During the holiday season, when I worked as a therapist, friends would comment on how busy I must be.
It is a common belief that depressed people are knocking down therapist’s doors before and during the holidays.
Perhaps this is a myth. Perhaps it is true in some quarters, but for me and my colleagues business slacked up a bit around holiday time.
People become caught up in the excitement and busyness of the holidays. The sound of silver bells echoes on street corners, children are excited, the office is decorated, and parties are planned. In general, a feeling of anticipation reigns mightily over the emotions. Worries often get moved to the back burner. During the month of December therapist’s phones do frequently ring—for cancellations— more than the scheduling of new appointments.
What happens to our mental perspective during the holidays? I think that many people feel less isolated and alone and the see the future as a field of rich possibilities. Positive expectations build.
Isn’t it interesting how much our perspective can affect our mood? All too often, during the holidays, we allow ourselves a reprieve from the concerns of daily life. It’s as if those concerns have floated off into the cosmos. We eat, drink, make merry and put our regular routines on hold. Of course if we are experiencing economic problems it might be a different story. Economic problems can make the holidays an especially stressful time.
In January our mood often makes a large thud as it drops from above. Perhaps the mood changes because there is a pile of bills sitting on our desk. But, quite often this change is due to overeating, too much alcohol, not enough sleep or exercise during holiday time. In our anticipatory mood we’ve let go of normal restraints. We’ve had fun. Unfortunately we have to pay the piper a few weeks later.
We let down our guard and changed our habits. Indulgence in December means payback in January. Physiological payback is in the mind-body but it’s as real as that pile of bills sitting on our desks.
In our book Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way Sandra and I offer many suggestions for avoiding the build-up of physiological toxins. This build-up comes about from over eating, over imbibing, eating late at night, and consuming foods that aren’t nutritious. We’re all going to do a bit of this during holiday time but you can prevent ill effects with a bit of know how.
- Watch sugar intake. That extra cookie really isn’t worth it.
- Get sufficient sleep. Life is a mess when sleep is amiss.
- Drink hot water with lemon during the day. This simple concoction will help your body to detoxify.
- Watch the intake of alcohol. Imbibing is hard on the liver and can make you feel tired and less clear the day after, and the day after, and the day after……
- Don’t forego your regular exercise routine.
- Don’t over spend. Parents want to give their kids a special time during the holidays. Remember kids watch you—your mood—-. You can create happiness for your children by your behavior and your excitement. If you can’t buy expensive gifts don’t let it get you down. The creation of a warm and cooperative atmosphere is a blessing and a great gift to the children. Only do what you can comfortably do in the gift department.
- Drink spiced water. Spices have power and can be used to enhance physiological balance and remove toxins from your system. During holiday time you can probably use a balancing boost. Try the following recipe.
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds (cumin helps to absorb and use nutrients)
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds (coriander helps to eliminate toxic chemicals and waste through your kidneys)
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds (fennel helps to normalize digestion, thereby reducing gas and bloating)
Add the spice seeds to 1½ quarts of plain, pure water, and boil for several minutes. After straining the spice seeds, pour the liquid into a thermal container that has a glass or stainless steel (not plastic) lining. Sip the powerful concoction every hour or so throughout the day.
We send blessings to you for happy and healthy holidays!