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How To Handle The Holiday Blues

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The carolling in the street. The ugly Christmas sweater party. Secret Santa at the office. Trimming the tree. The expectation that the holiday season is supposed to be the most delightful time of the year can leave many people feeling downright depressed, withdrawn and lonely.

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I know because I have been there before. Several times.

December used to be one of my favourite months of the year. I used to love it when my parent’s radio station switched over to playing 24/7 Christmas songs. I couldn’t wait to put up the decorations in our family home. I craved curling up on the couch with hot chocolate watching “White Christmas” and “Home Alone” reruns year after year.

Growing up, I was very fortunate to experience a pretty magical holiday. But my adult years haven’t always turned out that way.

Take last year for example. Last December was the worst on record for me. I had overworked myself and was extremely run down. The guy I was dating went total MIA just before the holidays. I was heartbroken. My entire family came down with the flu and was bed-ridden. And my New Year’s Eve was the icing on the proverbial cake! I WAS all dressed up with somewhere to go, when I had to turn my car around and head home because I too had picked up the flu. Needless to say I was in bed by 11 with my Kleenex box sneezing in 2014.

Happy New Year to me. NOT.

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I have had other miserable holidays, too, but this isn’t about me. Or rehashing those times in my life. I’ve learned a lot about myself during these darker periods. And I want to share what I feel are helpful tips to help you handle the holiday blues.

TIP #1: BECOME YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND

The holiday season has a way of amplifying and creating feelings of isolation, aloneness and loneliness during the holidays. There are infinite reasons why you might feel disconnected from the people around you. Regardless of the reason, I have always found that in my deepest state of despair it was wise to get closer to myself.

In the past, it often wasn’t my own company that frightened me, but the beliefs I had about being by myself. Especially at this time of year. I would sometimes fight tooth and nail to NOT feel the way I was feeling which ended up creating more resistance to what was coming up.

When I felt isolated, alone and lonely all kinds of limiting beliefs and negative emotions triggered. And those limiting beliefs and negative emotions had a way of making me sink deeper and deeper into a state of blanketed darkness. I would ruminate over how unfair it was to experience the holidays this way. Catastrophizing my situation. Beating myself up over how I felt. Telling myself that it shouldn’t be this way.

But it was that way. And the more I resisted what I was experiencing in my body emotionally and mentally, the worse it felt.

At some point I had to learn to develop deeper compassion toward myself. I had to implement positive self-talk to reinforce that it was okay to feel how I felt. I understood that it was temporary. I had something to learn in the experience I was having. And it was my sole responsibility to figure out what that was.

One of the biggest realizations I had was that I was withholding love from myself and expecting the outside world to give it to me. That left me feeling very disappointed. Imagine for a moment your best friend coming to you and expressing how sad they felt. Alone. Depressed. You probably wouldn’t aggravate the situation by putting them down. Or making them feel worse about their experience. So why would you do that to yourself?

YOU MATTER. Give yourself the gift of support. Compassion. Nourishment. Tenderness. Love. All of those things that you want to receive from the other people in your life.

Treat yourself to a homemade holiday meal. Pamper your body at the spa. Put up your feet. Purchase a few gifts for yourself with the money you would have spent on others. Start setting your personal intentions and goals for the New Year ahead.

There will be MANY more holidays down the road. No matter what happens during those periods, becoming your own best friend and having your own back can truly make or break the holiday season and any other time of the year for that matter.

TIP #2 FIND SATISFACTION IN SOLITUDE

Tip #1 leads me to my next point. Finding satisfaction in a state of solitude. By no means am I saying that solitude replaces your connection to other human beings. What I am saying, is that if you find yourself during this season by yourself it can be a very healthy and helpful component for your entire wellbeing and personal growth.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the people around me (myself included) complain about how busy they are. How much they have going on. How fast-paced their lives are. And how difficult it can be to have downtime to just be.

If you have time off during the holidays with nowhere to be and nowhere to go, take advantage of that occasion.

Your perception of solitude will dictate the kind of experiences you create for yourself. It can be lonely. Isolating. Depressing. Dismal. Or it can be the complete opposite. It just depends on your outlook.

When I have had times of solitude I have received solutions, answers, messages and guidance from my higher being. When I have slowed down I have had the chance to allow my body to fully rest and recoup. And the cool thing is, giving myself time in solitude doesn’t just improve my life, it has also improved my relationships with others. When I have given myself permission to find pleasure in my solitude my connection with other people drastically improves. I don’t expect the people around me to give to me what I need to give myself. I show up completely present. Engaged. Refreshed. Grounded. And I am more open and available to connect and listen deeply. There is more space within my entire being to give to others. And that feels good.

