According to an online poll conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than half of the respondents said that the holiday season increased their anxiety and/or made them feel depressed. In the article, Barnett-Martin offers sound advice to thwart off holiday stress and remain mentally healthy through the season.”The holidays are upon us and for many it can be joyous and exciting. For others, however, this can be an emotional time when the winter blues set in and dampen the joy in their hearts,” says marriage and family therapist Terry Barnett-Martin, author of Tending Fences. “The hustle and bustle of the holiday season and many of us can feel overwhelmed and stretched to the limit.”Barnett-Martin stresses the importance of giving yourself extra time, space and nurturing, especially during this time of the year. If you feel like the holiday blues are settling in, she can share 12 easy ways to lighten your heart and lift your spirits:
Get into the light whenever possible. Light is essential to your mood. Every sliver of daylight you can take in will do you so much good. Even the holiday lights and decorations can make you feel better. Take in the light and use the good energy to lift your spirits.
Play! Take time on a regular basis to goof around like kids do. Most often the blues take hold when you take things too seriously. No matter what age you are, find something fun to do with your friends or your kids. Whatever your choice, play for a few minutes every day. It will do wonders for you!
Exercise, not for any reason except that it changes the chemistry of your brain and lifts your mood. For 10 or more minutes a day dance around your home to your favorite music, take a walk around the block, work out at a gym, jump on a mini trampoline while watching a show that makes you laugh, swim, or do chair aerobics.
Go gently into the holidays and honor your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Say YES to things you really want to do, and NO to anything that drains your energy. Take extra special care of yourself by choosing how and when you want to celebrate the holidays.
Pet therapy. Pets like dogs or cats can have a calming effect and a therapeutic love value in your life. Animal shelters are always looking for caring people to adopt dogs and cats, so if you have room for a pet in your home and life, consider visiting a local shelter.
Build good relationship fences that both connect you to the people in your life with whom you feel safe to be yourself, and protect you from people who drain your energy or habitually cause hurt and pain. Imagine that every relationship in your life has its own unique fence that defines the connection you have or want to have with them.
Do one intentional act of kindness each day, as simple as holding the door open for someone, or as big as finding someone in need and doing something specific to help. Acts of kindness truly change everything for you and the other person.
Wink and smile and say, “I love you, kid!” out loud to yourself whenever you pass a mirror. It might feel funny at first, but after you have done this several times, you will feel more confident, more loved and lovable, happier and filled up.
Wear your favorite clothes, the ones that feel good against your skin and in which you feel comfortable and attractive.
Eat your favorite healthy foods. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible for the healing and life force energy they give your body and mind. Splurge a bit on holiday goodies, but be mindful to watch your sugar intake, less is more.Though a little or even a moderate amount is fine and can bring some great enjoyment, if you have too much it can weaken your immune system and drain your energy.
Change the pattern. Just changing a routine can help to open up new avenues for feeling better. For instance, drive a different way home from work, listen to a different radio station, get up earlier in the morning and go to bed earlier at night, try a new food, take a snuggly 20 minute recharge nap in the middle of the day, try a new dance or exercise, and reach out to someone in need.
Remember to breathe and go easy on yourself. If the holiday blues really lower the light in you life, make a promise to yourself and those you love to get through the holidays without putting too much pressure on yourself.
Please let me know if you are interested in interviewing Terry Barnett-Martin. Copies of Barnett-Martin’s book, are available upon request. The author is also available for interviews.
Thank you for your consideration,
Terry Barnett-Martin, M.S., LMFT is a relationship counselor in private practice in Southern California. She is an openhearted, intuitive practitioner and writer who is dedicated to helping people find the purpose and path in their life and relationships. Website: www.tendingfences.com; www.truepurposecounseling.com Tending Fences: Building Safe and Healthy Relationship Boundaries; The Parables of Avery Soul can be purchased from www.amazon.com and through major booksellers