Without a doubt, 2020 has had its ups and downs for the collective – from our local communities across Australia to our international communities including India, the home of ORGANIC INDIA. We’ve all been affected in some way, shape or form.
The team at ORGANIC INDIA Australia has put together a nourishing activity for each day during the advent period, encouraging you to pace yourself, and navigate the festive season joyfully and mindfully.
These 24 nourishing self-care tips and activities are our gifts to you, and your gifts to yourself. By filling your own cup, we hope you are able to give to others and have a little energy left to enjoy yourself this Christmas.
Wash your face as soon as you wake up
You might feel like slipping out of bed and heading straight to the coffee pot but make washing your face a priority. Hydrate and cleanse your face with cold water. A suggestion would be to splash your face seven times to remove excess pitta energy and to prepare yourself for the day ahead. If you are feeling super brave, you could try a whole cold shower to boost your feel-good endorphins and start the day with some extra vitality and optimism.
Then go and make some Tulsi tea.
Make a cleansing drink
Pop black tea and coffee on the back burner, even if it’s only for the first drink of the day. Hot water with a slice of fresh lemon helps to rebalance the PH levels in the body, supports immunity, promotes digestion and supposedly increases the metabolic rate.
A little thinking ahead will hold you in good stead. Think of whatever you can now, that you could prepare, or arrange, to make the coming days easier – is it writing a list, scheduling a realistic amount of time to complete it, or delegating a few tasks that would help reduce the rush and make the festive season better paced, with a spaciousness that allows you to savour the moment?
Go outdoors and sun gaze
Have you ever watched the sunrise to start your day? Sun gazing when the sun is at its softest light (either at sunrise or sunset) helps produce melatonin & serotonin and is said to improve energy levels. The safest time to sun gaze is within an hour of sunrise and/or sunset (it’s safer when the sun is closest to the earth).
Try: Taking your morning cup of Tulsi outside first thing on rising and sitting in nature – in the garden, park, or by the beach. Some of our team’s favourite morning blends are Turmeric Ginger, Lemon Ginger & Original. While enjoying your brew, take some nourishing breaths and set an intention for the day ahead.
Move your body
A 15-minute walk outside is enough to top up your Vitamin D levels and be restorative. If you can, surround yourself with fresh air and nature. Opt for forest, beach, bush or a park and as you walk, try to notice your surroundings. It can help to stop and take in your view for a few minutes, to listen to sounds (or the silence) and, of course, breathe deeply.
Try making Tulsi Green Tea Ashwagandha in a flask or keep cup and taking it with you on a nature walk.
Listen to your inner voice
Listening is a powerful healing tool, which is why we often go to great lengths to listen to others. How about listening to yourself? Our inner voice has a barometer that helps to balance and restore us.
Try: grab a notebook and a pen at your next tea break. Sit somewhere quiet by yourself with a nourishing mug of Tulsi and write whatever your inner voice wants to say without censorship or judgement. At the end of your tea break, you can keep or throw your inner ramblings. Notice how you feel after you have emptied those out.
Oil pulling (Gandusha or Kavala)
This Ayurvedic practice involves swishing a good quality oil around your mouth to extract toxins from your body and improve the health of your teeth and gums.
Try swishing 1 teaspoon of either extra virgin coconut, sesame or olive oil for at least five minutes a couple of times a week, extending the length of time as you get used to it. I like to do this first thing in the morning when the rest of my family is sleeping and there’s nobody I need to talk to!
To learn more about the benefits of oil pulling, click here. A special mention and thank you to Dylan Smith at vitalveda for this educational guide.
Swim. Swim. Swim
Such a gentle, effective form of exercise and stress-relief. Swimming is a great activity since it keeps your heart rate up while not being too strenuous on the joints. Who doesn’t feel good after swimming? If swimming isn’t for you, you might want to wade in the water.
Try: scheduling a swim outdoors if you can, in the ocean, river, lake or a local pool. Take Tulsi in your keep cup to enjoy afterwards.