When I haven’t had enough time alone I show up in the complete opposite way. Drained. Fatigued. Unavailable. Ungrounded. Solitude is a gift. It can do A LOT for your mind, body and soul. Something that I know Santa couldn’t bring you. Or obligatory holiday functions. It just depends if you are open enough to see it from that perspective.

TIP #3: CONNECT WITH YOUR SOUL FAMILY

If you don’t have family that you feel close to or a partner to kiss under the mistletoe, the holidays can highlight that those people are missing from your life. Not everyone is blessed with a strong bond to blood relatives.

From personal experience, I know that each and everyone of us have a connection to what I call a Soul family. Soul family are the people in your life that are not blood related but on a deeper level feel as though they are or should have been. They GET YOU. They feel familiar. Even like home. You can lean on them. They are your friends. Colleagues. Confidantes. Allies. The brother or sister you never had.

I am not sure what I would have done if I didn’t have my soul family over the years. Last year would have been by far worse if I didn’t have the love and care of my friends who cushioned me with support to get me through that time.

If solitude isn’t an option this holiday, perhaps being around your soul family is. This is the family you get to choose and enjoy being around. The people in your life that nourish, understand and accept you fully is ultimately what fulfills us the most. And when you feel down and out, these are the people you want to reach out to and ask for support. All year round.

TIP #4: DON’T MAKE IT ABOUT YOU

The more you make the holidays about YOU and what you don’t have. Or the challenges you are facing. Or how horrible the whole year has been, the more you will stay stuck in a perpetual state of dreariness. Self-loathing is never worth celebrating. Neither is complaining.

Get out of your own head and get out into your community. Volunteer your time at a local hospital. Or at a soup kitchen. Purchase a coffee for the customer behind you at the cafe. Bring a holiday poinsettia to your neighbour.

There are ALWAYS people who are in far worse situations than you. Selfless service has a way of up lifting your spirit and warming your heart. And you never know whom you might meet or connect with while performing these acts of kindness.

At the of the day, what matters most is not the traditions you keep at this time of the year, but the self-care rituals you create. These holiday rituals will not only help you beat the holiday blues in December, but through out the year as well.

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Alternative News

How The Education System Limits Your Consciousness

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Higher Education has come under fire lately as being expensive, and students wonder whether or not it's worth it, from a financial perspective, to get a degree.

  • Reflect On:

    Does the system of education truly educate us? We have to question, why are we accepting a society that doesn't allow humanity to TRULY thrive? We made it this way, we can change it.

The debate around whether or not a college degree is worth it has become ever intensified over the last few months as people begin to beg answers to the question: when will students pay off their debt? How long does it take?

Further to that question, I believe “how many students end up in a job or career they actually enjoy?”

But economics seems to be the big question here, and that’s fair given our world always seems to push us to consider those numbers as the height of importance in society as opposed to creating a society filled with passionately acting individuals who do what they love.

It’s all too often we hear that thinking we could all do what we love is ‘a pipedream’ or ‘not thinking like an adult.’ In these responses, if we pay close attention, we are actually saying we’ve come to accept that the way the world is should simply be accepted. Sure, in some cases these days we are working towards making a difference in areas of society like equality and poverty, but are we truly changing our system radically enough to make it so humanity can thrive? Or are we accepting enslavement?

In a recent podcast about my philosophy on how shifting consciousness and understanding conspiracies theories are intimately connected, I explored the system of education and how that functions. The education system seems to be a learning tool for us to accept the world the way it is. While we think we are educating ourselves, and we are in some ways with specific skills, there is something more to the story we aren’t exploring. We essentially are taking an ever expansive consciousness, with full capability, and molding it into a tiny tight system of living and being that doesn’t even support our ability to truly BE.

I truly believe we need to begin dreaming bigger and imagining bigger about what we are capable of changing in our society. We have to question, why are we accepting a society that doesn’t allow humanity to TRULY thrive? We made it this way, we can change it. What if we could learn about the technologies we truly had and were capable of without having to hold them back because of commerce? What if we learned medicine without the influence of pharmaceutical money and drugs? What if we learned about how we could act as a global community creating abundance for all instead of learning how we’re all separate and we need an economy to operate? Are any of these things real? Or just a story? Why are we being told these things as if they are facts?

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Check it out in the video and podcast below.

Subscribe to the CE Podcast on iTunes or via email.

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Consciousness

A New Study Suggests People’s Egos Get Bigger After Yoga & Meditation

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Study shows how Western practices of meditation and yoga can actually inflate the ego, rather than lower it — which is typically why people choose to do these practices in the first place.

