Stress occurs every time you have to adapt to a new situation. Every time your environment—your physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual surroundings—changes, you must change along with it and develop a new equilibrium. Your resilience is your capacity to roll with the punches and snap back to normal, after even the lowest of blows.
All constitutional weaknesses are strongly influenced by time (seasons, time of day, stages of life). Vata-related problems, for example, are likely to worsen during any change of weather, since vata is aggravated by change. Whatever the variety and timing of your stress, your reaction to it is determined by your constitution, and depends on how your genes instruct you to react.
At the junction of the seasons, it is crucial to reduce the amount of stress you are experiencing. If you cannot find a way to alleviate stress, it is necessary to make efforts to ease its impact on you. You can do this by getting plenty of sleep, enjoying a proper diet, practicing a rejuvenating form of yoga, taking herbal formulas, making time for meditation, and by establishing a regular routine. Here are some simple steps:
- While it seems impossible to forget to breathe, many of us unintentionally hold our breath when we are stressed. So remember to take deep breaths throughout the day, especially when feeling overwhelmed. Inhale through your nose and allow the breath to go all the way to your belly before you exhale.
- Create a practical routine. Be sure to set appropriate and realistic times for meals, rest, and exercise so that you will actually stick to your routine.
- Do not rush through the activities of the day. Take your time and enjoy what you can.
- When under stress, choose light, well-cooked food, and warm liquids; be sure to eat slowly and consciously. Try to sit still while you are taking meals, and to do nothing but eat while you are eating. For optimal digestion, it is best to avoid talking on the phone, working, standing, and driving while you are eating.
- Never underestimate the power of daily self-massage (abhyanga). Take some time every day to treat yourself to a warm oil massage. It takes just minutes, but the stress-reducing benefits can last throughout the entire day. This is a tangible way to combat physical and mental stress.
- Make time to enjoy a warm bath with your favorite essential oil. Amber and tulsi are warming, which is good for vata, and their scents make them delightful additions to a bath.
- Do not skimp on sleep. During stressful times, our bodies need extra time to rest and renew. Getting adequate sleep can make you better equipped to deal with the demands of stressful times.
- Meditate. Spending just five minutes a day can bring a sense of calm and relaxation. So if you can, find time to sit quietly, ideally when you first wake up or just before bed. If this is unrealistic, perhaps you can take a short meditative walk, or simply close your office door and sit quietly for five minutes, undisturbed.