How to Survive the Holidays (Hint: It’s Probably Captain Obvious.)

How to Survive the Holidays

Resist compulsions
Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. (Yes, you can.)

Q: “How do we recharge so we have the energy to resist compulsions? I find my compulsions spike for a variety of reasons in the days with shorter daylight, less healthy eating (i.e. holiday parties and sweets) and the stress of shopping for a perfect gift every year.”

We are all resisting something and especially around this time of year, it’s even more challenging. Normal everyday routines get interrupted. Way too much sugar is consumed. The blue sky is rarely seen. 

How to Get Fortified During the Holidays

You could easily Google and learn what to do. Honestly, I bet you don’t even have to perform an Internet search to know how to get refortified. You know this stuff!

  1. Don’t overschedule. Put your mental health first.  
  2. Get pumped up or calmed down by listening to your favorite music. 
  3. Laugh and laugh again. “Big Bang Theory” does it for me! How about you? What makes you laugh?
  4. Call your guilt what it is (inappropriate.)
  5. Count your blessings. Practice gratitude.
  6. Exercise at least 7 minutes a day. Get your heart pumping!
  7. Follow your treatment plan no matter what! Don’t seek reassurance. Tease your OCD through exposure exercises. “Oh yeah, OCD! You think that bothers me? Ha! Watch this.”
  8. Eat a hearty breakfast. Refuel throughout the day on blueberries, nuts, seeds and even some organic honey. Substitute mango for cookies.
  9. Say no. Learn to be assertive. Say what you mean but don’t say it mean. Now is not the time to “yes” everybody! You don’t have enough fuel!
  10. Find a balance between “me” time and sociable activities. 
  11. Use aromatherapy, take Vitamin D and use a lightbox.
  12. Get grounded. Hug trees and play outside!
  13. Go off the grid and have a tech-free day. Find something to do that doesn’t involve a screen. 
  14. Plan a getaway for mid-winter or take a day trip.
  15. Say no to perfection and yes to learning. Watch this Kobe Bryant video on Growth Mindset vs. Success Mindset. He’s got it all figured out for you!
  16. Be willing and open to whatever happens next.

I doubt the list above is news to you. You can thread the needle through 1-16 and know you’ll be connecting one positive to another. Positive in equals positive out.

You know this stuff. It’s very tough for people to apply what they know. (This has been proven in studies.) It’s why repetition is a big part of ERP. You need practice. Practice makes…progress.

So, you know me…I like to think outside of the box. Let me try to add something else to your toolbox.

How to Get Fortified During the Holidays

Don’t ever forget that there are plenty of people in the same situation as you. Like others, you always get out of this mess. I think the Bible says it best:

“If one member suffers, all suffer together…and if one member is honored, we all rejoice together.”

~1 Corinthians 12:26

You Are Part of A Community

holiday stress
It’s you, and you and you and me, always.

It’s important to remember you are never alone. If you suffer we all suffer. The way I see it, no one is healed until everybody is healed. Even if you were cured of OCD, there’d still be others suffering.

“As long as someone is suffering so shall I.” 

There is pain all around us. I’m not trying to minimize your pain. I just think it’s pointless to strive to be free of pain. Even if I’m doing okay, I’m still going to feel pain if someone else is in pain. And you know what? I’m okay with that pain. 

We are all facing challenges and being tested in some way. We’re in this together. Believe in something bigger than you. Individually we are a cog in a big wheel. Together…there ain’t no mountain high enough.

Join something bigger than you, and you will get fortified.

**I belong to the Global Citizen community. This way I keep a bird’s eye view so that I don’t get too small in my thinking. (For example, I didn’t know you could buy a goat in a vending machine!)

The Power of the Heart

…and if one member is honored, we all rejoice together.

When a client breaks free from OCD, it’s the best day of my life. (I’ve had a lot of best days!) It happened this week!

Almost one year ago OCD hijacked her brain. She fought so hard to reclaim her life. It was clear from the moment I met her that she’d had enough of OCD.