  • Reflect On:

    What we do, no matter how spiritual it is, doesn't make you better than others. What is it that makes us want to feel or appear better than others?

In an attempt to try and limit our ego from running the show and move closer to our spirit and connection to the divine, many of us are on a path towards enlightenment.

This path generally includes a process of waking up to the reality around you, personal development books, plant medicine, yoga, and meditation can all be great tools along the way. We feel we are becoming wiser, more connected and sometimes even more evolved than those who are not on the same path as us.

A recently published study directly contradicts that approach and found that typical meditation and yoga practices can actually inflate your ego. Who knew?

We all know those spiritual types, that seem to have it all together, they are diligent in their daily practices and are the first to give you advice and explain what you are doing wrong and why you haven’t yet found peace within. Sure, these people generally have the best intentions, but the concept of being better, above or more enlightened than our fellow brothers and sisters on this planet is, believe it or not, pure ego! It is very easy to fall into this trap.

When I first “woke up” over a decade ago, I felt like I had so much information that no one else had yet awakened to, in this way I admittedly felt superior to many of my peers and put myself on a pedestal. This wasn’t an intentional action however, it’s just what happened.

Since, I have learned that the moment you think you have all the answers and have it all figured out is the exact moment that you need to take a step back and realize that in reality, you know nothing at all. What’s true to you may not be the truth for someone else. We are all on different paths, and different journeys, yes to the same place, but not a single one is better or superior to any other. No matter how off track others may appear to be.

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The Study

The paper was published online in the journal Psychological Science, researchers noted that Buddhism’s teachings that a meditation practice helps overcome the ego conflicts with the US psychologist William James’s argument that the practice of any skill at all ignites a sense of self-enhancement. So, the practice of bettering yourself does exactly that — makes you feel better, better than you were, but in many cases better than those around you.

There has already been a lot of evidence in support of James’s theory, but a team from Mannheim, Germany decided to test it specifically including the practice of yoga and meditation.

93 yoga students were recruited and over the course of 15 weeks, researchers evaluated their sense of self-enhancement. A few measures were used to monitor this. First, they asked the participants how they felt they compared to the average yoga student in their class. Next, participants completed an inventory that assesses narcissistic tendencies by asking them to rate how deeply phrases such as “I will be well-known for the good deeds I will have done” related to them. Lastly, they administered a sort of self-esteem scale asking the subjects if they agreed with statements such as, “At the moment I have high self-esteem.”

An hour after their yoga practice the participants showed significantly higher self-enhancement than when they hadn’t done yoga within a 24 hour period.

Another study examined 162 people who practiced meditation, they were scouted through meditation groups on Facebook. These participants proved to have a similar impact on self-enhancement as those from the yoga study. Participants were asked to evaluate themselves in relation to statements like “In comparison to the average participant of the study, I am free from bias.” The results showed that the participants had a higher self-enhancement in the hour following the meditation practice than when they hadn’t meditated for a 24-hour period.

Participants level of well-being was also measured using two measures — the satisfaction with life measure and the eudemonic well-being measure, which assesses satisfaction with autonomy, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, environmental mastery and self-acceptance. They found that the level of well-being increased with self-enhancement, this suggests that self-enhancement correlated with an increased sense of well-being.

Authors of the study concluded that “Ego-quieting is a central element of yoga philosophy and Buddhism alike. That element, and its presumed implications require some serious quieting is often called upon to explain mind-body practices’ well-being benefits. In contrast, we observed that mind-body practices boost self-enhancement and this boost — in turn — elevates well-being.”

Another Theory

An alternate explanation for this study suggests that the participants may be in fact doing meditation and yoga all wrong. The participants were all based out of Germany and many academics have theorized that the Westernized practices of Buddhism fail to include an eye towards selflessness that would otherwise characterize the goals of these efforts.

Westernized versions of yoga and meditation marginalize the acts when compared to the more ‘pure’ forms, if you will.

What Now?

Should you stop doing yoga and meditation or laugh at those who are committed to these practices? Absolutely not! This study serves as a powerful reminder that regardless of your practice or lack there-of, not one person is above anyone else, regardless of the activities they choose to do. Yoga and meditation can be great tools to assist us along our journey and find the clarity and insight that we may be needed, but just remember to always keep that ego in check. It is fine to have an ego — we all have one and I hate to break it to you, we can never get rid of it. But a good question to ask yourself is whether or not doing these practices makes you feel superior to others, and if so, why?

We are all on a path to self-discovery, and we are all just walking each other home. We all face challenges, and some of these practices can help us to handle ourselves differently in times of struggle, but in reality, we are all one anyways!

