Christmas is traditionally perceived as a holiday of good cheer
and togetherness with family and friends, the reality of the season
is less than bright for many.
in particular, financial struggles may be on the top of your list
of emotional and psychological stress factors.
This may be
the first time youve approached the holidays after receiving
a diagnosis of cancer, or some other serious illness. Or perhaps
this will be your first Christmas without a loved one you lost recently;
the feelings of sadness and loss paralyze you at times.
havent had any success in finding a new job since you were
let go, and you feel guilty and depressed that there wont
be many presents for your family under the tree this year, so much
of the spirit to celebrate eludes you.
With all these
potential pitfalls, what can you do to safeguard your emotional
and physical health this Christmas?
are no magic bullets, there are strategies you can employ to make
this holiday season the healthiest it can be.
And even if
youre not coping with emotional or financial stress, your
physical health can still take a tumble during this time of year.
vitamin D production, and the temptation to overindulge in sweets
can seriously weaken your immune system. Add to that a hectic schedule
of cooking, shopping, and entertaining, and you may well find your
stress levels spiraling out of control, making you vulnerable to
Tips to Lighten the Christmas Blues
therapists typically see a 15 percent increase in people seeking
help at this time, as Christmas can bring personal problems to the
foreground. Since Christmas stands for family togetherness more
so than any other holiday, it is the time of year when you may become
acutely aware of the void in your life, magnifying feelings of isolation
problem with using exercise in depression, however, is that the
desire to pursue any activity, let alone exercise, can be quite
low or nonexistent. However, please know that once you get over
your initial resistance, physical exercise stimulates endorphin
production, which helps to combat depression. So remind yourself
you WILL feel better once youre done.
energy psychology tool that can be used alone or in conjunction
with exercise is the Meridian
Tapping Technique (MTT). This simple technique can help you
successfully address underlying emotional triggers.
It is important
to remember though that it would not be wise to rely on treating
yourself for serious problems with MTT, as effective self-treatment
for serious problems is rarely effective. This is somewhat analogous
to a surgeon removing his own appendix. While it is technically
possible, it just simply isnt a good idea. In that case, youll
need to find
a skilled MTT practitioner to help guide you through the healing
your diet is clearly another important step, both to address the
emotional aspects of the blues, and keep your immune system going
Two of your
most important DOs include optimizing
your vitamin D levels and making sure youre getting enough
fats. The top two DONTs include gorging on high-sugar
foods and sweets, and succumbing to the lure of alcohol. Although
you may believe itll wipe away the bad feelings for a while,
alcohol is actually a depressant, which can make you feel even worse
than you did before.
How to Reduce
the Holiday Stress Factor
expectations are one aspect of the holiday season that can make
you wish it was over before it started. I think its important
to realize that most peoples holidays are not nearly as picture
perfect as you might think, or that TV commercials portray
them to be. Few are capable of pulling off the perfect fantasy,
no matter what time of year it is. So keep your expectations realistic,
based on the time you have available and your financial situation.
And dont compare yourself to anyone else.
during this time is another major source of stress for many. Vow
not to spend beyond your means. Set a holiday budget and stick to
it. Going into debt to buy gifts, decorations and lavish amounts
of food is the perfect recipe for a guilt-ridden, unhappy New Year.
My best recommendation is to indulge your creativity instead.
many ways to create a festive atmosphere without spending a fortune.
My suggestion to all of you is to share your favorite creative ideas
for fashioning gifts or decorations on a strict budget with other
readers in the Vital Votes section! It can be your gift to the larger
community of people you dont even know.
to reduce your stress is to make a concerted effort to realign the
focus of the holiday to reflect its spiritual message rather than
the commercial one. You may need to discuss how you and your family
will do this, as it can take many forms depending on your beliefs.
Here are a
few more tips that can help you keep your sense of balance when
stress threatens to take over the show:
on yourself, and give yourself permission to say No
It really is okay to take special time for yourself. If the holidays
have you feeling down for whatever reason, indulge in the things
that make you feel happy, whether theyre holiday related
people who make you feel better, and avoid people who add to your
stress or contribute to your depression.
a sense of control by scheduling no more than one or two manageable
goals per day, even if theyre as simple as writing a few
cards, or cleaning a small section of a room. The satisfaction
of completing these tasks can add to your sense of well-being,
and help you get everything done, over a longer period of time.
If a certain
tradition causes more stress and discomfort than joy, give yourself
permission to do things differently! Remind yourself that there
is no right or wrong way to celebrate Christmas. Ban the word
what you and your family want to do for the holidays instead of
what other families are doing.
of online shopping instead of rushing through malls.
thought of cooking Christmas dinner gives you a headache, arrange
to have friends and family over to help you cook ahead of time,
hold a potluck dinner, or make a reservation at a special restaurant
How to Get
Free Wi-Fi on Your Holiday Plane Travel in the U.S.
of the Holiday by Realizing What Youre Grateful For
can be a wonderful break in the daily routine that pervades the
rest of the year, or it can be the most stressful of times
its up to you. If you decide that this season is about celebrating
life and love, and keep that as your number one priority, theres
no telling what your holiday may end up looking like, but Im
willing to bet it will be very special.
of everyone here at Mercola.com,
we wish you a very Merry Christmas!