The key to beating OCD

How did she fight? She stopped avoiding. She surrendered. “Maybe that will happen OCD, and if it does, so be it.” Surrendering is not giving up. It’s letting go. “I’d rather have that happen than live like this.” It’s knowing what you’re fighting for. “I care more deeply about this than that.” 

When a client breaks free, it’s like I’m meeting him or her for the first time. We’ve been working together but, it’s really been OCD in the room.

This week OCD wasn’t in the room. The day finally came. She looked peaceful. I could tell something had changed. She smiled and said, “I feel like myself again.” I couldn’t wait to do my happy dance! 

>> Happy Dance <<

To celebrate victories is an exchange of energy from the most potent electromagnetic field of the body—the heart.

I believe wholeheartedly the care you have for others can be transmitted and transferred to the people near your happy dance.

Imagine if we all did happy dances for each other.

9 thoughts on “How to Survive the Holidays (Hint: It’s Probably Captain Obvious.)”

  1. Loved this! Thank you for all the tips. December can feel so burdensome but unnecessarily so! I plan to utilize these tips… but still need the lightbox;)

  2. Great points as always, Tammy! I thought perhaps I could add a bit onto a few of them.

    *Get pumped up or calmed down by listening to your favorite music.

    One song that helps me out sometimes is called Mr. Blue Sky by ELO. It’s a very happy song and helps me get moving. The man who wrote it, Jeff Lynne, said this in a BBC Radio interview: “It was dark and misty for 2 weeks, and I didn’t come up with a thing. Suddenly the sun shone and it was, ‘Wow, look at those beautiful Alps.’ I wrote Mr. Blue Sky and 13 other songs in the next 2 weeks.”

    *Laugh and laugh again. “Big Bang Theory” does it for me! How about you? What makes you laugh?

    Once in a while, after I get up in the morning I look in the mirror and that will sometimes do it. However, it sometimes has the opposite impact so I can’t recommend that completely. There was something the other day that made me start to laugh that I found a bit odd at the time. I’ve been practicing mindfulness for the past few months … I’ve been trying to be right in the moment, taking in everything around me. I was meditating with my eyes closed and there was complete silence. All of a sudden, I heard some birds outside flying by and making noise, and I started to laugh a bit. I think it happened because I was RIGHT there, right in the moment. I wasn’t in the future, I wasn’t in the past; I was just taking everything in. It just shows that, for me, it doesn’t take complex things to make me happy. It can sometimes be the smallest thing that brings a smile to one’s face.

    *Count your blessings. Practice gratitude.

    This is a big one for me. I once read something like “Always count your blessings before you count your dollars.” While I may not always have dollars, I will always have blessings. I can see (somewhat), I can breathe, I can hear. Blessings also need not be complex.

    *Exercise at least 7 minutes a day. Get your heart pumping!

    As you’ve mentioned before, Tammy, the word emotion comes from the word for motion. If you’re exercising, you’re moving and releasing endorphins.

    *Get grounded. Hug trees and play outside!

    This is a great idea. Hugging trees and playing outside is a good thing. I’ve found out the hard way that hugging display trees inside stores is frowned upon. …Couldn’t explain my way out of that one.

    One thing I try to never forget is that laughter is one of the best medicines that exist, and it doesn’t cost a cent.

  3. Love this! Much needed and appreciated motivation and reminders. Graditude is a big one for me, and I’ve been working latley on focusing positive out/positive in. It’s easy to get wrapped up in negativity.

  4. This was a great! It is full of a great information and also gently pushed me to be more proactive my googling for other ideas. I’ve come up with a visualization for this time of year after reflecting on this post: one foot in front of the other= take a step for myself, and a step for another. I imagine myself walking and using both feet, with one foot doing something to maintain my resilience, and the other foot could be giving or doing for others or doing my hour of uncomfortableness. I imagine a nice stride of “do for others”/ “do for yourself” in alternating steps. Helps in keeping me focused on not overdoing it to impress others with that perfect gift, baked good, or outfit. Not 100% effective, as evidenced by my credit card balance since Black Friday, but a HUGE improvement over the last 6 or 7 Christmas. Taking care of myself this holiday has made room to actually ENJOY it again.

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