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10 Things Anyone Can Do to Cure the Holiday Blues

10 Things Anyone Can Do to Cure the Holiday Blues

The holiday season can be amazing: a time of gift-giving and celebration, when we have meals with loved ones, often witnessing and receiving the blessings of human generosity in full force. For some, it is a time filled with the wonder and magic of a child, and for others, it is a deeply spiritual time that demonstrates a time of renewal and hope. Still for many people, perhaps far many more than we dare to admit, the holidays can be very challenging. This challenge can even be exacerbated by the very belief that we are supposed to be so joyful during this time, and that something must be wrong with us for not being so. This downward cycle of the Holiday Blues can be remedied however. Here are some cures you can try if you find your spirits feeling low this holiday season.

1. Count your blessings

Make it a practice each day to say out loud what your blessings are in this life. Be clear that this process is not intended to suppress any real sadness or blues you might be feeling, as that would be dishonoring part of you that is real. But, it is a way to recognize that the inner focus on sadness is not the only focus worth your time and attention. Start with saying out loud the phrase: “I am blessed that…..” and let your subconscious mind fill in the gap without premeditating your answer. Keep it spontaneous and free flowing, not an intellectual exercise. You’ll be surprised how many times you realize a blessing that you may not have been consciously aware of: the kindness of a stranger, the beauty of a tree you encounter each day, that wonderful cup of tea or coffee you get each day as well as the smile of the person serving it to you. These seemingly small blessings add up, and can shift our awareness to acknowledge the greater blessings in our lives.

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2. Be of service to the world

A great way to heal your own suffering is to help soothe the suffering of others. This is true during the holiday season as well as beyond it. If the chaos of shopping at the mall is getting to you, and you don’t feel the holiday cheer, why not spend that same time bringing joy to someone else? Take the focus off of you and put it on bringing more light to the world. Give a donation of time or money to a worthy cause. Go help a friend with some project. Pick up any trash in the parks and on the sidewalks of your neighborhood. Write a letter to a the elderly. Here is one link that can help. There are many ways to be of service to the world. Pick something you feel passionate about so that it comes from the heart, and help make the world a better place.

3. Give something away for free

Giving away an item you value not only honors the holiday spirit but it also creates space in your life for something new. Think of those belongings that you value and are ready to release, which also might bring joy to someone you know: such as that old guitar you haven’t picked up in years, or that laptop that works great but doesn’t have the latest upgrades you want, or that cherished book in great condition which you have read and love but is sitting on the bookshelf now collecting dust. Give these items away to those who can put them to good use. It will bring joy to that person, and creates space in your life for you to bring in something new.

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4. Plan a feast, and then a fast, for something you want to manifest

Food is a big focus during the holiday season, so take charge of your food experience and give it a purpose. Allow yourself to partake in the festive meals, the holiday work party, or even a delicious dinner you cook for yourself. Each time you feast with others or in solitude, do so with a purpose. Intend that the food is a blessing. Bless it in your mind, or out loud, to represent something you want to bring into your life. Remember, we are what we eat, so visualize that piece of turkey (or tofurky) as the raise you are hoping for from your boss, or something else you want to manifest. Eat mindfully, as if every bite is helping make that dream come true in your mind’s eye. Then, balance the more heavy meals with a fast in the days after, maybe even to start the New Year. It can be a juice fast, water fast, or simply eating only fruit for a day or more. Most of the world’s spiritual traditions give emphasis to fasting for bringing powerful change into your life. So, balance the time you have spent feasting with some time spent fasting, keeping the focus on something you want to manifest for the New Year.

5. Share food with others

Since food is such a large part of the holidays, it is also a great way to create community. It doesn’t have to be complex and can actually be quite simple. If you have friends who live nearby, invite them over to enjoy a holiday dessert or snack. Even hot chocolate and cookies will do! A key ingredient to creating community is sharing food. If your friends are away for the holidays, invite an acquaintance or co-worker over, or that neighbor you say hello to but never get to really know. This is the time to widen that circle of community in your life, and enjoying a holiday dessert is the perfect excuse. Who knows? That acquaintance may become your new best friend.

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6. Say something kind to a stranger

Offering a simple hello or compliment to someone you don’t even know can raise your spirits as well as theirs. Be extra kind and generous with your words and use them to uplift those around you. It’s a very easy practice, and does wonders to brighten your day as well as theirs.

7. Shop less and exercise more

Sometimes the Holiday Blues is simply the result of the way we treat our bodies this time of year, as well as the way we treat our wallets, where both our bellies and credit card debt grow large. Spend less time shopping and more time burning calories, be it at the gym or working out at home.

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8. Watch an old movie that reminds you why life is amazing

Some people love watching classic holiday movies this time of year like Its A Wonderful Life starring James Stewart. But even if you prefer something of a different genre, remember movies are art, and art can be medicine for the soul. Sometimes, all we need are the right lines from a movie or song to remind us of what we need to hear—that our lives are precious and amazing gifts.

9. Find a place to meditate on New Years Eve

If you want an alternative to the traditional New Years Eve celebration, know that many yoga studios and meditation centers now offer New Years Eve meditations. It can be a wonderful and healthy way of starting the year. Simply making a commitment to attend can change your attitude weeks before the clock turns midnight to bring in the New Year.

10. Believe in your dreams and take action on making them real

Allow yourself to dream big dreams for the upcoming year. Then, buy a calendar for 2015, and write into each day of that calendar an action you will take for making your dreams become real.

Featured photo credit: Pretty red haired girl walking on frozen lake and making footpath via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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