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Feeling Grinch-y?

Dr. Laurie on what you can do when merry and bright wears thin

My client came in and crossed her arms over her chest.

“I feel Grinch-y,” she announced.

“Tell me about it,” I suggested.

She began to describe the bad mood, the low energy and the general “I don’t care about the holidays” attitude. “It’s not me,” she confessed. “I like this time of year. But I just don’t want to be bothered right now.”

This is not an uncommon feeling. For many of us, the ceaseless push to be “merry and bright” wears thin. We don’t feel well. Things aren’t going as we hoped in life. There is money stress, disappointment, and oh, pain and fatigue. It’s enough to make anyone Grinch-y!

So here are three ways to handle the Grinch when he comes calling.

Let him in.

Usually when we start to feel bad or grumpy, we try to hide it –even from ourselves! We work to suppress those “negative” feelings. Accepting them as natural and even as something to be expected is a way to normalize what is happening and come back to balance.

Think of your Grinch-y self as that relative who comes to dinner. You don’t enjoy him, but he’s part of the family package, so you set him a place at the table. You acknowledge he’s there.

Don’t indulge him.

Just because you set him a place doesn’t mean he gets to dominate the conversation.

Go on about your business. Do your regular things. And then do one thing more. Add in a little comfort for yourself. These days are demanding. We find ourselves running around on behalf of everyone else.

One client of mine finds a book she’s been longing to read, and instead of “one more thing” on her to-do list before bed, she sneaks in a half hour early and indulges her love of reading.

A friend of mine keeps a bag of high end chocolate at her desk. “Just a piece in the afternoon” she says. “It’s my treat.”

Others find comfort in a quiet walk alone – just a stroll looking at the trees. Another schedules tea after work – even though there is “so much to do.”

You listen for what comfort you are longing for – and add that in. You indulge yourself – not the Grinch.

Remind yourself it all changes.

One thing the Grinch wants us to believe is that it will always be lousy. The pain of body, mind and soul are unrelenting.

Well, it’s just not so.

If you watch your pain, you see that it is not always the same. Yes, some days are lousy. But then some moments aren’t

It’s harder to catch those, because unfortunately we are hard-wired to notice what isn’t working more than what is. But when you choose to watch, and pay attention to the open calm, pain free spaces, you begin to see that they are there.

Same with the pain in our mind. You look up and catch a ray of sunlight that takes your breath away. The face of someone you love is smiling – at you!

Your soul pain eases when you remember that life is a gift – even with all its’ messy unpredictability and hard times, you breathe in a moment of grace and ease and you feel the purpose of your life is here.

The Grinch-y part of us can come into full power in this season .

Let him in, don’t indulge him, and remind yourself, “it does pass.”!

Greetings to you and yours this season, and may the new year hold peace and all good for you.

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