It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it? A 2019 survey of 2,000 Americans found that 88% of respondents believe that the holidays are the most stressful time of year. In 2018 the American Psychological Association determined the top seasonal stressors were lack of time, money worries, over-commercialization and gift-giving pressures. Other holiday stressors include travel, family issues and remaining healthy (a stressor that is given all new meaning these days). So what advice can we seek from Chinese Medicine philosophy to assist with some of these festive-season buzz-killers?
PLAN AHEAD: One of the best ways we can prevent feeling engulfed by these holiday waves is to strategize in advance. Fall is a great time to hone your organizational skills as it is the season of structure and discipline. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, Fall is associated with the metal element which loves methodology and planning. If possible, nip holiday stress in the bud in September and October by making lists, shopping early, setting up family and travel arrangements AND setting boundaries when it comes to what is actually do-able and healthy for you.
SIMPLIFY: Take it from the Ancient Taoist Philosopher, Lao Tze:
“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you”
Chinese Medicine is rooted in Taoism which respects the path of simplicity and minimalism. With supply chain limitations, this year may be the perfect opportunity to tap into this philosophy that runs counter to the drive of untethered consumerism. Find joy in the little things, the intangible, immaterial things, the moments of beauty, kindness, and hope. Slow down and revise expectations that keep us spinning in a wheel of unmet satisfaction. Choose contentment in the moment over constant desire, self-criticism and frustration.
SELF-CARE: Planning ahead and modifying expectations can make a world of a difference, but despite our best efforts, stress can be a sneaky rascal and find its way through the cracks. In order to give ourselves the best chance at having a happy, healthy holiday season, we need to make time for self-care. Health as a holiday stressor has taken on added significance these past couple years. Eating clean (less sugar and processed food), exercising and getting good sleep are key ingredients to healthy living. Acupuncture is also one of the best tools to support immunity and a stress-resilient body, mind and spirit. It has been shown to lower stress hormones, such as cortisol, while improving sleep and immune function. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce stress and prevent stress-related illness and a great way to stop and reset when the momentum of the season gets the best of us.
Let’s turn the ‘pressure to be jolly’ into the ‘pleasure to be jolly’ by planning ahead, adjusting expectations and making sure to take care of our health and well-being throughout the excitement of the holiday season!
Acupuncture is one of the best investments you can make this season to ensure a stress-free and healthy experience! We’re here to help you relax and enjoy the holiday spirit, call today!