By Leigh Khoo
One of the best ways to create a balanced lifestyle is to live in harmony with nature. While we may not experience end year winters on our side of the globe, life’s slowing rhythms are ever present – office hours may shorten (officially, or unofficially!), some companies close for a week over the holidays, and there is a general desire to take some time alone to pause, reflect and review our intentions for the new year. Here are some of my favourite ways to slow down, nourish and heal at this time of year.
1. Make a cup of masala chai – the proper way. Fully focusing on an activity helps to calm the mind, and a cup of hot, spicy tea is perfect for gloomy mornings. In a saucepan or pot, add a cup of water, a teaspoon of loose black tea leaves and your choice of spices (I like combining a sliver of bruised fresh ginger, a stick of cinnamon and a few cloves). Bring it all to a gentle boil, and then add milk (or nut milk) and your preferred sweetener. Strain into a cup and sip, slowly.
2. Practise gratitude. The key to leading a happy life is to find contentment in what we already have. Find a quiet corner in your room, light a few candles if you’d like, then get comfy on a cushion. Set the timer for five to 10 minutes, and close your eyes. Bring to mind a person, a thing or an event that you are grateful for – remember it doesn’t have to be anything major, and can be as simple as having food on the table. Keep going, until the timer rings. Observe how full your heart now feels.
3. Take a yin class. Especially for flow junkies, a yin class forces us to slow down and really focus on feeling our body instead of moving on the every next pose. Not only is a yin practice incredibly soothing for the mind, it also does wonders for our body, stretching out our fascia and nourishing our meridians.
4. Take a spa day. Take the entire afternoon (or day!) off and book a complete pampering package at your favourite spa for a facial, scrub, massage – the whole works.
5. Go on a solo holiday without an itinerary – just book your flight and accommodation, and arrive with no expectations of what to see, eat and do. The time out in a foreign land is a great opportunity to reconnect and rediscover what you truly would want to do without a set plan and with nobody to answer to. You may be in for some amazing surprises.