Updated: Dec 9, 2018
Although the Holiday season has arrived many of us may still be feeling the aftershocks (figuratively and literally) from the Earthquake last Friday. Some of us may have lost our home, business, or personal property due to the earthquake and many of us are still struggling to cope with the emotional impact of the event. As you clean up and get back to normal activity the Holidays may feel somewhat overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you get through this season despite the added stress from the earthquake.
1. Spend Time with Family and Friends - Don't isolate yourself. Spend time with the people you love and enjoy! Sometimes fellowshipping with others who have lived through a similar experience can provide comfort and encouragement. Don't be afraid to share your feelings!
2. Practice Altruism - Doing something positive for others can help boost your mood. Get out there and volunteer to clean up, donate to a family in need, or simply pick up a piece of misplaced trash. Your act of kindness does not have to be grand!
3. Don't Overspend - The holidays can put so much pressure on us to show love through purchasing gifts. Often we can overextend our bank accounts during the holiday season which can cause us distress. You don't have to spend a lot of money to prove your love to others. Perhaps this year you could try to create handmade gifts from the heart. If DIY is not for you, consider doing acts of kindness for your loved ones instead!
4. Remember Your Health - A good diet and exercise can improve your overall health and help reduce stress. Remember eat well, drink plenty of water, and exercise. Even the smallest bit of movement can lift your spirits and elevate your mood. Reducing your sugar, junk food, and alcohol intake can provide you with a little extra energy to get out there and exercise!
5. Don't Hibernate - If you are anything like me you are finding it hard to sleep through many of the aftershocks from the November 30th earthquake. In order to help get good rest try to practice relaxation techniques right before bed. Some techniques I use are:
a) Focused Breathing - taking in deep, slow, long breaths through your nose and slowly releasing them through your mouth. While deep breathing try to focus solely on your breath entering in your body, filling your lungs, and then leaving your body through your mouth. I like to pretend my lungs are balloons and imagine them inflating and deflating as I breath. Try a few minutes of focused breathing right before bed.
b) A Body Scan - systematically tightening and relaxing your muscles. I prefer to perform a body scan after a few minutes of focused breathing. Find a comfortable spot and sit quietly. Starting at the top tighten (scrunch up) the muscles in your face and hold for 7 seconds. Then slowly relax your facial muscles until they are all in place. Next pull your shoulders to your ears and tighten those muscles holding for 7 seconds, then slowly relax them into place. Slowly repeat this process with the rest of your body.
6. Practice Gratitude - In times of stress it is always important to remember we still have things for which we can be grateful. Gratefulness increases our ability to remain optimistic which promotes creative thinking, positive emotions, and enhances our ability to remain resilient.