This time of the year is often the busiest time in my private practice as a holistic psychotherapist helping people to manage the stress of the holidays. The expectations of the season are often unrealistic with shopping, decorating, parties, trying to please everyone with gifts, etc. Unfortunately, at a time when we should be enjoying being with family and friends and celebrating the meaning of this sacred time, we are overloaded with too much to do and little time to accomplish it all.
Mercury in Retrograde
To complicate matters, the planet mercury is in retrograde (looks like it is moving backwards). This happens three times annually for three weeks. (This one will be over December 14.) When this occurs, communications can be confused leading to the need to repeat or correct them. Travel can be disrupted and delays are also normal during this time frame. It is usually not the best time to sign contracts, to buy cars or electronic equipment. It is not life threatening but causes minor glitches and disruptions which can contribute to the holiday stress. It is a good time to practice patience or to review the past, such as, doing a past life regression.
Suggestions For Dealing With the Holiday Stress
Getting overwhelmed at this time of the year is quite common. I want to offer you some simple suggestions for navigating the challenges of the holidays. It is so important to take a breather and take relaxation breaks. Different things work for different people and you have to find what works for you. For example,
1. Take a mini vacation in your mind by taking a couple of deep breaths and imagine yourself in a beautiful, safe place in nature, such as the ocean, mountain, meadow, garden, forest or your favorite place to relax. Immerse yourself with all of your senses by noticing the colors of your surroundings, hear the sounds of nature, smell the fragrances of the outdoors, feel the breeze against your skin. Even a brief 5 minutes of doing this once or twice a day can keep the stress from accumulating.
2. Lower expectations for the holidays. You don’t have to be perfect and please everyone. Many people are starting a tradition of giving money to a charity rather than giving expensive gifts that are quickly discarded.
3. Practice forgiveness of others’ mistakes with the idea that we also have made enough of our own. Smile at the cashier in the store or practice patience with the servers who might be slow or extend kindness to someone that needs it.
4. Meditation calms the “monkey mind” and restores a sense of inner peace. If you have trouble with this (which many people do) you can do a movement meditation, such as yoga. Dr. Brian Weiss, with whom I trained, has
some nice meditation/stress CDs. (Available on Amazon.com)
5. Practice “an attitude of gratitude.” Read a wonderful article on 10 steps to cultivating gratefulness.
6. Listen to a guided imagery CD for stress. Belleruth Naparstek has some of the best guided relaxation CDs with beautiful music and a great soothing voice and words. You can order them from Amazon.com
7. Walking or gentle exercise is a great stress reliever even if it is only a few minutes.
8. Listen to your favorite relaxing music.
9. Take a sea salt bath with lavender. I like the Masada or Himalayan (Solay) brands of sea salt.
10. Get a massagefor relaxation. Put yourself at the top of your list for a change.
Returning the Sacred to the holidays
“The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come.”
-from A Course In Miracles, Text, p. 327
May the Holy Spirit Bless your Holidays with Peace,