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How To Handle The Holiday Blues

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

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season is supposed to be the most delightful time of the year can leave many people feeling downright depressed, withdrawn and lonely.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.

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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.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Awareness

3 Powerful Tools to Help Overcome the Emotional Toll of the Pandemic

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

  • Reflect On:

    If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try these suggestions before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies.

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Every news cycle paralyzes us with fear of a new variant. Some feel grief over who or what they have lost or continue to have feelings of social disconnectedness. Despite what we have all been through, we need to start moving forward with our lives and truly live again. We must recognize that we have more control over our physical and mental health than advertised. The truth is that there are many helpful things that we can do.

PTSD is a stress-related disorder that may develop after exposure to a traumatic event or ordeal in which death or severe physical harm was a threat or occurred. Those with PTSD may experience agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, social isolation, flashbacks, fear, anxiety, depression, attention difficulty, loneliness, insomnia, or nightmares.

Trauma can lead to feelings of powerlessness, but powerlessness can also keep us trapped in a PTSD cycle. The psychological imprint of trauma rewires the brain. There’s an old saying in neuroscience: “neurons that fire together wire together.” Our brain neurons begin firing in the amygdala, the emotional part of our brains, during a traumatic event. People can get stuck in an emotional loop, and the rational voice in their heads does not weigh in. This looping can cause a person to respond disproportionately to stress – freezing, panicking, or acting out in anger. Some dissociate or enter a trance-like state. Maladaptive coping skills can sometimes develop. Cutting, burning, overeating, drinking, drugs, overspending, etc., is all an attempt to dampen our painful emotional feelings. So, to avoid getting stuck in a PTSD cycle, we must act and take our power back.

Time to seek out the most effective help so that we can feel calm and in control again. What can we do?

1. Boost Your Immune System

If you fear getting sick, it’s time to live a healthier lifestyle and boost your immune system. Sadly, we are taught (with the help of pharmaceutical dollars) that health comes from a needle or a pill. Our “experts” recommend masks, hand-washing, social distancing, and mRNA vaccines. Still, they seldom suggest a healthy diet, supplements, and other natural remedies to help improve our health and support the body to fight off illness and disease. Click here for my article that includes 16 Tips on Boosting Immunity.

2. Embrace Spirituality

Over the last 20 years, I have been honored to have worked with many great therapists, healers, spiritual leaders, and trauma survivors to witness the power of Spirituality in healing. Spirituality is an inner belief system providing an individual with meaning and purpose in life. Whether it involves a higher power, nature, religious rituals, meditation, mindfulness, or prayer, the premise is to stay connected to the core of who we are. That place of stillness within us holding the memory of wholeness, peace, inner strength, and balance – despite what has happened. A spiritual philosophy or practice can provide us with a bigger context for our experiences and clarify our purpose. Spiritual methods also connect us with a sense of community and support. Finding our tribe is essential in the face of trauma and loss. The spiritual journey often allows us to go inside ourselves and listen to our inner guidance and “knowingness.” The inner voice may know, for instance, that the virus will not hurt us, or what we are being told by the media is untrue. Spirituality also helps us shift our perspective from “why me” to “what can I do about it. It brings us a sense of power and control.

3. Guided Imagery & Bilateral Stimulation

Both tools are essential for the trauma therapy toolbox. They are noninvasive and helpful for overcoming the effects of trauma. Guided imagery can help us alter the negative or stressful pictures and thoughts in our minds and help us create new, more peaceful ones—a form of instilling positive affirmations. Before you read on, I thought you might like to download my 10-minute exercise. This science-based, comprehensive video will help you to cultivate a sense of inner peace and give you a way to help overcome the effects of this pandemic – GET IT HERE

Is There Science Behind This?

Science, yes. Magic, no. This method requires regular practice if you want to make lasting, long-term changes to the ways that you think and feel. The good news is that both guided imagery and bilateral stimulation are widely practiced and well-established practices. However, I recommend that if you are still struggling after repeated listening, you find a qualified trauma therapist to continue the work you have already started.

A Look At The Research

Guided imagery is a behavioral technique using a series of verbal suggestions to guide oneself or others in visualizing an image in the mind to bring a desired response in the way of a reduction in stress, anxiety, or pain. A growing list of empirical literature supports the use of these techniques in various physical and emotional conditions. Guided imagery resulted in a clinically significant reduction in PTSD and related symptoms in a returning, combat-exposed active-duty military population. Positive affirmations can positively affect the brain’s circuitry. There is MRI evidence suggesting that specific neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks.

Numerous research articles have established that bilateral stimulation is one of the most effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some therapists practice Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a combination of psychotherapy and bilateral stimulation. EMDR is very effective for treating a wide range of mental health issues due to emotional and physical trauma. During bilateral stimulation, patients tend to “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. And, often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self.

“Bilateral Stimulation induces a fundamental change in brain circuitry, similar to what happens in REM sleep. It allows the person undergoing treatment to process and incorporate traumatic memories into general association networks in the brain. This therapy helps the individual integrate and understand the memories within the larger context of their life experience.” – Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School

Takeaway

If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try the above suggestions and download my helpful video before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies. Also, you can discover the many mind-body practices you can do at home to help manage stress more successfully and so much more. SIGN UP HERE to receive your free download today. To purchase my book Healing Without Hurting, click here.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Awareness

Boosting Your Mood and Improving Your Health With Vitamin D

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? When is the last time you checked your Vitamin D levels?

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? It appears vitamin D deficiency may be to blame.

Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation. The beneficial effects of vitamin D on protective immunity are due in part to its impact on the innate immune system and has numerous effects on cells within the immune system. Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining the proper balance of several minerals in the body. And, it helps to ward off the flu and many viruses and treat them. The latest research links vitamin D deficiency to many disease states. These disease states include cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and just about every other degenerative disease.

 “Vitamin D reduces depression. In a randomized, double-blind study, People with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed a marked improvement in their symptoms.” – Journal of Internal Medicine

According to the Nutrition Research Journal, as many as 80% of people are deficient in vitamin D. Inadequate exposure to sunshine, poor eating habits, malabsorption, the VDR genetic mutation, and accelerated catabolism due to certain medications, dark skin pigment color, and too much sunscreen can be to blame. 

A doctor can check vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. Many mainstream doctors will suggest that you are within normal limits if your levels are 20-30ng/mL. However, for optimal health, the Endocrine Society and many functional medicine M.D.s and naturopaths will recommend levels of between 40-70 ng/mL for both children and adults. These doctors will also recommend a more aggressive replenishment program. For example, at age five, my son’s level was 24. The pediatrician recommended 500iu daily of supplementation, while our naturopath recommended 5,000iu daily for six months before retesting. Six months later, his levels were almost normal. 

“Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia, as well as increasing concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines” – PubMed

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Get enough sun. Vitamin D3, “the sunshine vitamin,” is the only vitamin your body that is made, with the help of the sun. So be sure to get enough sun exposure to help the body make this essential nutrient. Hold off trying to protect ourselves from the rays of the sun at every turn by slathering sunscreen. Allow yourself to play outside, garden, and enjoy the rays in moderation.

If you must use some sunscreen, avoid chemical sunscreens made with toxic chemicals that cause thyroid dysfunction, endocrine disruption, allergies, organ toxicity, reproductive toxicity, skin cancer, development, brain, and metabolism problems. Shop for natural mineral-zinc-based certified products instead. When exposed to scorching climates or in the sun for extended periods, we use sunscreens by Babyganics, Badger, Babo Botanicals, and Goddess Garden products.

Eat a well-balanced diet, with foods higher in vitamin D. Although it is believed that we only get twenty percent from the foods we eat. Some foods higher in D include cod liver oil, fish, oysters, eggs, and mushrooms. 

Get checked for the VDR mutation. A blood test will determine if you have mutations in the vitamin D receptor. The consequence can be lower vitamin D levels and the inability to absorb vitamin calcium and many other minerals properly. According to a 2020 scientific report, supplementation of vitamin D can help improve VDR gene expression, so more supplementation may be necessary if you have this mutation.

“Something so simple. Vitamin D supplementation could improve the health status of millions and so becomes an elegant solution to many of our health problems today.” – Carol L. Wagner, MD – Medical University of South Carolina

Supplementation 101. Supplementation is often critical if you cannot properly metabolize or absorb enough vitamin D or not get enough sunshine. In areas with long winters and specific populations of people with darker skin color, supplementation may be even more critical. There are many supplements on the market. However, many tablet forms are not as bioavailable and harder to absorb. Therefore, it has been recommended that liquid forms are better. In addition, liquid D is often suspended in olive oil, which helps the vitamins to absorb more easily since it is fat soluble. One of my favorite brands is by Seeking Health. It does not contain any impurities or allergy-inducing ingredients. 

Final Thoughts

Boosting the immune system naturally works on your body’s innate wisdom. It supports the body to operate like a well-oiled machine, protects it from unwanted pathogens and disease, and helps ensure a healthy body and mind.

To receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety, and more without medication SIGN UP HERE or purchase my book Healing without Hurting.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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General

Are Lockdowns Affecting Children?

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CE Staff Writer 2 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We spoke to activist and mother Stephanie Sibbio about her co-creation of an organization called 100 Million Moms which seeks to empower women to stand up against injustices.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we choosing virus mitigation methods that are short sighted and harmful over the long term? Are they more harmful than the virus itself?

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The potential downsides of lockdowns during pandemics have been explored quite a bit – and the truth is the scientific community is quite divided on whether it’s the right move. On one hand a case can be made for effectiveness of lockdowns, but at quite a cost, while on the other hand many have shown lockdowns to be ineffective in slowing spread. How a study is organized and conducted can also dramatically change results.

Interestingly a study in Nature showed that “less disruptive and costly NPIs can be as effective as more intrusive, drastic, ones (for example, a national lockdown).” This essentially states that governments could choose effective ways to mitigate virus spread effectively without inducing unwanted and long term side effects on society as a whole via lockdowns – regardless, lockdowns are still widely being used.

One question we might have is, what about factors that are not so easy to measure right away? Things like long term psychological damage of being constantly stressed, out of touch with community and friends, and confined to our homes. What affects are children experiencing in their development and learning? We may not know exactly for quite some time.

I felt inspired to speak to a mother who has not only be asking this question with regards to her child, but who has decided to do something to push back against government measures, like lockdowns, that many citizens and scientist don’t agree with.

Along with another activist, Stephanie Sibbio created a movement called 100 Million Moms who, as their Instagram states, are a rights-based movement empowering moms all over the world to stand up against injustice. We advocate for natural health & medical freedom.

I spoke to Stephanie about how she has seen lockdowns affecting children, and her story in co-creating 100 Million Moms. In this discussion you will learn how you can get involved as well.

Further Discussion

A large meta analysis on mask wearing has shown that children are having physiological issues and learning challenges with prolonged mask wearing.

A group of doctors did a panel worth considering that discusses the potential harms of lockdowns and the science that supports the idea.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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