Things have been bustling in the Portland Apothecary studio for the past few weeks and showing no sign of slowing down. Yep, it's definitely that time of the year again. The winter holidays are upon us, and we know we're not the only ones feeling it. There's so much to love about this time of year- gathering cedar boughs, lighting candles, sharing warm meals with friends, practicing favorite traditions and making new ones. But this exciting, busy time of year can also quickly become too much, resulting in burnouts and meltdowns.
Like we've talked about before on the Journal, winter asks us to slow down and conserve our energy. If we do overextend ourselves, it's easier to wind up stressed or sick. And the thing about holidays is that while they do bring much-needed light and cheer this time of year, our culture tends to blow them up into high-pressure stress messes. Knowing that all of us could use a little extra self-care this time of year, we're put together a few ideas for you all:
Soaking in a long, hot bath is one of the best ways to help you warm up and wind down. Adding in something like our Mountain Salt Soak will help you relax any tightness in the body while also clearing your mind and lifting your spirits. The smell reminds us of breathing the air in the quiet, snowy mountains. (Your kidneys will be happy with more baths, too- they're the organ associated with this time of year in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and they love all things warm and watery.)
Drink warm, beautiful things.
Sitting down with a steaming cup of herbal tea is a great way to take a break each day and nourish yourself. It's even better if you can take the time to brew a loose leaf blend. This year we are loving Reflect- it really matches the energy of the season. Our Chai is another spicy, warming favorite. Both teas are full of adaptogenic herbs, which build your body's resiliency in the face of extra stress.
If you don't have any tea on hand, even starting the day off with a cup of hot water and lemon feels good on chilly mornings and gives you a boost of Vitamin C, while also helping your liver and lymph get moving.
Turmeric is a wonderful healing herb to incorporate this time of year when overindulgence is pretty common, leading to a lot of inflammation in the body. Plus, the color is so cheering on a grey day! It's great alongside nourishing fats and adaptogenic herbs, like in this Great Kosmic Kitchen recipe for Golden Milk. Heidi Swanson also has a lovely Turmeric Tea Recipe. We really enjoyed reading this post on productivity and there are some beautiful tea recipes there to get you inspired.
We love aromatherapy because it's a quick and easy way to shift your energy. That's why we keep our Ritual Misters close at hand- one by the door, one at the desk, one in the car. Anytime you feel yourself getting overwhelmed by stress, pause, mist and inhale. The Grounding Mister is a particularly good remedy for this time of year, with its to-do's and busy schedules. The scents of cedar and fir conjure up the image of an old forest, where the trees are tall and deeply-rooted and definitely not rushing anywhere.
It's also lovely to mist your sheets and pillow before climbing into bed at night. Our Sweetgrass Hydrosol has a softly soothing scent to relax you into sleep, plus it helps clear lingering negative energy from the day.
You might also consider keeping a Calm Aromatherapy Oil around, either in a pocket or a purse. Applying a little of this oil to the temples and wrists is a fast-acting way to soothe frayed nerves.
Be gentle with yourself.
There isn't a "right," "good," or "perfect" way to do the holidays. Remind yourself of this often. You don't have to do everything, nor can you! And you don't have to be the best gift giver or host the world has ever seen. Simply showing up and being present with the people you love is enough.