During the holidays it’s normal to go off track from your typical eating and movement habits.
You could find yourself eating more animal or dairy products than normal. Your food might be much saltier with someone else seasoning it. You may go nuts on the carbs and sugar when you typically keep them at bay.
Furthermore, it’s possible that you can’t get in your usual workout, contributing to your digestion slowing or stagnating.
Then, of course, comes the stress of being out of your routine, traveling, and confronting tense family dynamics that cause anxiety to spike.
Finally, it’s likely that you’re just eating more food than normal, so your gastrointestinal system is getting overloaded and a bit backed up.
All this is a recipe for slowed digestion, constipation and bloating.
To get your healthy digestion back and keep things moving, do these three practices regularly throughout your holidays.
3 Practices for Good Digestion
1. Belly Breathing
Digestion is a luxury of relaxation. When you are stressed and your nervous system switches into sympathetic arousal, your body will not use its precious energy to do something as mundane as digest food.
Instead, you will internally batten down the hatches and prepare for action. This means the gastrointestinal system doesn’t function much. Either your waste moves through it extra fast (ever heard the expression “lose your sh!t” regarding being scared?), or it slows to a halt.
To bring your body into a more relaxed state, so that you can properly digest, start with the simple practice of belly breathing. Breathing into your abdomen like this will shift you into the parasympathetic, “rest and digest” state.
- Sit in a comfortable position, or rest on your back.
- Place your hand on your belly.
- Breath slowly in and out of the nose, so your belly swells and sinks under your hand.
- Continue until you feel your body calm and relax into the ground (at least three minutes)
2. Abdominal Massage on Coregeous® Ball
There’s a good reason going #2 is called “having a movement.” Over the 24-72 hours after eating a meal, a series of muscular contractions squeeze food through your intestines.
Your small intestine is about 20 feet long and your large intestine is about five feet long. So a LOT of movement is necessary to get your stool out the other end!
Abdominal tension, overeating, and lack of physical movement (simple exercise) can slow this digestive movement. The following abdominal massage technique will generate movement throughout your belly, assisting the inner movement necessary for healthy elimination.
Also, abdominal massage is so soothing that it will help you move more deeply into a parasympathetic state that will also assist with digestion.
Follow along with this video of Jill Miller to learn how to do abdominal massage…
3. Squat Simulation
Squatting, lying on your back with your knees to your chest, or child’s pose, as pictured below, are all great simple shapes to relieve bloating and indigestion. The deep hip flexion is said to create internal “downward pressure” that gets things moving in the right direction.
Choose which variation your body is drawn to most, and take a minute or two to breathe deeply in it.
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