How the Doshas Play a Role During the Holidays

December 2, 2014

It’s that time of year again and I am trying to keep the panic at bay. The holidays seem to be all about staying organized, time management, scheduling, and upsetting your regular routine. Finally, I understand why these holiday months have always derailed me – they went and put the holidays smack dab in the middle of Vata Season!

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.

The picture above was taken years ago of an Anthropologie store window at the holidays. While wildly inventive, it reminds me of the chaos that a Vata-type often feels inside.

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.

How the Doshas Play a Role During the Holidays

How do Pitta-types handle the holidays?

Well, they are generally the most organized of the doshas. I was lucky enough to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner by a predominantly Pitta-type. He ruled the kitchen and whipped out the meal seemingly with ease. And he still had a smile on his face when he was finished. Cleanup was a snap – he had containers filled for everyone to take home – and turkey soup was already simmering on the stove. I was in awe and oh-so-grateful that I wasn’t the one in the kitchen!

Although Pitta-types can be overworked and overstressed (many Type A’s are Pitta) 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 important to them the most is family. So the holidays can either elate them 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.

I wanted to write this article as much for myself and my loved ones as for all of you and yours. If we can understand each other better based on our constitutions, the holidays just might be a little less stressful and more enjoyable for all.

I admit that I feel a certain tenderness for my fellow Vata’s 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 will light up my beloved cactus again and adorn her with my mother’s precious ornaments and the handmade ones from my children when they were little. She traveled to Jersey City with me (the cactus) and seems to like her new home, as do I.

I will even go to a holiday party this weekend in my building. My new neighbors seem to be kindly and relentlessly nudging me out of my cocoon. I’ll travel uptown to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree and take pictures of the holiday windows.

And my Kapha-Pitta daughter, Amy, is coming to spend Christmas with me. She has thankfully considered these Ayurvedic principles and doesn’t think her mom is nuts (well, maybe just a little). Spoken like a true Kapha, she said “family is everything”. Her Pitta will keep me focused and on task and together we will have a tri-doshic holiday.

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 (Vata’s too!). It came in my inbox yesterday from my dear friend and fellow wellness warrior (her term).

“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.” – Jen Bolus

Wishing you all a calm, stress-free and happy holiday season!

Much love,

What I Use to Prep for How the Doshas Play a Role During the Holidays

  1. I am sitting here and laughing!!! This is so accurate! This was the best column ever!!

  2. I am sitting here and laughing!!! This is so accurate! This was the best column ever!!

  3. Barbara, So happy to hear your daughter is coming for Christmas. Love the tri-dosha holiday!

  4. Barbara, So happy to hear your daughter is coming for Christmas. Love the tri-dosha holiday!

  5. Hi Barbara, So glad that you and Amy are going to spend Christmas together. You can combine doshas and enjoy what the season brings – who knows, maybe Brian will bring his dosha along too:). xoxo Mary

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your next post thank you once again.

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