Get an A+ Beating the Holiday Blues!
Managing stress throughout the Holidays is a balancing act for everyone. There are just so many things to choose from and yet, there are only 24 hours in a day — fitting everything in and keeping the stress level low is indeed an art form! Too much stress can lead to depression and the Merry Spirit of the Season can quickly creep away.
To manage stress and keep the winter blues at bay, I recommend the A+ strategy:
- Accept that the Holidays are demanding; plan ahead and be judicious. Host and attend only those events that you want to participate in.
- Accept your feelings, all of them. Feelings throughout the holidays are as varied as snowflakes. Take time everyday to check in with your feelings, pay attention to what your emotions are telling you and be kind to yourself.
- Accept family members as they are; the Holidays are NOT a time to take up grievances. Everyone is feeling stresses, be generous with your patience and ask that they be generous with theirs.
- If the Holidays are going to be different than in previous years, it is wise to think about what is essential and work to re-create those things in a new way. If for example, you are living in a different city or town, and old friends and family are not as near, create new traditions for keeping in touch. Technology can help bridge the gap for closeness with devices like Skype, Facetime, Facebook etc.
- Find out what’s new in the area, invite neighbors, co-workers, or new friends over, get involved in community charities…
- Try to look at the Holidays from a new viewpoint. Stay positive about changes and embrace the opportunity to create new traditions.
- Avoid any and all things that trigger negative emotions; whether its people who bother you, events that just are not fun, or overindulgence on food and drink. Practice the art of saying No, and be sure you have a good counter strategy…“No, I won’t go to a crowded party, but l’d love to have dinner together.” , No, I can’t make it to the (fill-in-the-blank), but I will be sure to give everyone a call to wish them my best.” , Gee, I’d love to have that rum cake and eggnog, but I am craving those grapes and sparkling water even more”….practice saying no in advance…it gets easier with practice!
- Avoid spending more than you can afford to spend. Set a budget and look for ways to stay within it while satisfying your other objectives. Don’t spend the rest of the year paying off holiday debt.
- Alter your behavior to change your habits. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, change your routine to include a warm Epsom salt bath before bedtime. Listen to gentle sleepy music or nature sounds in a dark room…experiment and swap out one behavior for a healthier one.
- Take a breather…be sure to schedule your down time! Go for a night walk, be sure to make it to the gym at least a couple times per week…dive into a good book…alone time is repair time for yourself.
- Manage your time wisely ~ Make a To Do list of everything you need to accomplish in a day and don’t stray from the list. Keep it short — If you simply can’t get to everything on the list, add what’s essential to the next day’s list and forget about it! Be sure to add the rest time to the list.
- When we are stressed, we make poor choices. We eat the wrong foods, overindulge in too many drinks, skip exercise, etc… Acupuncture is a great stress reliever. When you receive a treatment, it strengthens your ability to make good choices.
- Acupuncture helps your brain to release endorphins, those feel-good hormones that fight depression and leave one feeling content.
- Acupuncture strengthens your immune system to help you stay healthy throughout the Holidays.
Practice the 5 A’s and let the Holidays be a Joyous time of year filled with good health and good cheer!
The Healing Point Acupuncture Clinic
Xia Xin, L.Ac., CSMA