By Lucie Dickenson ~
‘Tis the season. It is the time of year that we lift our spirits and find joy in giving.
However, among all the outer excitement, in many, it is a time of stress and anxiety. Many wonder why such an amazing, family and loving time would bring on any evidence of worry and depression.
The truth is the reasons are many. However, at the core, self-care is the answer to freeing yourself from the symptoms that seem to creep in this time of year. We tend to let go of our routine and health plans at the holidays, when in fact, this is the time we need them the most.
When I coach clients, one of the first things we discuss is how to reduce stress, especially at the holidays. Below are the steps that I outline for my clients:
Let go of caffeine, sugar and alcohol. These items exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, if you cannot let go, at least reduce.
Exercise This is one of the greatest things you can do to quickly help yourself reduce symptoms.
Turn off negative news or programs. It is time to fill your brain with positive thoughts and ideas.
Sleep. A good night sleep can make all the difference. If you cannot get a full night, try for naps to bridge the gaps.
Eat well. Lots of veggies and fruit. Stay clear of any food that you may be sensitive to (and of course foods/drinks that are allergens). There is a very strong gut/brain connection and what you eat can contribute to anxiety symptoms. Some people may need to look at gluten/dairy as well. The holidays are a time that will test us with our eating.
Unplug and go into nature.
Gratitude Journal. Every day, write down what you are grateful for. You are training good thought patterns to begin, and letting go of negative thinking. Gratitude is an amazing healer.
Laugh. It’s no joke that it has been said that laughter is the best medicine.
Set healthy boundaries. Learn to say no to events you may not want to attend
Keep company with positive people. And if at the holidays you may find yourself with family or friends that may not be a positive, try to look for the good in that person and how you can interact on that level.
Above all, love yourself, accept it all and forgive. Know that this time of year may be full of giving and joy, but in no way can it be perfect. Neither can you. Be realistic. Find joy in the amazing moments, and learn to let go of that which brings you stress. Love it all, and know you are amazing no matter what.