The holidays impact everyone differently. Many thrive on the hustle & bustle of social events. For many others, the season comes with stress, dread, fatigue, and low mood due to high expectations.
Barrie 360 wanted to know how people can enjoy the season, while keeping themselves mentally healthy and mindful.
Dr Gerald Levine is with the Integrative Stress Management Program in Barrie. He says their program is based on a blend of medical science, mindfulness practice, and music.
One crucial step is self-awareness. Check in with yourself throughout the day, Levine advises.”Check your energy, your mood, your stress level. What’s going on in your mind and body? From there, make adjustments if needed.” Make sure you exercise, sleep, eat healthy food and meditate.
An example of checking in with yourself is to simply pause and take a couple of breathes. Levine explains, “That short pause and breath gives you time to assess yourself honestly and get back in tune with yourself.” Try doing this several times a day.
It’s at this time we see our calendars jam packed with get-together’s and holidays events.
Many have heard the term FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) where people will say yes to all requests and invitations so they aren’t left out. The problem is, it’s unhealthy if you are exhausted and not wanting to be there.
The counter to that is JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) Levine says. It’s better to pick and choose your events, try saying no sometimes and pace yourself. This way when you do go out, you will be fully present and enjoy yourself. He adds “To have a kind connection with people, we must maintain our personal wellness so we can go into social events with a positive attitude, but low expectations.”
Unfortunately memories of past issues with family and friends can be a trigger leading to stress and low feelings for many. Levine suggests trying to look at ones family with curiosity, without carrying baggage from the past, so you can start fresh every time you interact with them.
He shares that the biggest cause of suffering is when we anticipate negative things before they actually happen. “so you suffer twice, once by worrying and once by the actual event.”
This is why it’s so important to try to start fresh and take care of yourself, so it’s harder to get triggered, and if you do get triggered, you can recover more quickly.
The goal is not to never get upset with friends and family, Levine says, it’s about recovering more quickly.
For more holiday stress tips visit Integrative Stress Management
Banner Photo Courtesy of Flickr