Tips for holiday mental health.

How to experience less stress this holiday.

 

It’s no secret that it’s easy to simultaneously enjoy and dread the holiday season. Many people look forward to each new winter month and make the best of it. Many others are greatly fearful of cloud cover and the financial strains of present buying and holiday tripping.

Do you find yourself wondering how anyone can be excited about this busy, cold season?

Here are some ways to transform your view this year.

 

Admit Your Feelings

It may seem like everyone around you is happy, joyful, and invigorated by the festivities. Perhaps you aren’t riding the same wavelength. I find that when I am feeling alone, I try to catch myself and understand my personal thoughts associated with the feeling. Learning to accept yourself and emotions usually starts with admission. That admission will help you to release any pent up emotion and allow it to pass. Not only that, but during the cold winter months there is an increased likelihood of picking up viruses. One of your best defenses against this is to avoid suppressing negative thoughts. When we suppress our feelings, it is similar to just storing it away in other parts of our bodies. Feeling fear or hurt elicits a physical response, which takes a great amount of physical self-control to suppress. With all of that physical effort, your immune system tires and weakens. Understand that your emotions are a part of you and that learning to identify, feel and recognize them will help you to let them pass.

Cry, Express

Crying is our body’s natural reaction to certain thoughts and the feelings associated with those thoughts. Crying releases toxins and even kills bacteria. More importantly, though, it is a great way to actually express your feelings instead of acting as if they don’t matter. If you are feeling sad, fearful, or just like you want to cry for no reason, give it a go. William Shakespeare wrote in King Henry VI, “To weep is to make less the depth of grief.” Cry with a friend or by yourself. Whatever you feel works for you.

Change Your Perspective

Understand that your body was developed to have emotions. We come with an entire spectrum of feelings that tend to branch off from two main ones: fear and love. These are essential emotions that give us feedback about our thinking. If we understand that these feelings are neither good nor bad, then we are more likely to be able to observe them and learn from them. If we want to grow or move on from grief, stress, or pain we are better off understanding the true nature of thought and where the feelings are coming from which allows ourselves to feel it and then move on. If you are constantly feeling afraid of a person or a situation, it is possible that this is your conscience, mind, or body telling you something about that person or situation. Consider how you feel whenever you are assessing a situation. It doesn’t have to control you, but it does and should play an important part in the decision-making process.

One last thing: this busy season is not going to last forever. Understand that ups and downs are a natural part of life. Your feelings are a part of you and don’t need to be judged or hidden. Make a choice to learn something about yourself this season by observing your feelings. Most importantly, love yourself.

 

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