We are in the height of the holiday season. If you’re not feeling so “ho, ho, ho,” it could be because the holiday season can be one of the highest stress times of the year.
The season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is associated with what Zorba the Greek described as “the full catastrophe” ― joy, hope and optimism, and adversity. We experience crowds, deadlines, bills, high expectations and endless to-do lists.
The American Psychological Association has reported that more than half of Americans report being more irritable at this time of year, and a majority of us say we are more fatigued.
On the other hand, the holiday season can provide an opportunity to consider the way stress affects your body. Does it manifest in overeating and drinking in excess? Feeling extra tired, or wired? More body aches? Headaches? Feeling empty or sad? Elevated blood pressure?
For many of us, holiday stress can diminish our health or happiness.
Yet there are ways to draw on your inner resources to find vitality and healing in the face of great stress, even holiday stress. There are skills you can acquire to do this.
In fact, in the new year, I will be teaching a class called Mindfulness Training. It is a four-week course focused on quieting and stabilizing your mind to help restore your natural state of well-being. It includes yoga, meditation and discussion to develop inner wisdom, transformation and healing.
Class participants have said that it has improved their quality of life and given them tools for living with greater ease, joy, engagement and balance.
Maureen Doran, RD, LD, is an integrative nutritionist at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing who maintains a teaching practice in Kundalini yoga and mindfulness-based meditation, providing therapeutic instruction to both individuals and groups.