning and before bed can be effective at reducing stress levels. THIS is my favorite guided meditation right now.
Take a cold shower! (Unless contraindicated) This activates the vagus nerve, again creating parasympathetic dominance.
Slow down. Walk slowly, talk slowly, breathe slowly, move slowly. It will change your nervous system, your brainwaves, and your subtle body resonance (your aura). It will make you feel happier and calmer, with the bonus benefit of doing the same for those around you.
Get present. Even a few seconds of being totally present can relax the whole nervous system. See if you can play with being completely aware of your sensory experience for a few moments, and then do that many times throughout the day.
Notice your body. Is there contraction? Consciously relax any holding or tightness. Take a deep breath into the belly and relax slowly. Tell yourself mentally, "I am safe. Everything is okay.”
Shake. If you feel a build-up of stress or overwhelm that you just can't seem to shake, then shake! Shake the whole body for 1-2 minutes vigorously. Breathe deeply while doing it.
Wash off. It's easy for people who are sensitive to absorb others' energy. If you feel overwhelmed and unable to settle after being with family/friends/groups, take a cold shower or at the least splash cold water over your face, neck, back of the neck, hands, inner elbow, armpit.
Go to bed early.
Block out the extra sound. Too much background noise can overwhelm the system, particularly if we are sensitive or have other things taking up internal space. I've never tried this, but these ear buds look kind-of amazing.
Listen to soothing music. You can try my sound medicine playlist HERE.
Permit yourself to say no. To anything. To everything. You have permission to be radical in your self-care.
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