The holidays are here. Along with it being a time of love and joy, it can also be a time of stress and anxiety for many and, for some, depression. I will be sharing valuable holistic stress solutions so you can: maintain your health and eliminate the guilt; stay emotionally balanced and mentally clear; and create resilience and rise above the challenges.
- Citrus to the rescue. Researchers studying depression found that orange and lemon smells boosts wellbeing. They alleviate anxiety and stress by increasing norepinephrine, which affects mood. Orange also alleviates anger and depression. Lemon calms helping to alleviate nervousness and mental fatigue. Spread these aromas around your home with potpourri or candles.
- Eat Nuts and Seeds. Walnuts and flax seeds are rich with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Research from the Nurses’ Health Study revealed that women who had the most ALA in their diets were less prone to depression. Studies show that low ALA levels decreases levels of the dopamine, a brain chemical, a neurotransmitter responsible for positive emotions, and feelings of pleasure and joy.
- Locate Hoku (Refrain if you are pregnant for it can induce labor). The fleshy place between your index finger and thumb is called the hoku spot in traditional Chinese medicine. Apply firm pressure with your other thumb on this LI4 acupressure point for 30 seconds to help reduce stress and tension in the upper body. So if you start to feel overwhelmed by the holiday chaos, squeeze this point and take a deep breathe.
- Eat, sleep and meditate schedule. Have a routine and pace yourself. Eat one goody a day. Do not deprive yourself then pig out at a party. Before I eat a goodie and say to myself, “Everything I eat turns to health and beauty.” Also, high protein snacks will help keep your energy level up.
- Buying gifts. This is not only a tip at holiday time. Gift giving can be challenging as you look for that perfect something. Instead of material gifts with loved ones, gifts that involve you and the other person are especially meaningful. You also have something to look forward to with the other person. Tickets to a show, going out for dinner or a taking a trip together are some suggestions.
- Right to say NO. Know when to say no. No, you don’t have to go over to Aunt Matilda’s for dinner that usually ends up with her drinking too much, getting loud and verbally abusive. Honor your time and energy.
- A+ to C+. I once read that every upset is a set-up. The pressure and chaos that can accompany trying to create the perfect holiday is unrealistic. It is also self-inflicted pain. Responding to what you think others expect can be a self-sabotaging behavior. Lighten up and let go of perfection. Go from being an A+ to a C+ host. Your relaxed and joyful demeanor will be what others remember.
- Top hits. Lessen your anxiety and stress with your favorite music. Music can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. It can be calming and uplifting. As you play holiday songs, sing along and make it a total body experience.
- Every family has a host of characters. Don’t invite drama to your holiday gatherings. Holidays are not the time to solve big problems and issues, or discuss politics. When relatives and friends push your buttons, remember they are your buttons. Do not fall into the trap of defending or explaining yourself. Stay positive and be kind. Energy begets energy. Dissolve it.
- Just turn it off. Be present. Turn your phone off at holiday meals and gatherings. Create a no cell phone policy at the dining table. Be present in conversation with loved ones. Calls, text messages, emails and social media are distractions. You don’t have to be on every minute and give your power away to a device. Don’t be like Pavlov’s dog responding to every ring. I suggest messaging your friends that you will be unavailable during certain hours.
- Others who are alone. Reach out to others who are alone, especially those who are alone for the first time experiencing the first holiday without their loved one. Invite them to a meal, include them in a gathering, or spend one-on-one time with them.
- Your contribution. There are many ways to contribute at holiday time. Donate gifts to children’s causes. Donate to a food bank. Visit a nursing home. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.