By Lauren Imparato, I.AM.YOU Yoga
Christmas comes at the same time every year. At least that’s what my mom says. Oddly, the majority of society gets so stressed out around the holidays that they often forget to enjoy this time of year, and even worse, inadvertently stress the rest of us out more. It’s epic Mental STD time, as I call it in my upcoming book, RETOX.
What people do not realize, though, is that the majority of this stress and anxiety, the core of #RETOX ‘Stressfully Transmitted Diseases,’ is not coming from the holidays themselves — those are just cheery. It is actually coming from… your phone.
Yes my fellow holiday elves, your phone is probably stressing you out more than you realize. I know you think that shopping on it is making your life easier, and instagramming all the cute mittens and candy canes means you are connecting with your friends and family, but that gadget in your hands is actually the Grinch that stole your Christmas.
First of all, while your face is down on the screen you are missing the celebrations of life actually going on around you. Who cares what @sexyfitness1etc had for lunch, or how she looks in her too tight cocktail dress? What matters is what is happening right in front of you, and I bet that is pretty, and good.
Second of all, and please don’t ever tell the big box retailers I said this, but the holidays have nothing to actually do with the material gift; they instead have everything to do with the people you want to give the gift to.
Third, what makes the holidays amazing are all the gatherings of people you love, physically in one place. If you keep your face on social media, sure, you are connecting with your virtual friends, but you can do that all year long. You don’t get more than one chance a year to wear your ugly Christmas sweater and hear about people’s lives and feel their smiles when you walk into the room.
Fourth, you actually do not own the experience you are having on your phone. They do. And by they, I mean the litany of digital marketing agencies and companies plummeting you with advertisements, edited social media feeds, and data that you do not actually need, let alone want. They are telling you what to look at, and from there, how to feel. I am willing to bet that as studies tell us, you never feel quite jolly after a peruse on your cell…
So what’s the RETOX solution?
1. Limit your social media time to two checks max a day.
Twice a day is plenty to catch anything important, and ABOVE ALL do not check your phone while at a dinner or cocktail party, or while walking down a beautiful street of lights.
2. Consider NOT taking that picture.
The brain actually remembers things better when you do not take a picture of it — probably why the elderly can tall you detail-packed stories but you can’t remember what you had for lunch yesterday. Take the majority of photos with your mind, not your phone, this holiday season.
3. With all this time not staring at a screen, look up at the sky or the pretty lights and let your mind wander.
You will probably come up with the one perfect gift for that person you love, something with true meaning and emotional value. Shucks, you may even make it with your own two hands as opposed to clicking for it with your thumbs.
4. Say thank you.
Once a day, say thank you to this world that is so beautiful, to your family members that are probably stressing you out but actually just love you, to your colleagues who create the team that supports your work. One simple thank you a day, in your mind or out loud, will serve as an anecdote to grinchness.
5. Enjoy it!
Christmas does only come once a year, and it is a great time. Eat, drink, dance, go out and HAVE FUN. Without the guilt or whining. You will feel refreshed come January if you let yourself relish in everything the holidays, the real 3-dimensional holidays, have to offer!
Named one of the 100 Women in Wellness, Lauren Imparato resigned her job as a VP on the Wall Street Trading floors in 2009 to launch I.AM.YOU, a wellness lifestyle company based on Yoga, Nourishment, and Music. In NYC and across the globe she is renowned for her athletic yoga classes, and straight up, real approach to wellness, nourishment, yoga, and life. Lauren’s yoga classes are known for their attention to anatomy, sweat, and tradition within the chaotic modern lives we lead, and are always paired with I.AM.YOU famed MusicMixes, with music ranging from rock to salsa, jazz, hip hop and more.
She has been featured in Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, NY Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, The Financial Times, Bloomberg News, CNN and countless others — and writes for MindBodyGreen, PositiveMed, and her own blog. Lauren has led I.AM.YOU classes for up to 3,000 people in Spain, Cannes Film Festival, Ibiza Opening Weekend, and most recently, all of Times Square. She graduated from Princeton University, with her first book, RETOX, due out with Penguin February 2, 2016.
Find Lauren's book, RETOX, at www.retoxbook.com