Who went and put the holidays smack dab in the middle of Vata Season?
This year, armed with my ever-growing knowledge of Ayurveda, I am facing the holidays with a new sense of understanding, freedom, peace, and CALM. Usually, as soon as Halloween is over, I’m filled with panic and dread.
The holidays seem to be all about staying organized, time management, scheduling, and upsetting your regular routine. Learning about Ayurveda finally made me understand why the holiday months have always derailed me.
All of those qualities that help to make this time enjoyable and minimally stressful are, unfortunately, not characteristics of vata dosha.
Vata-types often tend to be disorganized, creative, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants types, and extremely prone to depletion.
Of course, there are exceptions, and most of us have constitutions that are dual-doshic or tri-doshic. But for someone with a lot of Vata in their constitution, this time of year can seem impossible to endure. Vata-types can feel chaotic and unhinged even on days when there’s no holiday in sight.
So, how do pitta-types handle the holidays? Well, they are generally the most organized of the doshas. Although pitta-types can be overworked and overstressed (many Type A’s are pitta), and we live in a very vata-paced world, they at least have the skills to get through.
They might have their shopping done months ago, cookies are baked and in the freezer and the tree is bought and decorated.
They attack their to-do list with a vengeance.
And what about the beloved kapha-type? Well, they might not be as motivated as the pitta-type or disorganized as the vata-type, but what is most important to them is family.
So the holidays can either fill them with joy or depress them, depending on the state of affairs in their family. A kapha-type can easily slip into depression if they find themselves alone at the holidays.
If we can take a moment to understand each other better based on our constitutions, the holidays just might be a little less stressful and more enjoyable for all of us.
I admit that I feel a certain tenderness for my fellow vatas during the holiday months. Being creative types we find ourselves in a dilemma – we love the twinkling lights, the music, the sights and smells of the holidays – but we often lack the energy or skills to navigate them successfully.
Thanks to Ayurveda, once I recognized these differences for what they are (our constitutions never change) I was able to let go of unrealistic expectations I had put on myself. I now do just a fraction of what I used to.
I don’t bake cookies or send cards or even buy many gifts anymore. This seemed criminal at first when one by one I dropped these to-dos from my list. I’ll put some lights and ornaments on my nine-foot cactus and maybe go into the city to see the decorations.
I already feel myself slipping into hibernation in spite of the unseasonably warm weather. I love to burrow in, read and watch movies.
It’s no coincidence that this time of year is ripe with spiritual gifts. The veil between our world and the spiritual world is very thin now and it’s a time for deep meditation, reflection, and dreaming.
Vata-types are generally very spiritual. They often live more comfortably “in the clouds” rather than grounded in this world. This is even more pronounced during Vata Season.
Please nurture the vata-types in your life a little extra during the holidays. Cook for them, hug them, lighten their load, keep them warm and be understanding of their limitations during this challenging time.
If you have a kapha-type in your life, make an extra effort to spend family time with them and be vigilant for signs of depression.
And pitta-types, this quote is for you (vatas too!):
“The number one reason I hear each day that is causing too many of us stress is feeling like we have too much to do. In some cases, some of these things are necessary. In many cases, we take things on or convince ourselves the task is a must, when in truth no one will die if we don’t do it nor will you be liked any less. AND, as you let go of having to do it all, you create space for others to take on these tasks. Just remember, they may not do it exactly like you; that’s another topic for another day.” —Jennifer Bolus
Wishing you all a calm, stress-free and happy holiday season!
(Cover photo by Barbara Sinclair http://barbarasinclair.com/photography-art-gallery/)