Life is busy.  Add in extra professional events, social get-togethers, cleaning, shopping, and school and religious commitments and your mind, body, and wallet will likely be stretched to the limit this time of year.  This feeling of “too much” or “overload” we often experience during the “holidays” can lead us down a less-than desirable path.  We may feel irritable, tired (or is “exhausted” a more apt descriptor?), and unable to cope with all that is expected of us.

Taking Control of the Chaos

There a few things we can do to help our minds and bodies cope better during periods of high stress:

Exercise & Meditation:  It’s not new advice, but it is good advice – make time in your day for exercise and reflection.  If you already have an exercise routine, do your very best to stick to it.  Exercise is an excellent stress reliever.  Your body releases endorphins when you exercise.  This results in a better mood, better sleep, and the ability to focus more clearly.  If you don’t already have an exercise routine in place, there’s no better time to start!  If you’re thinking “New Year’s Resolution”, why wait?  Start now, and by January 1st you’re already ahead of the game.

If the thought of meditating makes you roll your eyes, don’t knock it until you try it.  There are a multitude of free meditation videos and apps available, all of which you can do anywhere – on the train, waiting in line, on the couch, grabbing a caffeine boost, etc.  A 10-minute meditation may just turn your whole day around.

Eat Your Veggies:  Go ahead and indulge in the egg nog.  Try that famous sticky, irresistible treat your colleague brought to work.  Have that extra cocktail at the neighbourhood drop in.  Enjoy!!  Just don’t forget that, as with most things in life, balance is key.  Swing by the veggie tray every once in a while, drink lots of water, and fuel your body with healthy, whole foods as well.

Share Your Struggles:  Feelings of depression, anxiety, and grief are often amplified over the holidays.  Another year has passed, and we may feel that we haven’t achieved our goals for the year.  We desperately miss those friends and family members who are no longer with us.  Disappointments and struggles are brought into focus, and the expectations of the season can result in heightened negative emotions and thinking.  Some of us feel stuck in a relationship and fear another year of unhappiness ahead.

It may seem that everyone is too busy and caught up with their own life and responsibilities to help us cope, however, there is always someone to talk to:

A friend – You know which one.

A colleague – We all have imperfect lives.

A therapist – Many are well-trained and highly effective.

A stranger – A few words of commiseration in line at the grocery store?

Your doctor – Hopefully just a phone call or email away.

An internet support community – You have access to many genuinely empathetic people with no geographic boundaries.

A lawyer – We hear good things about Gelman & Associates!

You can be the friend/stranger/colleague as well!  Don’t forget to reach out to someone in your life you suspect may need a friendly ear or a warm handshake or hug.

We wish all our readers, clients, peers, and community a very happy Holiday Season and a wonderful New Year.  If we can be of any assistance to you or your family, please contact Gelman & Associates at (416) 736-0200 or 1-844-742-0200 or contact us online for a confidential initial consultation.