Deck The Halls With Peace And Calming, Fa la la la la

Holiday Stress and AnxietyAre you ready to ring in the holidays? Or does the thought of shopping, entertaining or attending busy events bring you closer to a panic attack?  Greening up your home and lifestyle can have a positive impact on your body’s ability to manage stress, but you have to be intentional and make good choices.

The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Years can be the most wonderful time of the year for many, but to those struggling financially, spiritually, emotionally or physically, it can be another source of added Stress, Panic Attacks and potential Anxiety.  For many, anxiety is a short term consequence of making poor lifestyle choices and committing to doing more than you can accomplish at home and work.  For others, these are real disorders and can be debilitating when symptoms continue for 6 months or more without relief after modifying your lifestyle. Regardless of what the root of your anxious problems are:  chronic illness, remembering the death of a loved one, or just getting caught up in the hype of marketing and overscheduling, there are many things you can do to promote some peace and calm in your life this season.

The symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks are a little different,

  • Panic attacks may include:  sudden overwhelming fear, sweating, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, fear of dying, trembling, heart palpitations.
  • Anxiety symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, sleep disturbances, muscle tension.
  • Depression symptoms vary, but often include: fatigue every day, feelings of worthlessness, thoughts of death or suicide, difficulty concentration, loss of enjoyment in every day life, especially interests that were pleasurable in the past, insomnia and restlessness.
The symptoms of panic attacks in particular may be indications of physical problems involving the heart, thyroid and blood sugar levels.  If you’ve made an honest attempt at adjusting your daily habits and still find no relief, make sure you connect with your doctor to make sure your basic body systems are in balance.  
If you have symptoms of depression, especially suicide or death, get help quickly from a family member, close friend, doctor or pastor.  Many symptoms of depression coincide with hormonal changes including puberty, pregnancy, and miscarriage. Don’t let yourself suffer with uncertainty, talk with someone soon and take the first step to dealing with any of these issues whether you think you need medical care or not. Depression and anxiety can also be triggered by major life changes, death of a loved one, social isolation or abuse. Surrounding yourself with support from friends, a church, and family is an important step to getting back into the normalcy of life after these events and can be important to your emotional health.
Don’t trade one set of symptoms for others Keep in mind that many anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants come with a long list of side effects, including addiction and depression.  Two of the most profitable drugs right now, Abilify and Seroquel, are  indicated for use as add on treatments for depression to those who have not responded to other anti-depressant or anti-anxiety therapies.  These two drugs have clearly listed side effects, one of them is suicidal thoughts, this just does not make sense.  Depression is often caused by a chemical imbalance, so it’s important to look at any daily habits that might disrupt your personal chemistry. Excessive caffeine intake, high sugar consumption, prescription and over the counter meds, even perfumes and colognes can disrupt your unique “normal” emotional and physical health. It would be smart to seriously evaluate these exposures and eliminate or replace for natural options where you can and continue to talk with your doctor about the best options for you. 
Obviously, there are situations where short term use of prescription drugs is necessary to bring someone into balance emotionally.  But if you are looking at drugs as a long term solution to keeping your body in balance without paying attention to your basic body needs, you’re setting yourself up for more complicated illness, physical or emotional in the long run.   
These little steps can be helpful in bringing some calm naturally this Christmas season. There aren’t any side effects other than a little more focus, peace and satisfaction that you took some time to care for yourself.
1. Play your favorite music – Anything that makes you happy works here. Just keep in mind that sometimes loud or heavy percussion music can aggravate your senses. Follow your body’s lead. Classical, acoustic, nature or spa sounds are always winners for bringing on the calm. To make the most of it, find a favorite place to listen. Playing music when you do work or chores is also a good way to pass the time and keep your mood elevated. Make the best choice you can if you are working to fight depression. Play songs with uplifting lyrics since you are listening at a subconscious level as well and want to feed your brain with uplifting or calming words.
2. Drink your milk – or take your calcium-magnesium supplement if you don’t do dairy. Magnesium supports brain health and calms an anxious mind. If you are restless at night, have leg cramps or toss and turn at bedtime, consider taking your supplement at bedtime. B-vitamins are also excellent for calming the mind and body.
3. Build margin into your schedule – Running yourself ragged leaves no room for unexpected opportunities that can brighten our day. An unexpected meet up, a conversation with a friend that took longer than expected, a detour in your day can put perspective into your life. Perspective is often the difference between half-empty, half-full attitudes and a flexible schedule will give you the time to shift to an attitude of gratitude.
4. Breathe – breath is essential to life, and it’s also important to keeping our central nervous system calm. We tend to hold our breath when in tense situations, putting us into that flight mode. Our body needs to come down from flight or over time we stress our body, namely the adrenal glands that produce that adrenaline. Throughout the day, pay attention to your breath. Are you holding your breath? notice and make a conscious effort to breathe regularly.
5. Diffuse some citrus essential oils – Lemon, lime, tangerine, grapefruit, bergamot are all happy essential oils. There is so much research showing the benefits of citrus, even in office settings. Put a drop on the collar of your shirt, a drop on a cotton ball in your purse or the car and breathe deeply.Essential oils that lift your mood
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