HOLIDAY STRESS AND GRIEF – TIPS AND TRICKS

Holidays in general are a time of full schedules, demanding family and friends, increased expenses, and triggers that elicit memories, often painful from the distant past. Add the fact that year-end holidays are our biggest celebrations, we can become acutely aware of how our year has ended despite our best New Year’s resolutions, dreams and desires. This sets us up to feel some type of disappointment, anguish or grief. Deaths, separations, divorce, singleness, loneliness, coupled with this year many tragic events, all have impacted family and friends around the world from natural disasters to random shootings and terrorism. If you also torture yourself by watching the dismal TV news reports, then you add grief icing to the cake.

The cumulative physical, emotional and financial stress induced by the holiday season can weaken our immune system. Any one stressor can pull the trigger to allow a flare up of Shingles, herpes, colds or flu, headache, migraine, eczema, irritable bowel, Lyme disease, Epstein Bar or other chronic fatigue viral flares to raise its ugly head. Add the acidic inducing holiday drinks and food and the

Add the acidic inducing holiday drinks and food and the overindulgence involved, and we are set up biochemically to promote pathogenic blooms.

Back to stress (physical, emotional, financial). Our body’s perception of stress alone can make our tissues acidic. Two or three days of feeling grief can be enough to cause a pathogenic bloom. I had one patient who was rather disappointed in the events of the year that left him/her still single and alone for the holidays and thus feeling a resurgence of grief. A shingles outbreak resulted a few days later.

Holidays are a time to show love, to others but also to ourselves. We must start with ourselves first and this means proper self-care not just with our body but with that aesthetic sense that boosts emotions and makes us feel empowered.

First, we need to give ourselves a self-assessment. When you become clear about exactly what you are dreading or don’t want to experience this year, you give yourself more control about the experiences that are unavoidable because you can set a time limit on the experience or give yourself a reward for “enduring”. This proactive approach instead of powerless attitude, a “victim mentality” helps you to cope much better. More importantly since you choose to walk into that lion’s den, you are exercising control over what you will experience even if it is negative, and as a result, this has positive effects upon your mood.

It is the lack of control, the sense of powerlessness that depresses us. Therefore, first identify what negative aspects of this holiday season could cause you problems. Then you will be able to exercise your power in the form of limiting your exposure, avoiding it entirely, or rewarding yourself for dealing with it in a more proactive manner.

Take some time right now and think about what you want and don’t want to experience, do and feel during the holidays. On a piece of paper write down:

  1. I don’t really want to do …… this holiday season. (It doesn’t matter the reason why, just get clear what you yourself don’t like doing that you’ve had to do or felt
  2. compelled to do during the holidays.)
  3. I don’t really want to share much/any time with ……. (Again, it doesn’t matter the reason or why you feel obligated to please so and so.)
  4. I don’t want to feel ….. (Whatever feelings you’ve had in the past during the holidays, or feelings that you might
  5. be experiencing with the pending holidays now, write them down.)

Next write down your challenges, the things that stress you during this upcoming holiday. Once you know your stressors you have a list to address with remedies that you can brainstorm alone or with family and friends. Again, this puts you in control and this empowerment lifts spirits!

  1. Describe any financial stress specifically. For example: I need to buy presents for 6 people this year and it will cost me a minimum of X.
  2. Write down
  3. a pending travel stress and state what about it feels stressful to you. For example: I must travel to the east coast and the flight delays and snow make my travel time 16 hrs. total! I arrive exhausted.
  4. Write down any relationship stress. For example: My mom expects our family every Christmas. We never can make our own plans
  5. Write down any other emotional stress you are
  6. dealing with. For example: Being newly or still separated, divorced, widowed, still single, still alone..for the holidays.

Next write down how you would like to experience this holiday season if you could call all the shots. Write it all down, step by step. By knowing this you

have a vision or goal of what you want to experience, even if it is not entirely possible or practical. This way you can take proactive steps to approach your goal with an action plan to ensure you carve out a piece of these experiences for you this holiday season.

We often forget our needs during the season and this can leave us feeling the blues because we have not filled our vessel to overflowing. We cannot give to others from empty so if you are the type of person that doesn’t do for themselves, doing something for yourself now from the perspective that it fills you and will allow you to give more of yourself to others is a good thing.

The next step is important. Research shows that people get depressed when they feel they have no power, no control. This can happen in work or in life in general. What you just wrote down as your desired holiday experience is based upon you having control of all the situations, the people, the travel, the time, the money. This next step is about looking at this desired experience and finding that happy compromise where you do what you think you must, but then make something happen the way you want.

For example, if you absolutely must have Christmas dinner at mom’s then treat yourself to a holiday experience that you never set time for yourself before. It doesn’t have to cost money. You can invite friends and/or family to go see the holiday lights in the city and get a coffee to just take in the lights. You can find an affordable way to go see a holiday musical via matinee, something you never thought to do for yourself!

