How is it possible that the Christmas season is upon us once again? It seems that time is accelerating with each passing year leaving us feeling unprepared for its arrival. This appears to be a common feeling this year. I have heard an increase of unenthusiastic comments from many of my friends and clientsw who share the same resistance to engaging in the stressful demands that come along with the Christmas season. Even for those who proclaim that Christmas is their favorite time of year, it can be deeply stressful when attempting to create the perfect Christmas setting for their family. Regardless of how you feel about it, Christmas time can be physically, emotionally, and financially stressful on us all. Thus, more than any time of year, it is important to make good use of healthy coping methods and self-care strategies.
To help you survive the Christmas holiday season, here are my TOP 10 Suggestions:
- Rest, sleep, nap: Try to rest in between commitments and avoid late nights. Resting is vital to your mental and physical health. Being tired can lower your tolerance level and increase your chances of making mistakes. This can be extremely dangerous should you need to drive over the holiday.
- Drink alcohol in moderation: If you dip into a little holiday cheer, do so moderately. A tip I have used is to drink a glass of water between drinks or for those who want to pass on the alcohol or who are the designated driver, make a sexy non-alcoholic drink (mix your favorite juice with ginger ale, add some fruit like frozen raspberries, and a funky drinking straw and voila!).
- Eat in moderation: Given that gatherings over the Christmas season usually include food, food, and more food, and especially with fancy hard-to-resist desserts, it is easy to overeat. Tips that help are to drink lots of, you guessed it, water! Also, be choosy about what and how much you ingest, and try to include one of all the food groups. Remember that too much sugar will negatively affect your mood. Don’t forget to take your vitamin Bs, C, and D to counteract stress, elevate mood and help you fight those lingering seasonal germs!
- Take some quiet time: It is common this time of year to be affected by too much auditory stimulation, and especially so if you spend much time at the malls. Take time to contemplate about things that make you happy or take some time to meditate or, for those who pray, take some time alone in quiet prayer. Taking 15 minutes to connect with your Soul, Divine Source, or God can help you feel grounded and unruffled during this busy time.
- Exercise and play: Move your body as much as you can. Research shows that an increase in exercise lowers depression. Try to stay on your exercise schedule. But if you cannot find the time, just make an effort to be active, especially after a large holiday meal. Go for a short brisk walk to clear your mind and get some fresh air into your lungs. Be physical and playful!
- Give of yourself: If you are feeling down and want to bring your spirits back up in a hurry, all you have to do is to perform a loving act. Look around you and help someone who could use a hand. Helping another, just a simple loving gesture, can make you feel really good. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about, love!
- Make a list of the things you are grateful for: We often forget just how abundant our lives are. Make a list of the things you are grateful for and keep it near your beside. Read it before you go to bed at night and first thing when you rise in the morning. I guarantee that you will start to think and feel differently about yourself, others, and your environment. You will feel richer and deeply grateful for your life. Try it and see! Get the family involved!
- Tell your loved one how much you love and/or appreciate them: This is a sentimental time of year and the setting and context is perfect to express to your family members, and friends, and loved ones just how much you love them. You don’t need expensive gifts to tell them just how much you love them, just tell them. If you are not use to saying “I love you,” try it out. I challenge you! It actually feels great for both parties and it can be easier on the pocket book! If verbally expressing your love for others is too uncomfortable for you, start by signing off on your cards, notes, and gifts with things like, “love, your name” or for those closer to you, sign off with “I love you.” Your soul will thank you. Trust me!
- Celebrate those you miss: Losing a loved one, a family member, or a friend can be emotionally difficult this time of year. These persons are often missed more during this time of year, especially if the anniversary of their passing is dated near Christmas. To help you cope with your loss, I recommend that you include them in one of your Christmas rituals in a way that honours and celebrates their spirit as well as honouring your feelings of loss. For example, buy a tree ornament with them in mind and display this to celebrate the essence of their spirit and declare it. Doing this openly will help you move forward in your grieving process.
- Celebrate YOU! Last, but not least…Give yourself a pat on the back for all your great work you have done this year. Celebrate all the efforts you have put into helping others while doing your job. Remember to celebrate YOU during this holiday season. Treat yourself. Play, laugh, do something creative. It will help keep you balanced between giving and receiving on those overly demanding days. Christmas is about love and love starts from within. So celebrate YOU!
I wish you all a wonderful and healthy Christmas Season.