How to harness the power of self care, and why it’s so important for everyone, but especially athletes.

As the holiday season is reaching its climax, it’s normal to feel our internal flames burning out. This time of year has long been synonymous with abundance of all varieties. There are parties upon parties, food galore, the pressure to clean and prep incessantly, and find the perfect gift for everyone on your list– it’s enough to drive even a zen master insane. All of this comes in addition to the many things we balance on a daily basis: work, family and friends, working out, eating right, getting enough sleep, and trying to stay hydrated.

It’s no wonder the only thing everyone is talking about by January sings songs of “detox” and “weight loss.” What if this holiday season we made a commitment to carve out some time for ourselves? The wellness world has made self care seem glamorous and unattainable. Many companies profit off of the distress of individuals looking for a way to escape the rat-race of a hectic lifestyle, which has become quite normalized.

Here’s is a list of simple ways to find your yin in a world full of yang this holiday season and into the new year.

No clawfoot tub and $400 amethyst required.

Think about nothing but your breath

Meditation can be intimidating, because let’s face it, attempting to think about nothing sounds really difficult. There is also a misconception that one must meditate for hours in order to be successful at the practice. That is simply not true, and in fact, research is beginning to show that continued practice is more beneficial than long, sporadic spurts. Give yourself just ten minutes with your headphones and focus on the sound and your breath. If a thought arises, simply imagine the thought in a boat in the middle of the ocean. As you exhale, you sail the boat off into the sunset. You’ll likely feel much better immediately. Try this 10 minute meditation.

Soak up some sun, or compromise

Speaking of sunset, it’s not often the sun graces our presence in an Oregon winter. If you’re lucky to catch a peek coming from behind a cloud, run outside and soak it up. Close your eyes and feel the light casting on your face. Breathe deeply. The sun provides our bodies with immune supporting and depression resisting Vitamin D. Many Americans, especially those of us in climates in the Pacific Northwest, may be deficient in Vitamin D (source). Check with your healthcare provider to see if Vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial for combating seasonal woes.

Mindfully snack

The holidays are filled with mindless snacking, which leads to weight gain and fatigue, but what about mindful snacking. Nutritious foods provide our body with the components to keep us running even during the busiest of seasons. It’s easy to graze the buffet at a Christmas party, or cling to coffee all Hannukah long. When you feel yourself running on empty, grab a piece of fruit or raw vegetables. Instead of munching on the go, carve out just five minutes to prep your food and eat slowly. Recognize the taste, smell, and any sounds apart of the experience.

Reach for water instead of wine

Dreaming of a “white wine Christmas?” You’re not alone! Save yourself the headache the next day by drinking a glass of room temperature (best for digestion) water between each alcoholic drink. Drinking alcohol isn’t your jam? Choose water over sweetened or processed beverages, and add a lemon for an alkalizing boost. Remember, if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

Give and receive: a massage

The ultimate way to care for yourself and remind those you love to care for themselves is through massage. Massage fulfils the need for human touch while lowering stress levels, relieving muscle tension, and clearing the mind of hustle and bustle. Now through December 31, 2018, Revive Massage Therapy and Sports Wellness is offering 20% off unlimited gift card purchases, good for personal use or as a gift. This year, treat yourself and give the gift everyone wants!