Dr. Laurie discusses the added cultural stresses of the holidays and how to counteract them.
It is the season of “over do” – the time of year when we find ourselves doing way more than we need to – and why? It’s cold and dark ( at least where I live) but even in sunnier climates it is the end of the year and things are slowing down, and yet we run around as if our lives depended on it.
In a phonecall with my mother this morning she outlined how she was going to spend the afternoon making three ( not one or two but three) kinds of cookies to take to a meeting. My mother hates to make cookies. As soon as I could reach the counter she gave that job to me – and I have been happily doing it ever since. I genuinely love to make cookies – but she doesn’t. “Why are you making yourself do this?” I asked. “Because - oh I don’t know.”“Why don’t you buy the cookies?”“You can’t buy Christmas cookies! “she responded.Oh. It’s those inner “shoulds” and “musts” that drive us crazy. We have to have homemade latkes. There need to be perfect gifts for all. That take a lot of time and attention to find ( or heaven forbid, make). You have your own version. Now add living with a chronic illness to all this cultural and religious craziness – and you have a recipe for real trouble.So I am giving you permission – and encouragement to take some time in the next few weeks to do nothing productive. Just sit. Or lie down.Put your feet up and contemplate a fire or a view or the mess you haven’t picked up yet and smile. Yes, smile. Research shows that when we activate our bodies in a certain way, we begin to feel the feeling. Smile. Give yourself a loving pat on the back. You are doing just fine. You are doing enough. You are enough. Breathe that in.Now smile again and send some of that loving energy to someone who needs it this season. You don’t have to do a thing – just send them the gentle thoughts. Remind yourself that that’s why we’re here – to send that love. To enjoy what is – not what we whip ourselves to create. Soak in the pleasure of this very precious moment and let yourself be.And have a relaxed and very happy holiday.
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