The holidays are a time of joy, love, family, and friendship. However, even though many of us may not like to admit it, the holidays are also a time of stress. The physical demands of traveling and socializing, along with the emotional toll of spending time with our families, can make holiday time potentially stressful.
For example, at family gatherings during the holidays, emotions from the past often come up between family members. The abundance of sugar and alcohol, paired with the insufficient daylight of short winter days can further heighten emotional reactions and stress.
Without the proper outlook and adequate time-outs for relaxation, our nerves and emotions get wound up into a tight ball, leaving us stressed, drained of energy, and in the wrong frame of mind to enjoy times with our loved ones. Below are some tips for keeping your cool this holiday season.
Slow Down And Lighten Up
Most of us make our holiday plans first and then figure out how we’re going to manage the logistics later. This sort of over-commitment and attempt to please everyone is sure to lead to stress and hurt feelings. Realize your limitations first and cut back on the commitments in your calendar of events. The more you lighten your load, the more you will enjoy your friends and family when you are at a gathering.
Nap-time: Not Just For Children
How many of us feel guilty when we are not constantly in motion? Most parents know that overtired and hurried children are headed for a breakdown.
Unfortunately, adults are woefully unaware of the impact of stress on their own emotional health. Rest and relaxation are crucial for renewal and balance, and never more than during the holidays when we are constantly conversing with family members and speedily traveling from one place to the next with crowded throngs of other holiday-goers. If you are having problems sleeping at night it may also be helpful to take an herbal supplement such as CalmFort/Sleeping to calm the spirit, relieve restlessness, pacify angst, alleviate insomnia, fortify the spleen, and energize the heart.
Activities for children like nap-time and quiet time are designed to help them rest. You can also benefit from structured times for relaxation. Even a 15-minute nap or meditation session by yourself can reinvigorate you.
Hit Your Reset Button With Breathing Exercises
For thousands of years, meditation has been practiced in the east as a tool for inner peace and spirituality. This doesn’t mean you have to be on a remote mountaintop to meditate. You can do it anywhere and at any time; all you really need is a quiet corner. Meditation is a great way to decompress and melt tension away during your busy day. Try this breathing exercise, adapted from Chinese qigong meditation.
Slow down and deepen each breath as you inhale. With every exhalation, utter the word calm in your mind and breathe out the tension from each part of your body, beginning with the top of your head and working your way down to your feet. Release the remaining tension through your toes and the bottoms of your feet. You will be amazed at how energized you feel!
Be In The Present
Start off your day with the intention to be aware and present throughout the day. Create and declare an affirmation that will set the tone of your whole day. For example: “Today I want to be clear in my mind, so that I can make the correct decisions. I want to be healthy and connected to my loved ones and myself.”
Not only will you be better equipped to cope with stress, you might even find a new perspective that you didn’t have before. When you start with a better understanding of yourself and your surroundings, you have an opportunity to employ a healthy outlook and enjoy a good mood all through the day.
Sometimes when you are in a bad mood, it helps to put your life in perspective. If your basic needs are being met, be thankful. If you are surrounded by friends and loved ones, be thankful. Add up everything you are thankful for in your head and see if your mood doesn’t improve.
May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has appeared regularly on “Dr. Oz,” “The Doctors,” and “EXTRA.” Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to also founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at [email protected] To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com.