The perfect festive season companion, Tulsi as a powerful adaptogen helps to affect a healthy response to stress and normalise cortisol levels.
Try: drinking three cups of Tulsi per day and notice how you feel. Here are a few ideas for getting three cups of Tulsi in daily; Tulsi Original first thing, Tulsi Masala Chai with breakfast, Tulsi Licorice Spice instead of snacking, Tulsi TUMMY paired with meals, Tulsi Sweet Rose cooled in the 3pm heat and Tulsi SLEEP as part of your sleep time routine.
Make one meal liquid
With so many festive treats around, it might be worth replacing a meal here and there with an easily digestible, nutritious smoothie. Have you made yourself a stress-relieving Tulsi smooth-tea? What about a moringa smoothie? Moringa is famed for its extensive nutritional profile which includes all essential amino acids, as well as so many vitamins and minerals which will help to counter some of the not-so-nutritious festive treats.
Sweat it out
You can multitask with this one – a visit to the sauna will help you to unwind and let some toxins out via your skin, leaving you with an enviable glow. Some of the benefits of a sauna include increased circulation, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and flushing toxins from the body.
Try going alone for some much needed me-time, or with a friend to make it a festive date. Drink heaps of water and Tulsi afterwards to continue the cleansing experience.
Dry body brushing (Garshana)
Perfect for sloughing away dead skin as well as boosting your body’s circulation, this Ayurvedic ritual involves regular dry skin brushing, which has a calming effect on the mind and some folk find the movements to be relaxing and therapeutic.
Try lightly brushing a dry loofah or brush from your extremities (feet & hands) towards your heart followed by either a sesame oil self-massage and then a bath or shower. Or simply dry brush before your shower.
Self-Oil Massage (Abhyanga)
A traditional Ayurvedic practice that has countless benefits including stress relief. Use slightly warmed cold-pressed black sesame oil (in winter), cold pressed coconut oil (in summer) or medicated abhyanga oil (all year round) in a BPA free bottle or dispenser and generously apply 3tbsp or more to the body. Massage into your skin via sweeping movements over limbs, circular ones over soles of feet and palms and gently glide around the tummy. Allow some soak-in time (about the time it takes to drink a warm mug of Tulsi tea) then carefully rinse off under a warm shower (not hot, as that will strip the body of oils) and delicately towel dry. You will feel wonderfully moisturised and blissfully stress-free. Be careful not to slip!
For a detailed guide, click here. A special mention and thank you to Dylan Smith at vitalveda for putting together this helpful infographic.
Take a restorative bath
Go on, you deserve it. Take the time to fill the tub and treat yourself to some magnesium salts or that luxurious bath soak that’s been sitting in the cupboard untouched. Schedule bath time if you need to – self-care is a necessity! Soak up some aromatic essential oils selected to suit your needs. Tulsi essential oil has a fragrance similar to cloves, and assists to restore balance to your nervous system.
Put your feet up
This simple and accessible self-care practice feels soooo good. Raising the legs to hip height or above alleviates any pressure in the legs and rests the heart.
Try popping a foot stool in front of your favourite lounge chair and sinking right into a 20min break with your favourite Tulsi blend and a book. For those feeling a little more adventurous, how about resting your legs up the wall yoga-style?
Try Yoga Nidra
Known as the ultimate in relaxation and as restorative as a long sleep, Yoga Nidra involves lying on your back in a comfortable position (possibly with head resting on a pillow or cushion). Close your eyes and become aware of any passing thoughts. Try to tune into your breath and focus on an intention for the session. Caution: Falling asleep!
Listen to Jivamukti Yoga Teacher, Sandy King’s, calming 15-minute yoga nidra audio. Thank you for this wonderful session. Sandy has a myriad of class recordings catering to all different levels – please kindly leave a donation or share the classes with others who may benefit from them.
