This is the time of year when I often see clients spiral down the rabbit hole, drop their daily habits, and land in a state of either despair or bizarre holiday mania.

(You know those wild-eyed women running through HomeGoods, gathering up every last beeswax candle? Yeah. You so don’t want to be that person.)

So let’s start OM-ing now as a preventative measure.

As the days get darker, we naturally turn inward and become more introspective.

Add to that the mild depression of less sunlight, throw in a pinch of holiday stress and, suddenly, this can become a pretty unsettled time of the year.

Instead of dreading the darker days to come, think of this window before Thanksgiving as a time to realign and get into solid daily habits that support you, body and soul.

Get these habits for the darkest days going now so that guests, travels, and cooking for twenty don’t throw you off!

#1 Carve Out Time for Yourself

It doesn’t take much. A 20-minute tech-free zone, where you don’t have to worry about anyone but yourself, is heaven. So on the way home from work or from the supermarket, stop at a park, turn off your phone, or go for a short walk.

(And let me know if you don’t feel better for it!)

#2 Remember to Breathe

First notice how often you hold your breath.

Yup, me too. It’s kind of shocking, all the breath-holding we do. You’d think we would have asphyxiated by now.

Okay, now for the remedy:

Actually make time to breathe.

Five minutes when you are lying in bed trying to convince yourself to wake up.

Another five minutes before you eat lunch.

(5 minutes is not that long, people! You can do this—it’s breathing, for heaven’s sake! It’s the first thing you did on the way in and the last thing you’ll do on the way out.)

#3 See the Sunrise

When you’re done lying in bed breathing, throw your coat over your jammies and go watch the sun rise.

A 7AM sunrise is one of the gifts of these longer nights—in the summer you can sleep ‘til seven or watch the sun come up. In the winter, you get to do both!

Andrew and I have gotten into the habit of standing in the street to watch the sun rise over the mountains (we have tall pines on the east side of our house, so there’s no view that way).

As the sun comes up, for just a few moments I feel myself as a part of the larger doings of this great big world and my own concerns get a little smaller.

#4 Check out Mama Moon

The moon reminds us of cycles.

The earth is on a cycle around the sun, too, but it’s a long haul around the galaxy. By the time we come back around, we lose the sense of cyclicality.

A moon cycle, however, is 28 days.

Every 28 days you get to start a new cycle: you get a do-over.

How cool is that?

#5 Don’t Forget the D

Scientists now tell us that D3 is a hormone, not a vitamin, and one in which we are almost all deficient. Because you get your D from the sun, the winter months mean diving D levels.

This is one to supplement; there are no herbs that are high in D.

I like a liquid D3 in an olive oil base so I can just mix it with my food.

#6 Sip Some Herbal Happiness

Sipping herbal teas in winter reminds me of summer, and gardens, and bumblebees.

Plus some herbs have chemical constituents that actually help the happy.


Lemon Balm, St. John’s Wort, Milky Oats, Hibiscus, and/or Linden.

I got a gorgeous white tea call Ya Bao and I am already planning my winter mix: Ya Bao, Linden, and Milky Oats. With a smidge of honey, I’ll be tasting sunlight all winter long!

And we all want that, right?

Now it’s your turn: share your habits for staying aligned through these longest nights!