Winter can be a beautiful time of year, but it can also be a time of increased stress, anxiety, tension and sleeplessness. With that in mind, experts at MyYogaTeacher have shared some practical self-care tips to help reduce worries and refresh the mind this time of year.
1. Yoga, Breathwork and Meditation
To achieve a more balanced and stress-free life, MyYogaTeacher instructor Shrutika Umarji advises sitting in silence and practicing meditation for two minutes each morning. "A slow, steady and consistent practice of yoga postures combined with breathing techniques will transform you physically and mentally, leading to much-needed peaceful thoughts and developing the habit of sitting in silence and meditation," she says.
The instructors also recommend learning pranayama, sama vritti and alternate nostril breathing exercises to naturally calm the body and mind.
2. Me Time
Instructor Pranjal Joshi advises that people carve out time for themselves every day. "Make sure you plan your days and stick to the plan as much as possible. Take some ‘me time.’ Go for a walk, meditate, take a yoga class, get a massage or even read a book in a quiet corner. Give yourself time—even 20 minutes is enough to help you de-stress."
3. Self-Massage and Aromatherapy
Self-massage is a great way to alleviate stress, and scalp massage is a great place to start. “Apply pressure with your fingertips in circles and across the head, sideways and front to back," advises instructor Rashika Khemani. "Also, a scalp massage increases the production of serotonin, a chemical and neurotransmitter in the body, responsible for regulating your mood and helps you get sound and healing sleep.”
Adding an aromatherapy element to such practices will provide even more relaxation benefits. Yin yoga healer, essential oil specialist and MyYogaTeacher instructor Annelise Piers suggests breathing in soothing essential oils, such as lavender, through the left nostril. "The hyperactivity in the right hemisphere of the brain is balanced by breathing in through the left nostril,” she says.
4. Ghee Massage
Home remedy expert Trupti Parikh recommends massaging ghee into the soles of the feet to promote quality sleep. “Applying ghee feet allows the vata (elements of ether and air) to settle, reducing gas and bloating. Feet are an important part of our body, as many nerves terminate there. Massaging the soles helps to strengthen these nerves, reduces acidity, improves sleep, fat loss, moods, and helps with skin’s elasticity," she says.
According to instructor Shikha Sood, dealing with all the demands of daily life is much easier when you have a sense of gratitude. She suggests listing three things to be grateful for each night before bed.