Wondering how to calm yourself down and destress when you start to feel a buildup of tension? Keep reading to discover 7 healing rituals, including a grounding meditation, to help you destress and stay calm whenever you feel overwhelmed or just in need of some peace and quiet.
by Stacy Mosel, LMSW
We all know that the holidays are supposed to be a festive time filled with joy and connection to loved ones, but the reality is, they can be one of the most stressful times of year. Most people don’t associate the word “calm” with “holidays”, but at The Root of It All, we know that you want to feel like your best self so that you can enjoy the magic of this special time with your friends and family.
That’s why we’re providing you with this list of seven healing rituals to help you stay grounded and peaceful throughout the entire season.
1. Practice a 5 Minute Grounding Meditation
You may wish to set a timer for 5 minutes for this grounding meditation. For an extra sense of relaxation and peace before you start, try including our SLOW: Relaxation tincture, a blend of Ayurvedic herbs like sweet fennel, basil and orange combined with CBD to help calm the mind and body. (You can learn more about CBD and meditation here!)
Here’s a sample grounding meditation you can try:
- Sit with a straight spine in a quiet place, either cross-legged on a meditation cushion or in a chair that can support your back.
- Rest your hands on your thighs, palms facing down with your index finger and thumb touching. This mudra cultivates a sense of grounding and peace.
- Close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, imagining that you’re drawing the energy of the earth up from the base of your spine all the way to the top of your head.
- Hold the breath for a count of 3, then slowly exhale out of your mouth and imagine drawing the energy back down to the base of your spine and releasing all of your stress down into the earth.
- Take three more breaths like this, then imagine that you’re sitting in front of a beautiful, snow-covered mountain.
- Start to imagine that you are the mountain and that you can draw upon its qualities of stillness, stability, and strength. Hold this image in your mind as you continue deep, slow breathing until the timer goes off.
2. Develop a Deep Breathing Ritual
If you’re not in a physical place where you can come into a meditative posture, practicing slow, deep mindful breathing is a good substitute. You can turn deep breathing into a daily ritual by making sure to set aside a few minutes to practice whenever you feel increasing stress and tension. It’s one of the best ways to reduce stress in the body and mind. While it’s ideal to practice in a seated position, it can also be done while standing, if required.
- Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. If possible, close your eyes for a moment and tune into your bodily sensations.
- Pay attention to how you are feeling right now, in this moment, and try not to focus on what might happen in the future or what’s happened in the past.
- Take one deep, slow breath through your nose and focus on filling your belly, then your chest with air.
- Next, exhale out of your nose and release the air first from your chest, then your belly.
- Notice how your hands rise on the inhalation and lower on the exhalation.
Practice this for several minutes, or until you feel calmer and more relaxed.
3. Plan an Aromatherapy Bath Ritual
A ritual bath isn’t just a way to get clean, it’s much more than that — it’s a time just for you so you can relax and connect to the present moment. Set aside at least 30 minutes when you’re not likely to be disturbed. Fill a warm bath and add 2 cups of epsom salt and up to 10 drops of a soothing essential oil, like lavender, ylang ylang or orange. Dim the lights, light a few candles and play some soothing music if you wish. As you ease into the bath, focus on how your body feels and visualize the water soaking up your stress and tension.
4. Take Time for a Self-Massage
Stress, especially the chronic type, can cause a build-up of tension in your muscles and lead to some annoying and persistent aches and discomfort. Self-massage is a beneficial way to soothe your muscles while taking the time to care for your mind and body, and it’s even more powerful if you combine it with a soothing, calming environment.
Put some of your favorite music on, light a candle, and make sure you have a pair of cozy pajamas or comfy clothes to snuggle into afterwards. We suggest using our Rewind Muscle Rub, a natural way to melt away tension through the power of CBD combined with black pepper, clove and turmeric. Taking just a few minutes each day to rub your aching muscles can help soothe your mind and calm your senses.
5. Have a Matcha Tea Ceremony for One
Matcha is traditionally known for its ability to ease tension and promote feelings of calm. The matcha tea ceremony has its roots in Zen Buddhism, when monks would mindfully prepare powdered matcha leaves in a bowl with a special whisk and focus just on the preparation of the tea and the creation of a peaceful environment.
But you don’t need to be a monk or live in a monastery to have your own tea ceremony; taking time out to lovingly prepare the tea for yourself and enjoying it while sitting on your meditation cushion (if you have one) can provide you with a quiet moment of contemplation. It’s handy if you have a matcha tea set, but you can also use a small standard whisk and a small bowl or mug.
How to make matcha:
- Sift the matcha first to remove lumps.
- Place ¼ teaspoon of matcha powder into your bowl (or cup) and whisk in 2 oz of boiling water until frothy.
- Then add another 4-6 oz of boiling water or steamed almond milk and whisk again.
- If you like, you can sweeten your tea with honey or your preferred sweetener, and enjoy.
6. Create a Journaling Ritual
Journaling is a helpful way to organize your thoughts and get your feelings out so that you can gain clarity and become more grounded.
Many people prefer keeping journals online nowadays, but writing by hand can help you connect more with your body by connecting your hand to pen to paper. Consider using some journaling prompts, such as “What do I need more of in my life right now?”, or “How can I bring inner peace to my daily life?” For more helpful prompts, see Margarita Tartakovsky’s post on PsychCentral.com.
7. Cultivate a Gratitude Ritual
When life gets stressful, we often can’t see the forest for the trees, which means that we get so caught up in “the small stuff” that we don’t see the big picture. Cultivating gratitude, whether through a gratitude journal or by practicing a guided gratitude meditation, is one way to obtain a better sense of perspective and be thankful for everything you already have. You can also start by making a list of 10 things you’re grateful for; it doesn’t matter if it’s something small, you can include anything you like, such as your bed, your family, a delicious meal or a good movie you watched with friends last night.
Some Parting Thoughts
Implementing calming rituals doesn’t have to be complicated or time-intensive; even the shortest and simplest ritual can make a big difference in the way you feel. The most important thing is to remember to take care of yourself and prioritize your needs, especially when you feel tense or overwhelmed.
Stacy Mosel, LMSW, is a health and wellness writer, as well as a licensed social worker, yoga enthusiast, certified Reiki practitioner and musician. She received a bachelor’s degree in music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1999, and a master’s of social work from New York University in 2002.