I’m very lucky in a sense that I have a pretty incredible family. Holidays don’t evoke an anxious-ridden emotion for any of us and it’s always pretty smooth when we’re all together. I know that’s not always the case, though. The upcoming holidays can induce a spectrum of emotions for an individual, especially if family gatherings are paired with drunk aunts or moody cousins. You may look at the holidays as a time of cheer. On the other hand, you may dread the winter months and end up stressed, depressed, or closed off entirely.
With retail and media shoving holiday cheer down our throats from October on – I’m looking at you, Michael’s – it’s only natural that we want to have a cinematic holiday. I mean, who doesn’t want to kiss someone under the mistletoe and drink drama-free Hot Toddy’s with all your loved ones while playing Catchphrase?
Maybe, just maybe, all your holiday woes can be cured by bringing your attention to your heart chakra. The heart chakra, located in the center of the chest, is associated with love, compassion, and happiness. It governs how we interact with other people, making this energy center incredibly important for holiday gatherings.
When your heart chakra is open, your ability to foster relationships and give and receive love is stronger. A blocked heart chakra can lead to developing feelings of unworthiness, reluctance to accept love from others, and an inability to forgive others.
If the winter months are a time of anxiety and being around family sounds like a chore, then perhaps your heart chakra is blocked. With the tips listed below, you will be well on your way to opening your heart chakra and becoming the saving grace at family holiday gatherings.
Get Woo-Woo With It
What’s been on earth for millions of years and tumbled all over? Rocks, of course, and if you pick the right one, you’re setting yourself up for an open heart just in time for the turkey to hit the table on Thanksgiving. Crystal healing is a powerful alternative medicine technique that uses stones as conduits for natural healing energy. Place a stone on your nightstand or in your purse to keep with you at all times. Whenever you hold your stone, envision loving thoughts and aspirations you want with your family and relationships.
My favorite stone associated with the heart chakra is Malachite (pictured above); but Emerald, Jade, and Dioptase are also powerful stones to awaken love and compassion while healing emotional distress.
I can’t think of a healthier way to completely check out from holiday madness than rolling out your mat and doing an hour of yoga. Practicing asana gives you an outlet to quiet the mind, focus on your breath, and leave the world behind. Plus, you have an excuse now to leave the house for a little while. It’s way better than grabbing a bottle of booze, in my opinion, and you get to sweat off that pumpkin pie!
Understanding how to use your breath is handy on and off the mat. If you get into a situation where your heart starts beating faster (Is the ham burning?!) you can engage your pranayama and calm yourself down. It’s like a little magic trick you have within your body.
Grab Pen and Paper
More often than not, the best way to approach your feelings is to grab a pen and paper and get it out. Write in all-caps, scribble with your angriest chicken scratch, do whatever you need to do to get those raw emotions out. Don’t try and come up with a recipe or script for how you should write either. Start writing and be honest with how you’re feeling. Swear at the piece of paper and tell it to go F*** itself, seriously, it feels good.
Once you’re done writing, take the piece of paper without reading it and BURN THAT SHIT. As you watch the paper go up in flames, imagine all those feelings going with it. The flames and ashes signify release and rebirth. Allow yourself to carry that release with you and leave that other crap behind.
While you can’t change your crazy relatives, you can change your approach and in doing so can make a world of a difference. Heal your heart chakra, allow love to flow effortlessly through your body, and get ready for some kick-ass meals made by ‘ma just in time for the holidays.