Staying Grounded During the Holidays
By: Shannon Dolan
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Health Coach, and Mindset Coach
The holiday’s are typically a time filled with festivities, travel, and family events. However, this year, your plans may look different. Travel may not be an option for you, and spending time with others may mean hopping on a Zoom call, or FaceTiming those you love.
In both scenarios one can feel anxious about their current situation leading to disconnection from there internal self. This further causes the sense of loss of control, elevating stress.
“According to a survey, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported that approximately 24% of people with a diagnosed mental illness find that the holidays make their condition “a lot” worse and 40% “somewhat” worse.”- National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to remain grounded in order to reduce stress and anxiety. Applying the tips below can allow you to experience this holiday season feeling connected and grateful rather than stressed and overwhelmed.
Connect to yourself daily
It is vital to connect to yourself on a regular basis in order to assess how you’re feeling and what your body needs.
During holidays this can be even more necessary as distraction is prominent. Often individuals are side tracked by those around them, entranced by social media photos, or trying to wrap up the end of the year work projects.
When you connect to yourself you are able to provide your body what is looking for and make more intuitive decisions for your wellbeing.
How to connect to yourself: pause, take 5 deep breathes (in through the nose for a count of 5, hold for a count of 5, exhale for a count of 8), and ask yourself “How am I feeling?”, “What do I need?”
Instinctive answers will pop up that will guide you towards the answer. Listen to this intuition and apply those internal cues to allow your body to feel it’s best.
Practice gratitude and embrace the uncertainty
This year has been hard on many people. There has been, and currently is, a lot of uncertainty regarding what will be possible for the holidays.
Uncertainty is a prominent feeling in individuals who experience anxiety.
Instead of fighting against the uncertainty, try working with it. Acknowledge the unsettled feelings that you have, and then move on.
You simply cannot control the uncontrollable so there is no sense in trying to!
Embrace the uncertainty by having a backup plan and practicing gratitude for what you do have at the present moment.
Shifting perspective into one of gratitude is a way to transition your thoughts from those of lack and scarcity to ones of gratitude and appreciation.
In this scenario gratitude can be used to demonstrate what is happening for you. Are you grateful for being able to have a beautiful home cooked meal? How about being able to cozy up on your couch, watching Netflix with your holiday decorations on display? Or for being loved by all the people in your family who so desperately wish you could join them this holiday season?
Whatever it may be, write it out everyday, even after the holidays! This will train your brain to start looking for gratitude in every challenge, thereby leading to resilience in stressful situations.
Move your body
Movement is powerful tool to shift the energy in your body. When you are feeling emotions of anxiety and stress you typically are secreting higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol in your body. These hormones, when compounded overtime, can lead to a plethora of health issues.
The good news is, movement can help circulate these hormones around and eliminate them from excess accumulation in the body.
Not only that but, movement of all forms can be meditative and allow for mental clarity, enhanced creativity, and can build confidence overtime. To enhance this result try taking your movement practice outside. Research shows that those who exercise outside have more creativity!
When it comes to incorporating movement into your routine- don’t overthink it! Any activity that brings you joy counts! Carve out as little as 20 minutes in your day to get your body moving and experience the perks movement has to offer!
The holidays are meant to be a time that calls for celebration. If you find yourself feeling unsettled don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional that can assist you on your journey. While many people only show their highlight real on social media, know that you are not the only one feeling out of sorts, and that’s okay! Honor those feelings, shift your perspective, and move your body to help you process those emotions.
Wishing you a holiday filled with gratitude!
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