This time of the year can be difficult for many of us in the best of times, and this year we may feel especially challenged. We may notice the feelings of sadness, grief and disappointment showing up more prominently. We’d like to offer a few thoughts on what you can do to take better care of yourself and minimize holiday stress.
It is usually helpful to think basic and small, especially when feeling overwhelmed or fatigued.
- Grounding yourself: Focus on taking just a few deeper slower breaths. Making your exhalations longer than inhalations is a good way to activate the relaxation response in the body. Feel your feet on the ground/floor or any part of your body on the bed or chair if you are lying down or sitting.
- Body scanning: Take a moment to notice if you are tensing a part of your body such as shoulders, hands, feet or jaw. Try a quick but effective body scan exercise to bring attention to parts of the body and help them settle. Bringing the tip of the tongue to gently touch to the upper palate just behind your teeth can help relax the jaw. Warming your hand and feet under some warm water also can help relax the body.
- Little things matter: Think of the smallest positive sensory experiences available during the holidays: seeing pretty lights on a neighbor’s house, the invigorating smell of citrus fruit, crispness of winter air, warmth of a cozy scarf around your neck or a mug of a hot beverage in your hands, sound of a beautiful song or piece of music or a cat’s purr. Take a few extra moments to allow yourself the enjoyment of these tiny positive experiences.
- Slow down: Allow the holidays to be less complicated and try to let go of the usual demands and obligations this time of the year tends to bring. Make room for feeling the sadness and loss and for resting and recharging.
- Focus on the fundamentals: Are you hydrated? Have you eaten something nourishing? Did you get some movement and fresh air today? Did you get some sleep? Did you reach out to a friend or a family member, even if it’s just a brief text to say hello? Is it time to pull away from the screen and look out the window, stretch, or get outside for a bit? Some days even these simple things can be challenging, but we can keep bringing our attention to them and trying again.
- Acupuncture can help: acupuncture can help lift the mood and relax the body, relieve pain and support immunity, so consider coming in for a session, if you feel you need to. We are here to help, and we have worked hard to make our clinic a safe environment.
Wishing you a holiday season of warmth, ease and safety.