If you are at a loss to find what would perk up your holiday cheer, think back to your youth and recall what got you excited about experiencing the holidays. If you loved Christmas Stockings hanging on the mantel, then think about decorating a holiday stocking, doing something crafty that way. YouTube has wonderful and easy crafty ideas. You could also just buy one; however, the point is you needn’t spend money to feel the excitement and enjoy the visual delights of the season.

Start writing your game plan of what you will do as it will uplift and empower you!

Tip #1: Do what you must but to keep your spirits up, plan a reward for yourself during this holiday season. Plan it, do it..for yourself as part of your self-care. You can invite others, but you know it’s your heart’s desire you are satisfying as your reward. This is the art of deliberate living. There is a difference between sitting alone at home and making that time your private time, or buying something

at a good price and buying it at a good price as your reward! Your intent uplifts your emotions and empowers you.

Tip #2: Look at your gift list and be real about it. Don’t just give a gift that means nothing or will fill the landfill. Make strategic decisions about gift giving:

  1. Must you give to everyone you gifted last year? Can you gift differently this year? What is your intent in the gift?
  2. Give a “family gift” that everyone can enjoy as opposed to individual gifts. This way you might be able to give a nicer gift (like a gift basket you make or buy) than you could with each member of the family.
  3. Give only gifts to children as opposed to the adults. Sometimes this must be
  4. discussed in advance. Many families draw a name and buy for that person only.
  5. Make handmade gifts of candy, soap, lotion bars, knitted, crocheted, wood crafted items, things that can be consumed and used. Craft fairs are good places, but their prices can
  6. be a bit costlier. Shop smart.
  1. Experiences make life long memories. How many gifts can you recall as a child receiving? Compare that to how many family outings or vacations you remember? It’s usually the events done together that are remembered as opposed to the gifts. Families have sat down and decided to forgo opening presents in exchange for a day outing to Disney or skiing, something none had done before. Look at your own circumstances and determine if you and those you gift exchange with would instead like to do something together. For example, if neither of you has gone to a holiday musical because of time or money, go together, each paying for their own ticket. The company and shared experience will make it an event to remember. You can then go for coffee/tea and dessert after. Use the money of the gift to allow for a shared experience.
  2. Lift your spirit by gift giving to those you don’t know, those in need. It will fill your heart with kindness and gratitude for being able to do something nice for someone else. It doesn’t have to be costly. Here are some examples:
  3. Buy a gift card at a grocery store while you are buying your groceries.
  4. Give it a homeless person or a church to give to their families in need.
  5. Call churches and find out what gift giving they are doing. Some collect shoeboxes filled with paper, small toys and craft supplies you can get at the Dollar Tree or Dollar
  6. store and give them to families with children. Our credit union has a giving tree with the sex and age of a child in need. We bring a gift and put it under the tree with their tag.
  7. Public school teachers are always needing school supplies.
  8. Buy a street person a meal at a drive through and
  9. go give it them, or buy beanies and gloves or a scarf, thick socks or lotion/hand towel and give them one or more.
  10. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to do something nice to help
  11. someone and it will come to you. Give your time, your help or gifts, just give and your heart will be so full!

 

Tip #3 Turning grief and sadness around. Above you identified what is making you sad this holiday season. It is unrealistic

to expect to eliminate entirely the emotions you acknowledged above, especially if the circumstances that

created

them haven’t or can’t change. However, you can do something now in addition to your counseling or NET sessions (Neuro Emotional Technique) and that something is to honor it. What do I mean by honoring it? There is always a silver lining, an opportunity that comes from the darkness.

For example, if your grief is due to the loss of a friend, partner, family member, know that they would want to be there and want to see you share the joy of the season. Yes, your joy will be less without them, but instead of ignoring the season and opting out this year, do something for them, in their memory and it will make your holiday season ripe with beauty and possibly start an annual tradition. You can: light a candle in their memory (electronic or real flame) at your dinner table daily or until the end of the year, get their favorite flowers for your holiday dinner table, anything that acknowledges your special memory of them.

Another example if you are feeling stuck in loneliness this season, is to be proactive and plan an outing or an event where you can invite

someone or others to join you. The world is filled with isolated lonely people and you can be proactive. If you don’t know anyone available, you can call hospitals, churches, senior centers and homeless shelters and go be with people who need company as a volunteer.

You can also plan an event or outing for yourself. You can take a 3-day cruise, or a weekend away, or a day away somewhere that you’d like to go, something you’d like to do. Just don’t stay home. Keeping busy helping others, doing for others, spending time with others, learning a new craft or picking up a long forgotten one, all will lift your mood. Again, YouTube has thousands of free how to videos to inspire you with people

sharing their adventures and stories. All will feed your imagination. Start getting inspired, intrigued and engage your mind. Get ideas and start planning the life of your dreams one stitch, and adventure at a time!

