The holidays are here and for many of us it is a time of celebration and stress. For example, the holidays bring up memories of my deceased parents who I miss dearly. They loved the holidays and provided me with my first tastes of Christmas magic. My mother lived a long, full life and passed away suddenly the week before Christmas.
Many share bittersweet experiences and stress at the holidays. Perhaps your family is still intact, but your relationship with them is less that you would like. At the holidays, we often nostalgically remember the good times in the past and regret the situation as it is today. For others, holidays remind us of economic uncertainties. Job security and unemployment are issues that haunt many. For those trying to lose weight or battling an addiction, the holidays can present an especially challenging time. For others, the winter climate in the Northeast can throw us off center. As the daylight hours shorten, seasonal affective disorder brings on moods of sadness.
A few tips to lighten the holidays
- First, take stock of the situation. What is in your control and what is not?
- If you get depressed in the cold cloudy days of winter, you can’t change the weather however you could buy a “light box”. Light therapy can help.
- If you’re concerned about your weight or addictions ramping up over the holidays, find a support group or friend with whom you can discuss your concerns.
- Enroll in a cooking class and learn how to make tasty healthy treats vs. high calorie low nutrient fare.
- As for the family, having realistic expectations of their behavior always helps to keep us grounded during reunions.
Most importantly, practice self-care. If possible, spend some time outdoors – in the sunlight would be ideal. Go for walks, exercise, meditate, eat nutrient dense food, and meet with people who bring joy to your life. Laughter is great medicine anytime of the year. And take a few conscious breaths when you are feeling overwhelmed. Finally, there is nothing more important for our health than regular periods of rest. Do not short change sleep in order to do more.
I teach a mental technique that will be help – Effortless Meditation™. Meditation practice will do wonders to ward off stress and lighten your spirits at any time of the year. It brings balance into your life.
Greg Schweitzer Director, Stress Reduction Resources Meditation teacher, Wellness coach, Speaker