The digital detox challenge
If you’re feeling a little time-pressed and wondering how on earth you will manage to carve out a little more spaciousness today, try turning off your phone. Turning off my what? I hear you – it might seem daunting at first. Think of a safe time to dabble with a digital detox – perhaps putting it away for a peaceful beep-free evening or leaving it off until after your morning walk and breakfast. Putting all technical wizardry away in a dedicated drawer and regularly having time without it is a very healthy habit to establish.
Your breath is an invitation into this moment. An accessible ‘go to’ stress reliever, some slow, deep and complete breaths can nourish the nervous system and calm or focus the mind.
Try being more aware of your breath today, taking natural, nourishing breaths and pausing in the small spaces between each in and out breath. Notice what happens to your heartbeat when you slow down your exhalation. Leave little notes around as reminders if you need to. If you’d like to try a meditation, download the Insight Timer app. They’ve got over 70,000 free meditations to choose from.
Strike a pose
Hatha Yoga postures, gentle or otherwise, can happen almost anywhere. We can breathe through tension and release stagnant energy with a few simple twists and bends. It doesn’t matter if you have ten minutes or twenty. If a spare moment arises in your day, try to insert a few nourishing asanas (postures) and breathe slowly as you do.
Your next tea break could be on your yoga mat! Make a cup of Tulsi and head for your mat. As your tea steeps, and as you sip, stretch out and breathe 🙂
Eat with awareness
It’s easy to get carried away, but rather than going for volume, try savouring every mouthful. Taking your time to really connect with the flavour of your festive meals might mean you end up eating half as much and enjoying it more. I recall a Buddhist saying “drink your food and chew your drink”. Try this at your next meal – and as often as you remember from now – from breakfast smoothies to weekend BBQs, this simple tip might be a digestive game changer for you.
Rest your digestive system
Have you tried intermittent fasting? Treat yourself tonight. Eat as early as you can close to sunset and take nothing again all evening aside from pure water and Tulsi tea. Allow 12 or 14 hours to pass before taking breakfast (16 if you are comfortable with it) and then break your fast with a nourishing smoothie. This is a daily reset your digestive and elimination organs will celebrate and you will notice more energy and vitality as a result.
Gratitude by candlelight
Lighting a couple of candles and turning off the lights instantly slows time and creates space for reflection, enabling us to connect with our own true meaning of Christmas.
Try making a cup of soothing Tulsi Honey Chamomile and sitting somewhere cosy by candlelight with a pen and some paper. Take a few minutes to simply gaze at the candle and follow your breath. When ready, write down everything that you feel grateful for.
We mentioned sun gazing on Day 4; now it’s time to look to our beautiful moon. Why? Aside from being simply magical, moon gazing can help to bring us into the present moment and simply be. And, bonus – womenfolk for centuries have used moon gazing to help regulate the female hormonal cycle.
Try taking Tulsi SLEEP outside and sitting comfortably under the moonlight. Just gaze at the moon and allow peace to wash over you. Make a wish for the festive season.
Take your inner child to bed
Parents of tired children know how valuable it is to tuck them in early for a good night’s sleep.
Try sending your inner child off to bed early as often as you can throughout the festive season. You will be ever so grateful tomorrow for this simple act of self-care. If you find it difficult to fall asleep, sip Tulsi SLEEP or Honey Chamomile and pick up a comforting book or favourite novel. You’ll be nodding off in no time.
Congratulations- you did your absolute best to nourish and take care of yourself whilst giving to others throughout the festive season. We send our warmest, Seasons Greetings to You, wishing you a mindful, joyful celebration. We hope some of these self-care practices will stay with you long after Christmas and into the New Year.
There they are, simple yet effective activities to help you stay grounded and at peace this season.
Sarada (Sally Martin) is a naturopath, herbalist, yoga teacher, mum, nature-lover and free spirit who lives by the forest and the beach, near Byron Bay.
Sarada works as Team Leader for ORGANIC INDIA AUS & NZ and is passionate about healthy, conscious living.