Another way to find your spark is to look back to your childhood and recall how you liked to play. Did you create things with your hands? Did you love to feel the wind in your hair riding your bike? Did you play in the surf

and sand? Reflect on that and see how you can capture some of that essence now. If you surfed as a kid, plan a day at the ocean and just be there. Walk the shores and watch those waves! If you created with your hands; what did you do? Did you use color pencils, or crayons? Go get a doodle book at Michaels’s, your holiday treat this

season. I cannot stress how important it is for us to always be in touch with that joy we had within us as children. Then go do it and better yet invite others to join you.

Lastly, once you have an idea of what activity you can do to harness your joy, go check www.meetup.com. You can search an activity like hiking and find groups of people that schedule walks and hikes in different areas. It’s a great way to not have to do things alone and meet others of like interest.

Biochemically speaking

, if you are struggling with an acute phase of the holiday blues, besides doing the above self-care things, you can take Rescue Remedy (liquid spray or dropper form found at Whole Foods and other health food stores) for helping with stress. You can contact my clinic for our ER911 spray that helps with stress, the processing of emotions such as grief and trauma healing (888-519-5755) and stay tuned on the blog www.ChronicFatigueAndNutrition.com

for a new emotional healing technique podcast that you can do at home to help continue to process those emotions.

Remember also that alcohol is a biochemical stimulant and depressor. It can throw off your ability to sleep, increase anxiety and depression. Therefore, try to avoid it if your moods are an issue, as it is not a helpful crutch to lean on.

Tip #4 What about people or circumstances that push your buttons this season that are unavoidable, or flashbacks that cause you to feel down and in a funk? This is where taking every thought captive is a life saver. Take a silly example but one we have all experienced. A person honks their horn at you on the road and you were not to blame (there was a no right turn on red sign they didn’t see), but now it’s bothering you constantly. You can’t get it out of your mind. You keep replaying the scene. You even talk back to the person in your head!

Medical science acknowledges the fact that the brain discharges a continuous loop, and that “loop” is a repetition of a thought or emotion. This is how our thoughts get stuck repeating the memory

or feeling over and over.

Those examining the Laws of Attraction have found that what we think we attract more of. The book Power versus Force describes everything as having a vibrational frequency. We attract those frequencies that we harmonize with. Police statistics show that certain trauma like rape, increases a woman’s chance

statistically the second time of being raped over someone who was never raped. Now that makes no logical sense, thinking she would do everything in her power to prevent it. But the law of attraction says what we fear we attract; and what we attract gives us another chance to heal and process those emotions. It’s much better to process those emotions on our own time than attract a re-run! This is also why we tend to attract the same people and situations into our life. Heal, and our world changes.

Abraham Hicks teaches that our emotions are a barometer to our thoughts and give us a “vibrational frequency”. We attract what harmonizes with that frequency. Her brain child is identifying that emotion or negative thought maintained for 17 seconds as beginning to loop or attract more of the same emotions or thoughts. This explains how difficult it can be to change our mood! However, knowing you have 17 seconds, you are motivated to change that thought or feeling by the power of distraction. It sounds comical but something as simple as gazing on a flower, or looking at your favorite color, sipping your favorite tea or coffee, all can snap you out of that negative state and put you into “the vortex” she calls it of positive emotion.

Our minds are so powerful that we can at our will, as you sit here reading this right now, recall a positive event in your life. Close your eyes, see it in your mind and more importantly feel it. Do that for 17 seconds now. Once you find something that takes you into that positive distraction it’s easy to build on that and then expand that to another ah moment. This is how she teaches quite simply and quickly to reset our emotions and thought patterns.

It works quite well.

I highly suggest you go to YouTube and type in Abraham Hicks and search the thousands of titles for a subject that interests you. Her audios are 10 to 15 minutes and when I struggle to find something to distract me from what has upset me, I listen to one of her podcasts especially what she calls her “rampage” where she takes a simple positive thought and shows you how to let that lead you into the “vortex” of positive emotions and thoughts. It’s simple to do and wonderfully empowering and uplifting.

As you master her technique you will be able to let go emotionally of those things that are past or those things you cannot control or argue your way over and out of. This emotional freedom

helps you to release grief, grudges, arguments and

sets you in a better brain state to return at another time of your choosing to take on the battles, or not, instead of being prisoner to an event or someone’s comment. You will soon learn that nothing on this planet is truly worth keeping you in bondage to grief and negative emotions! That’s a fact!

This technique is easy to learn in less than 30 minutes. You don’t have to be in a bad or foul mood to try it. You can elevate your happiness anytime. Try it now and you will find yourself like Teflon

to the moods and comments of others. You will  become happier and calmer, less reactive and more at peace in the midst of what causes others to become stuck, down, depressed and anxious. That is true emotional freedom and that is where the key to happiness begins.

If you would like to book an NET (Neuro-Emotional Technique) session or learn more about forever becoming free from negative thought patterns and the beliefs that hold your emotions and life in bondage, call our clinic 888-519-5755 and check our blog www.ChronicFatigueAndNutrition.com for podcasts and webinars

to learn more. Knowledge is power and freedom. Keep learning.

 

Anna Manayan

Anna Manayan