It’s usually around this time of year that we look up from our spiral-bound planners and realize — gasp — it’s already here.
We brace ourselves for another holiday season and the foreseeable chaos that follows. Wellness routines are put on hold to accommodate shorter days followed by longer to-do lists. Ubiquitous seasonal obligations and events deplete our downtime, while offering social niceties and sugar-laden fare in exchange.
All in all, sanity is swapped for pandemonium as we push toward the finish line of the calendar year. By the time January rolls around, we need resolutions; we have veered so far off our internal compass that we conceive vows purely to make it back to true north.
While we busy ourselves looking for giftwrap and last minute ingredients, Mother Nature coolly juxtaposes our self-inflicted disarray. Flora retreats gracefully into dormancy where roots are quietly rekindled and stems strengthened. Animals hibernate, turning inward amidst the weight of snow and sleet. Each preparation is a necessary stepping-stone; a loudly abundant spring bloom is lingering just around the corner.
If we choose, we can learn from the wild things that surround us, to take time to heal, reset and reinforce during this wintry season. And rather than doing so alone, we can opt to share our nourishing endeavors with those we love. The best gift received may be as simple as space to retreat and unwind.
So as we gather our girlfriends for our next night in — traditionally lounging, vegging and catching up — consider the following tips to give this evening a necessary wellness upgrade during this unruly, yet undoubtedly sacred, time of year:
Call your tribe.
Let them know you need a night in… with their company. Give them a heads up on the evening’s itinerary so they can come prepared to unwind without expectation, rather than having to rise to (yet another) social occasion.
Create the space.
Form a tranquil environment by utilizing any combination of the following: candles, incense, moody lighting, mellow tunes and relaxing aromatherapy (in this instance, lavender, frankincense, chamomile and ylang ylang essential oils are all advantageous, just make sure none of your guests have any sensitivities).
Hire an expert to help your girl gang unwind.
Whether you choose to bring in a mobile esthetician for some much-needed pampering, a masseuse who specializes in chair massages and can aptly rub out those holiday knots or a yoga instructor to lead you through a tension-reducing restorative class, start off the evening with an offering to welcome the entire group into a serene state.
The best gift received may be as simple as space to retreat and unwind.
Serve homemade elixirs.
Break out relaxing herbal teas or probiotic rich kombucha. Better yet, try your hand at making a batch of Golden Milk, which includes a nourishing combination of sweetness, spices and anti-inflammatory turmeric. If your friends have been lamenting their once-on-point cooking regimes, give everyone’s recipe repertoire a facelift and let them jump in the kitchen with you.
You do not have to be a skilled home chef to add value to your friends’ cooking tactics. Something as simple as straining almond milk from saturated pulp offers a messy and simplistic joy. Not to mention, it allows for a tactile connection to self-nourishment.
Up your mind/body/beauty skills.
If cooking isn’t your thing, try your hand at a wellness-based crafting project. Most of us have a Pinterest board brimming with homemade bath bombs, Epsom salt soaks, moisturizing creams or the like. To keep hosting costs in check, give your gals a grocery list, including optional dried herbs and healing aromatics.
Just like cooking from scratch, there is something sacred about creating a tangible bath or beauty tonic. Depending on our intention when crafting the potion, we can choose to nourish our soul to the same extent as our body; pure ingredients and an unhampered mind equals wholesome simplicity.
Create a wellness regimen.
Help facilitate a valuable, yet straightforward journaling exercise. The goal is for each person to leave with an actionable list of intentions to help them stay balanced and poised throughout the holiday season. First off, ask them to consider things such as sleep, alone time and physical and soulful nourishment.
Then, answer the following questions:
How do you currently feel about your wellness regimen?
Do you feel balanced, relaxed, energized, nourished, focused, and rested?
What worked this past year? What didn’t work?
What are your “non-negotiables” as you move into the holiday season and New Year?
(I.e. what are you not willing to compromise so you can function as a sane and happy human/wife/friend/mother/CEO, etc.?)
If you feel inspired, rework these questions so they are applicable to your guests.
Next, ask those around you to list a revamped regime, holistic intentions or an all-inclusive mantra to help keep each person’s wellness compass intact. Turn on soft tunes and allow time to reflect and catalog. To close the evening, invite your guests to share. With our closest friends surrounding us, we have the perfect community present to express any emerging vulnerabilities when it comes to self-nourishment.
Out of a deep love and respect for one another, we need to hold each other accountable to live our best lives. Individually, this means nurturing our tired bodies, our famished minds and polishing our resilient souls. Together, this means diving in, generously offering and openly receiving support.
As we walk into the New Year, let us put our best feet forward — arms linked, side-by-side, with wholehearted smiles in-tow.
Could you use a night like this? Which of these ideas would be most helpful for you?
Images via Liz Wang