Much Love

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Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

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Awareness

New Study Shows What Disrupted Sleep Does To Your Mental Health

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study showed that those with less distinction with activity and sleep were 6 percent more likely to develop depression and 11 percent more likely to have bipolar disorder.

  • Reflect On:

    Your sleep is important. What are you doing to ensure you have good rest? Are you eating before bed? Using your phone? Both of these things contribute to poor sleep. You can use some of the tools below to improve your sleep.

We all know just how important it is to have a good nights rest, unfortunately for many of us, this is a fleeting dream. New research has emerged showing just how impactful a disrupted body clock and natural circadian rhythm can be for our mental health.

Researchers from the U.K. came to this conclusion after studying the circadian rhythm, which is our natural waking and sleeping patterns throughout the 24-hour sleep cycle.

Lead author of the study, Laura Lyall, a research associate in mental health and well-being at Glasgow University said in a statement, “In the largest such study ever conducted, we found a robust association between disruption of circadian rhythms and mood disorders.

“Previous studies have identified associations between disrupted circadian rhythms and poor mental health, but these were only small samples.”

The Study

Scientists from the University of Glasgow studied data collected on over 90,000 adults between the ages of 37 and 73 years old in the U.K., between 2006 and 2010. Each participant in the study wore an activity tracker on their wrist for 7 days between 2013 and 2015.

The data that was collected was used to calculate what is known as the relative amplitude. Researchers took note of how active the participants were in the busiest 10 hours of each day and compared that to their least active 5 hours in the day. The people with less of a distinction between active and resting periods scored a lower amplitude indicating that they were either not active enough during the day while they were awake or too active during the hours that are generally intended for sleep.

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Those who scored a lower amplitude were found to be at a greater risk for mental illness. Factors such as age, sex, smoking, childhood trauma, and educational attainment were also taken into account.

The study, published in The Lancet, showed how they were 6 percent more likely to develop depression and 11 percent more likely to have bipolar disorder. This particular group of participants were also more likely to feel unhappy, alone, unsatisfied with their health and even have slower reaction times.

Around one in 25 participants were about as active during the day as they were at night. These were “people who have very poor sleep hygiene, people on their mobile phones at midnight checking Facebook or getting up to make a cup of tea in the middle of the night,” Daniel Smith, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study, told the Times.

“It could be that there is a direct causal link where circadian disruption causes impaired subjective well-being and increases the risk of mood disorder. Or it could be the opposite, that this circadian disruption is a consequence of mood disorder and its associated risk factors,” said Lyall.

Despite these limitations, the researchers say accelerometry-derived relative amplitude is “relatively cheaply and easily measured and might be useful for identifying people at greater risk of major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, or subgroups of patients who might benefit from therapies aimed at improving circadian rhythmicity.”

Can You Relate?

I don’t know about you, but when I am restless at night or don’t get enough sleep I definitely feel it more during the day, with some mental fogginess and I find it much more difficult to find motivation during the day. Aside from the fact that we are on average not getting enough sleep, we, generally are out of sync with our natural circadian rhythms by being up late or sleeping well into the morning, regardless of the sunrise and sunset. Throw cell phones, tablets, blue light and EMF’s into the mix and it’s no wonder we aren’t finding the time to sleep and when we do, to actually sleep deeply.

While it can be difficult to change your sleeping patterns, it certainly could provide you with an extra boost of energy, clarity and perhaps even joy throughout your day. A good night’s rest is essential, some of the things you can do to ensure you are getting a good sleep are as follows:

  • Limit screen time to no later than one hour before bed, and use a blue light filter, or blue blocker glasses anytime you are staring at a screen when it is dark outside.
  • Try to go to bed a little earlier and wake up earlier. It is essential that we expose ourselves to total darkness while we sleep, it may be worth getting some really good curtains or an eye mask. Depending on where you live, waking up at sunrise and going to bed at sunset might be worth a try.
  • Keep cell phones and if possible all electronics out of your bedroom. Consider turning off your wifi router while you sleep at night as well as these have been known to disrupt melatonin production in the brain, which is essential for a good night’s rest.
  • Be sure and get some exercise during the day, even a brisk walk in the evening can help you to sleep better at night, but the more the better as your body will truly be tired and ready for bed. When we don’t get enough exercise sometimes our bodies are left feeling restless during the day.
  • Nothing beats a nice hot bath with epsom salts and lavender essential oil to help get you in a calm, relaxed and sleepy state of mind before bed.

What helps you get to bed at night?

Much Love

Get Your FREE In Depth Numerology Reading

Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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