Stressed, depressed or disappointed, you might self-soothe in order to get through the shorter, colder days of winter. Whatever your “high” of choice, you will surely require another fix to temporarily escape from stress and personal unhappiness with junk food eating, excess alcohol and compulsive shopping. And when the festivities are over, the cold hard reality hits on New Year’s Day as resolutions quickly fade in the stark landscape. However, this moment you can tap into the special energy of Christmas and Chanukah to conquer the very addiction you have always hoped to get under control! The holidays light the way in the darkness to living healthier and happier. Still skeptical? Well, what is more upbeat and optimistic, holiday music or Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve?
8 ways to transform stress into strength by tapping into holiday energy:
- Flick the switch whether Christmas lights or the Chanukah menorah. Light a candle for self-awareness. Don’t justify an addiction by saying you can control it; instead gently lift the curtain and take a peek at the symptoms of your stress to identify the trigger and step away.
- Focus on the spirituality of the season – the potential for rebirth. Identify your inner message, your real purpose to become that person you hold in high esteem.
- Reach out to help and be helped by others because addicts of any kind tend to feel lonely – alienated on some deeper level – and this is the season for holiday volunteers. There is strength in numbers from an evolutionary stand point. Find your cheer leaders, support system or accountability friends. Teach what you have to learn.
- Use music to self-soothe and lift your spirit. Don’t just listen to inspiring melodies and lyrics; sing or play a musical instrument even a triangle, drum or tambourine you have never played before. Go from observer to participant.
- RE-gift yourself in different forms to others. Stay far away from seductive retailers. Consider when you buy one and get one free, you will have more clutter.
- Get high on life. Move your body with an exercise routine which creates a healthy high to replace the sinister one. Make exercise a daily non-negotiable.
- Indulge in luscious seasonal foods that don’t have artificial ingredients. Delight in fresh produce and try different infused olive oils. Know that artificial sweeteners and fats will fuel your appetite for the real thing, so you end up eating more calories.
- Drink to your health. Drinking water is high on the list of healthy stress management activities, as all metabolic processes depend on water. Water eliminates toxins and counteracts fatigue. Enjoy being alive and alert.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life
, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com