Can you believe it’s already the end of December?! First of all, Happy Holidays!! I wanted to take a special moment to share with you my recent article + meditation featured in Recovery Today Magazine:Recovery Today Magazine

With our warm ocean waters and eternal sunshine, the holiday season is in full swing here in Malibu.  At Soba Recovery Center our therapy sessions have been abuzz with conversations exploring the inevitable mixture of emotions that accompany the holiday season.  For many clients, this is their first time dealing with the storm of holiday emotions without their default coping tool – a haze of drug induced numbing.  

The truth is that even in the most idyllic of circumstances, during the stress of the holiday season, our moods and awareness can be far from peaceful.  Odds are that there will be moments…long moments…where instead of noticing the smell of cinnamon and pine or the softness of the morning light, our heads are filled with anxiety of the upcoming day, the family stress, and the to-do list; not entirely sure how we’re going to get through the day.

When our heads are spinning and our minds feel like they might explode, it is a sign that we need to take a time out, to take a few deep breaths and reset.  If you can, step outside and go for a conscious walk, breathe in fresh air, and notice, without judgement, your surroundings.  When we stop and notice what is happening in the world around us, we literally get out of our own way. We remind ourselves that there is a whole big world out there, much bigger than what is happening in our own minds.

Sometimes taking a walk is not an option, or it does not seem like one, especially when we are swimming in the overwhelming chaos.  So if you can’t get outside to clear your head, find a space inside for yourself (use the bathroom or a closet if you have to…), sit down, and take a few deep breaths.

If you have a few more minutes, put your headphones on and listen to a meditation.  The meditation below reminds us to take a few deep breaths; offering a space to reset, renew, and recenter. To show up in these difficult moments in a space of softness, love, and compassion. To breathe through it, making space within for the warmth and joy this season has to offer.

 

5 Ways to Stay Calm This Holiday Season:

5 Ways to Stay Calm1. Make a commitment to you:
What is something you do that you love, that brings you happiness?  Do you like to read a good book, do yoga, take a bath, go for a walk, cook with your favorite tunes on? Write down a list of a few things you love to do just for you and make a promise to yourself that you will make time every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, to take time for you.

2. Be Realistic:
The holidays are wonderful…and stressful.  Period.  It’s not the same as going to the Spa for a massage. Give yourself permission to recognize that this is how it is, and use that energy that you were spending on wondering why this season is chaotic and instead put the energy into spending time taking care of you.

3. Stay Present:
Family driving you crazy?  Taking a few deep breaths might be exactly what you need to find a reset button.  First, find an anchor in the house to remind you to breath.  Maybe it’s every time you notice the star at the top of your Christmas Tree you take three deep breaths.  Or anytime you turn on the oven to cook that yummy meal, take a breath!

4. Plan for Hugs:
What is your plan if things get way too overwhelming?  As in kids bouncing off the walls, dinner burning with 15 guests coming over in 5 minutes…. You might need a hug, or 2…or 10.   Give yourself permission to ask for lots of love this holiday season.  If you know that a holiday event might be stressful, make a plan to call a friend, a sponsor, or bring someone along for hugs and love.

5. Find Time to Meditate:
A daily practice of mindfulness meditation decreases stress hormones, lowers blood pressure, and regulates the mind for peace and clarity. Just a few minutes of belly breathing can dramatically increase our ability to feel safe and connect to those around us.