November is here, which means gratitude season has arrived! While this is a season for celebration, so many of us are truly struggling to feel grateful. With the pressure of family gatherings, high school reunions,and holiday parties, we also see a big increase the number of break-ups right before the winter holidays. During this time of the year we also eat more and consume greater alcohol. In a report released by Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS) about the drinking behavior of over 450,000 DUI offenders who were monitored 24/7 for alcohol consumption, drinking violations for the monitored group jumped an average of 33 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, compared to the average violation rate the rest of the year. Likewise, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that tends to occur (and recur) this time of the year as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. It is estimated that SAD affects 10 million Americans. Another 10 percent to 20 percent may have mild SAD.
It is easy to understand why so many may struggle with feeling grateful right now. What if we could use this season to be grateful for our emotional pain? I believe that even in the ugly, tragic and painful times in our lives, beauty can emerge. Take a moment and recall all of those times that working through challenges has made you a wiser, stronger, more empathetic, vulnerable, and a gentler version of yourself. It's magnificent to witness all of the beauty that exists within our pain. Which is why, I am excited to launch #NoPainNoGainNovember. During the month of November I will be sharing how we can discover and honor all of the reasons to be grateful for our pain. Join me in being grateful, not only for the light but for the darkness that has allowed us all the chance to shine brighter.
Below please find 3 tips on how to work through your pain points this season. Sending warm wishes your way and an encouragement to find gratitude during #NoPainNoGainNovember.
Family Gatherings: For many, the biggest source of holiday stress is dealing with family -- the family dinner, toxic relatives the obligations, spending money and the burden of family traditions. I advise you to be honest with yourself and ask, “What do I have to do?” Sometimes we have more choices than we give ourselves credit for. Look where you can set limits whether it’s by avoiding conversations, staying with relatives for a night vs a weekend or inviting in a new tradition.
Overconsumption With Eating & Drinking: I’m all about making mindful and not mindless choices! We benefit so much from slowing down (eating, drinking and probably everything)! I love food and don’t believe we should deprive ourselves. But I do portion control, only eating when you are hungry and keeping a food diary so you can be aware of what you are eating.
Daylight savings (days are shorter/gets darker earlier). Seasonal Affective Disorder is very real and painful for so many of us. No matter how dark and icy the winters can get, the good news is that, like other forms of depression, SAD is treatable. I recommend making sure you get outside and take a short walks. Additionally, increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sit near windows will help. Exercise is always a wonderful self-care strategy. During this time get enough rest, spend time with loved ones and be kind to yourself!
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Sending you peaceful thoughts and wishes for brighter days.