By Sheila Menon
The holidays are packed with fun, food and STRESS! In fact some studies show that stress increases by up to 40% during this period.
There are a few reasons for this – children are on a long break, the expectation for fun is high, we have less time to juggle more parties, pay more bills and negotiate family commitments and visits. In fact the time of joy is also traditionally a busy season for therapists.
Most people know that relaxation and self-love techniques provide a good antidote to stress. But it can be hard to maintain a happy smile or affirmation as your routines collapse.
People compensate by eating more and often alcohol levels increase too. With more parties and the children home, sleep becomes compromised, exercise forgotten or disrupted, “me time” sacrificed and emotions run high leading to big and small arguments.
Remembering to include a bit of relaxation or personal time can work wonders for one’s sanity. Simple tips to survival include starting a trend of walking with the children or getting everyone to design a healthy family dinner.
When all else fails, try imagining what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes, count to ten, or visit a clinical hypnotherapist to learn how to stay calm for the Christmas holidays.
Research shows that the holidays can highlight feelings of unfulfilled promises, loneliness, sadness and even trigger depression.
These feelings are usually present but go unnoticed for most of the year, because they are easier to bury when you are busy with school runs, tuition and work deadlines.
However, these often surface during the festive season and sometimes even at birthdays or similar celebrations as an unwelcome reminder that everyone is supposed to be happy, even you.
Sometimes a little personal pampering is all you need. The holiday season is tiring and a bit of rest, a massage or me time can return your sense of equilibrium.
Far from being selfish, this reprieve helps give you the energy to make Christmas special for everyone else, and as your own mood lightens up, you are able to share the goodwill with others.
Another fail-safe is to maintain or start an exercise routine. Just 20 minutes of brisk walking can get the body’s natural feel good neurotransmitters working. This offers a counter-balance to feelings of fatigue, sadness and loneliness.
But there has been a growing trend towards stress. More people are tense at work and frustrated at home.
In Malaysia, the incidence has increased by 50% in the last five years according to the Malaysian Psychiatric Association with one in five people at risk.
This means that if you are still feeling emotionally under the weather, then a visit to a clinical hypnotherapist for a mental detox and boost might be exactly what you need. It could even be a yearly present to yourself or someone you love.
Clinical hypnosis is a method of creating deep relaxation very quickly. You can either visit a clinical hypnotherapist, close your eyes and let the stress and worries melt away. Or you can learn the art of self-hypnosis so you can create the benefits for yourself anytime.
The therapy is very safe, and helps you unlock your motivation and inner strength. A natural consequence is that your positive mood improves and so does your will power, which can help with weight management, saying no when you need to, and even finding the energy to resolve conflicts on the home front.
It is also deeply relaxing and one of the most effective drug-free methods to end insomnia.
Therapy costs usually between RM300–RM400, but students at the London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH Asia) are sharing the Christmas spirit by offering clinical hypnosis sessions for RM50* throughout the holiday period.
This could be your opportunity to distress or pick the perfect treat for someone you know to mentally detox this Christmas.
10 tips for a stress-free holiday
1. Schedule “me time” – it is important
2. Don’t forget to walk or exercise
3. Get some sleep – or see a clinical hypnotherapist to show you how
4. Eat healthy – some of the time!
5. Write a list of what makes you feel good and do something each week
6. Shop early and avoid last minute stress
7. When angry, breathe! If still angry count to ten, then respond.
8. Say “no” to sugar or sugary foods
9. Do something new
10. Be generous with your compliments – they are free
Sheila Menon is Principal of the London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH Asia).
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.
* Limited offer