How to stay healthy and whole in the Holiday Season!
Many of my patients struggle with the holidays—whether alone and feeling at a distance from the holiday intensity, or flooded by sometimes challenging family and friends. Here’s a simple guide to finding peace, calm and real joy in this season.
Home. Winter is an invitation to spend time resting and hibernating, like the bears and the trees. Being cozy and at home aligns with the feel of the season. Don’t schedule too many activities, parties or crunch work assignments. Respect your need to rest, nest and restore.
Outside. Keep in mind that the unrelenting darkness of mid-winter can be hard on our mood! When you can, bundle up and spend a little time outdoors—taking in natural sunlight, which boosts your mood and keeps the joy in the season.
Love. Winter is a natural cuddle time. And affection boosts our mood and calms our anxiety. Be choosy about who you are with—this is a good time for true friends, not interactions with acquaintances that don’t bring you joy. Invite your friends or loved ones over, or cuddle up with your dog or cat, and enjoy love and warmth the old-fashioned way. And remember that giving to others in need, in ways that you are uniquely qualified to give, will make you happier as well.
Intuition. Now’s the time to be bodywise, to listen to your inner voice about what will bring you real peace and happiness. Pause before attending another party or gathering. Or before inviting 20 guests for dinner. Or before finishing off the box of chocolates. Or before spending your whole weekend at the mall. If you listen inside yourself, and consider what your body is telling you, how might it affect your plans? And add to your peace of mind and body?
Dream. In the “let yourself sleep until you’re rested” sense. But also in the “what would you like to do with your 2018?” sense. This break in the work schedule is the perfect time to take a deep breath and consider how you’d like your next year to go. What did you love about your 2017? What would you like to change? Consider your life and imagine how you might get more of what you really need in the year ahead.
Avoid. Whatever doesn’t bring you joy. There is nothing required in the holiday season, no matter what your religion, your culture, or your mother might say. Do your best to avoid obligatory actions that keep you irritated and resentful. There are almost always alternatives to the things you hate: shopping (do it online, give money or gift cards, or give something homemade or a service you provide), holiday music (avoid stores or wear your ear pods, turn off the radio, make a request for other music at the dentist’s office), parties (don’t go, or go only for as long as you’re enjoying it). If this is the season of joy, you deserve to have some of it.
Yodeling. Yah, yodeling. If you love it. Or wrapping presents in fancy gift paper, if you love it. Or shop ‘til you drop, or listen to Christmas carols all of December, or throw a holiday party for 200 and fry 500 latkes, or set up an entire Christmas snowy town in miniature all over your living room, or put 5000 watts of lights and reindeer on your home. If it makes you happy and you enjoy it, go “Whole Holiday.” What the heck. Make this holiday your own and revel in the things that bring you joy in the Season of Light.
Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!