Top Five Tips for Navigating the Holidays By Randine Lewis, PhD

Tip #1 Minimize stressful interactions

Attend events that you find fun, and minimize stressful events that you should go to, but really don’t want to. Give yourself an out.

Tip #2 Follow the 80/20 Rule

If you are following the Spleen Qi friendly fertility diet, remember the 80/20 rule.  Stick to your healthy habits 80% of the time and allow yourself to indulge 20% of the time, especially during the holidays. If you attend a holiday gathering where alcohol is being served, take a couple of sips of champagne or eggnog so you don’t feel deprived.  Enjoy gluten and grain free sweets like this amazing flourless chocolate cake.

Tip #3 Remember to breathe

Try the microcosmic orbit* while you are in traffic. The microcosmic orbit is a Taoist breathing technique that develops the deep energy pathways of the body. In a sitting position, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your upper front teeth. As you breathe in, feel your breath sinking down the conception meridian, indicated by the blue arrow. Allow the breath to build in your lower abdomen as you gently squeeze the perineum and begin the exhalation, Exhale fully as your breath and awareness rise up the governing meridian, indicated by the red arrow, to the top of your head and back out your nose.This relaxing and stress reducing exercise takes the energy out of your head and into your core, allowing the hormones to circulate throughout the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.

Tip #4 Change your view of the holiday season …

While all of the frantic, stressful preparations are societal constructs, you do not have to participate in any of them. Any time you want to, you can step out of the stress and provide your own meaning to this holiday. Create your own intimate rituals with your partner. What type of new enjoyable traditions can you create at home? Decorate your home in non-traditional ways that are special only to you. Another way you might relate to the spirit of the season is to go within, find that which is most sacred, and allow it to be birthed into your experience. What are some treasures within that you already have? What is one gift or talent you have that would love to be expressed? Maybe it’s an art project, a terrarium or a dance. Maybe you have a journal or a book brewing inside. Maybe it’s giving yourself a healing retreat. Give birth to new ideas and new plans and let your creativity flow.

Tip #5  Stimulate Acupoint SI 19 – “Listening Palace”

There is an acupoint in front of your ear, SI 19, called Listening Palace.  In addition to improving auditory function, this point highlights the Small Intestine’s function of plunging the energies of the Heart into the gut. Stimulate this point by gently placing your index finger on SI 19, as shown on the diagram, if you feel overwhelmed by external sounds and listen within. The more you tune into the wisdom of the body, external voices (of the past, of others) fade. Your own inner voice becomes your most trusted guide. It always knows what to do and when to do it.