It’s that time of year when we should be counting our blessings. However, sadly, Thanksgiving can often be a time of stress and anxiety too; especially when coping with symptoms of peri/menopause such as hot flashes, anxiety, sleepless nights and aching joints.
From family tensions, long distance travel, and pressure to perform in the kitchen; to calorie overload, and Black Friday mania; there are endless triggers to dampen our spirits. To keep your anxiety in check and cultivate an air of gratitude, here are three simple self-care techniques to help keep you calm and connected to the joy of Thanksgiving.
Simply Breathe: Meditating and focusing on your breath works wonders for your mind and body – even if it’s just for five minutes. By lengthening your exhalations in contrast to your inhalations, you will be able to slow down your heart rate and blood pressure and induce feelings of calm.
As you exhale, visualize the tension and frustration leaving your body and melting away, and as you inhale, bring to mind something that you are grateful for. Keep repeating this and when other thoughts enter your mind, gently acknowledge them and let them go.
Allow yourself to become absorbed in this moment, not re-living the past or predicting the future. Simply breathe.
Stretch and Restore: Whilst that extra portion of pumpkin pie may seem like a good idea at the time, overeating at Thanksgiving can take its toll. Not only do the calories mount, too much rich food can leave us feeling sluggish and tired.
So, why not burn off the excess calories and roll out your yoga mat for a short practice? If you can’t get to a yoga class, follow a DVD, or even get creative on your own. Be sure to warm up your body first and then slide gently into a sequence of poses; savoring the release of any tension and tightness.Then, enjoy a full five minutes relaxing in Savasana before you rise feeling restored and renewed.
If there's simply no time to roll out your mat, here's a few poses you can try in between festivities:
- stand away from the kitchen worktop and then holding on to the surface, give your spine a good stretch to help remove tension
- keep balancing on one leg in the kitchen whilst you're overseeing dinner to reset your balance and restore equilibrium
- if you get 5 minutes, go lie on your bed whilst swinging your legs up against the headboard to calm your mind and revive your energy levels
- stand with your feet apart and fold forwards to let your head drop whilst holding onto your elbows - stay here for a few seconds to help calm your mind give your hormones a boost and imagine stress and negativity rolling off your spine
Record your gratitude: If you don’t already record your daily gratitude, let Thanksgiving be the start. Daily journaling and taking the time to be thankful is proven to be keep us feeling positive with enhanced self-esteem. It also helps reduce stress and generally makes us feel happier. And, it really couldn’t be easier.
When you wake up, write down all the things that you are grateful for. It can be as long or as short as you like. Likewise, in the evening, count your blessings for the day. Before you know it, it will soon become a firm habit and will leave you with a source of inspirational material to look back on any time you need a pick-me-up.
So, why not try one or all of these simple techniques? Not only will you enjoy a Thanksgiving to remember, you will form new habits and intentions for a lifetime. Happy Thanksgiving!
If you are going through menopause and would like to know how yoga can help, click here to obtain a copy of my FREE e-book . This demonstrates a selection of yummy Restorative yoga poses that bring relief to menopausal symptoms including anxiety, overwhelm, brain fog, fatigue and stress.
You can also join our Facebook group Yoga for Peri/Menopause and enjoy free tips, advice, yoga sequences, classes and meet other like-minded women who are undergoing the same challenges.