Between war, the economy, and politics, we are not okay right now.
Pile on the holidays.
While the expectation is that this should be a time of celebration and togetherness, it is also a breeding ground for stress, anxiety, and even depression. The expectations of a “festive season” demands shopping, cooking, social gatherings, and family obligations.
This year, even the most resilient individuals might become easily overwhelmed.
While some holiday stress is inevitable, at this time of year, we often fall into patterns of self-sabotage, unintentionally exacerbating our stress levels. Don’t think it’s by chance that this happens. Our culture thrives on a built-in negativity bias. We are offered quick fix solutions (available for purchase) to our problems. Consumerism can lead to a cycle of stress, coping mechanisms that provide temporary relief but ultimately worsen the problem, and even create a false addiction to suffering.
Breaking free from this cycle requires an honest assessment of our individual stress patterns and a willingness to embrace new approaches to coping – not just what’s offered on TV. Here are some strategies to help you navigate stressful seasons and cultivate a more serene sense of self this year:
Reduce Media Consumption
The constant barrage of news, social media updates, and holiday commercials can contribute to anxiety and stress. Take a break from the digital world by setting limits on screen time, turning off notifications, and unplugging from social media for periods throughout the day. Instead, engage in activities that promote relaxation and mindfulness, such as reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature.
Incorporate Herbs and Supplements
Certain herbs and supplements have been shown to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and enhance mood. Consider incorporating adaptogens, such as ashwagandha and rhodiola rosea, into your routine. These herbs help the body adapt to stress and improve overall well-being. Additionally, supplements like magnesium, L-theanine, and omega-3 fatty acids can further support stress management.
Moderate Alcohol Intake
While alcohol may provide temporary relief from stress, excessive consumption can worsen anxiety, interfere with sleep, and exacerbate emotional difficulties. Limit your alcohol intake to moderate amounts, or consider switching to cannabis.
Phone a Friend
If holiday stress is significantly impacting your daily life and emotional well-being, consider seeking professional counseling or mental health support. A therapist can provide guidance and support in developing personalized coping mechanisms, managing emotions, and navigating challenging relationships or situations.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather a demonstration of self-awareness and a willingness to prioritize your well-being. Reach out to friends, family members, or support groups for assistance with tasks, emotional support, or simply a listening ear.
Take Baby Steps
Overcoming ingrained patterns often requires a gradual approach. Start by incorporating small changes into your routine, such as taking a few minutes for meditation each morning or taking a walk during your lunch break. As you become more comfortable with these changes, gradually increase the duration or intensity of your self-care practices.
Remember, we are all struggling this year. You are not alone. By adopting these strategies and being kind to yourself, you can navigate busy seasons with greater resilience and cultivate a more peaceful and enjoyable existence year-round. Stress management is a key part of feeling well and promoting health and longevity. If you are struggling to manage stress, consider scheduling a complimentary 15-minute new patient appointment with me by calling 303-688-6698 or scheduling online.