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How to Handle Holiday Stress and Depression Guide

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In this guide, I will give you some techniques for relaxing and feeling better for the holidays. All of the steps listed are meant to guide you in making holistic lifestyle changes to relieve stress, …

In this guide, I will give you some techniques for relaxing and feeling better for the holidays. All of the steps listed are meant to guide you in making holistic lifestyle changes to relieve stress, anxiety and depression for the holidays and beyond. For a clickable guide, please visit http://www.seekwithinyou.com/free-guide-how-to-handle-holiday-stress-and-depression

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  • 1. ! ! ! How to Handle Holiday Stress and Depression ! "We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see." Taoist Proverb

  • 2. Despite the main idea that most people are happy during the holidays, the holiday season can be very stressful for many people. The holidays can even bring on an episode of depression or exacerbate a person who is already experiencing depression. In this guide, I will give you some techniques for relaxing and feeling better for the holidays and beyond. ! ! Let’s first take a look at why most people experience stress and bouts of depression during the holiday season. The major reason this happens is due to their thoughts. For instance, thoughts about what happened in the past during this time of season. It could have been a loss of a loved one or a repeated situation that happens with a particular family member every holiday season. Thoughts about the future, such as will you have enough to buy gifts for everyone are also causes of stress. ! ! You see when you are thinking these thoughts, you are releasing stress hormones that are effecting you emotionally and physically. The longer you stay in this state of stress, the more damage is done by persistent and chronic stress hormones that are circulating in your body. As a result, in my opinion your foundation for dealing with the holiday blues is to start now with a regular meditation practice. Meditation affects the body in exactly the opposite way that stress does. It restores the body to a calm state, helps the body to repair itself, and prevents new damage due to the physical and emotional effects of stress.  When practicing meditation, your heart rate and breathing slow down, your blood pressure normalizes, you use oxygen more efficiently, and you sweat less. Your adrenal glands produce less cortisol and your immune function improves. Your mind also clears and your creativity increases. When you meditate, you learn to ground yourself and literally get out of your mind. This releases you from the borage of negative thoughts that cause a stress response.  Overtime, there is a shift into a more quiet, focused and tranquil mind. ! ! I know you may be thinking that it is the holiday season and you are too busy to start meditating now. Well, ask yourself, do you want to be in the same position next year? Next year do you want to be saying “I wish I had started this a year ago. I would then be more prepared for the holiday season and for life in general.” ! ! Keep in mind that when you meditate, you can feel the benefits of meditation instantly, such as feeling more relaxed and more euphoric. However, the lasting or residual benefits of meditation last longer, the more you practice meditation on a regular basis.! ! ! There are 3 basic techniques I teach to assist clients in my Meditation for Health Program and I will give you a simple breakdown of it here. The 3 basic techniques are: ! 1. Practice meditation regularly - meditation is your foundation! 2. Focus on feeling good ! 3. Incorporate simple holistic lifestyle changes! ! !
  • 3. Within each of the 3 steps, the variation is abundant. As a result, this 3 step process is highly customizable to your individual needs and desires.! ! Basic Step 1: Meditate! ! Meditation is your foundation, therefore, practice some form of meditation for at least 5 minutes a day. The idea of meditating for long periods of time may seem daunting to you, however, you can start your journey in as little as 5 minutes per day. Starting out with 5 minutes can have many benefits. First, it can keep you motivated because it is an easy goal to accomplish. Second, even with 5 minutes, you will start to notice the benefits. This again, will help to motivate you to do more and increase your time as you start to feel more comfortable meditating. ! ! Different Meditation Options (Choose 1): ! ! •! ! •! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Guided meditation - A good way to start a meditation practice is to do a guided meditation. Doing a guided meditation is great for beginners because sometimes focusing on someone’s voice helps you to easily center and calm yourself. I have created a 6-minute guided mindfulness meditation mp3 available that may interest you. http://www.seekwithinyou.com/books-guided-meditations/product/ 38-guided-meditation-for-stress! Mindfulness meditation - There are several ways in which to do a mindfulness meditation. In this particular meditation, you will use the breath to stay in the here and now. This is an opportunity for you to be with whatever your experience is from moment to moment. There is no judgement, only a simple observation of the present moment and sensations of your breath. When or if you find your mind wandering, acknowledge it without judgement and return your focus to your breathing. ! Instructions: ! Get into a comfortable meditation position, such as a sitting in a chair, crosslegged or even lying down. or kneeling position. Whatever position you decide upon, make sure your back is relaxed and erect. You want to make it easy for the energy/breaths to freely flow through your body during your meditation practice.! Become aware of the sensations of breathing. We are simply observing the breath so there is no need to change your rate of breathing, however, if that occurs that is okay. Notice the sensations of the breath as the air enters and leaves your nostrils, or passing through the back of your throat, or feel your chest or belly rising and falling. Do this with a sense of gentle curiosity. When you have found a place where you can feel your breath in comfortable manner, then try to keep your attention in that area. For an untrained mind, it is normal for your mind to wander. If your mind wanders to other thoughts, that is okay. As soon as you notice that your mind has wondered off, you are actually back in the present
  • 4. ! •! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! moment. Simply become aware of what you were thinking, gently label it as thinking, without judging yourself, then guide your attention back to feeling your breath. Each time you notice, all you need to do is bring it back. We are practicing a gentle training of the brain to remain in the present moment. ! Qigong Moving meditation - Qigong (also spelled chi gong or chi kung) is an ancient Chinese health system of healing and energy medicine. Qigong is a system practiced for health maintenance, healing and increasing vitality. It is the art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movement, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate qi. Regular qigong practice leads to better health, vitality and a quiet mind. ! For this qigong exercise, we will place our attention on the shoulder, neck and upper back area. So many individuals hold tension in this area. With this qigong exercise, you will be relaxing into the area and thereby opening up your energetic channels. When you open your channels, you increase the flow of healing energy to that area. In qigong, the intention is to focus on the coordinated movement with your breath in a relaxed manner.! Instructions:! Watch Video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca8ftRkn4gU! ! 1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your side. ! 2. Bend your neck to a 45-degree angle. ! 3. Inhale through your abdomen while raising your arms (try to take about 5 seconds to do this).! 4. Exhale and lower your arms (try to take about 5-7 seconds to do this).! 5. Turn your neck to the other side and repeat.! Tips! • Do the warmup exercise before doing this. Moving Meditation - Warmup | Qigong (Youtube video - https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Jn6SAhIAc_A )! • Practice this and the warmup exercise for 30-days and notice the difference in your shoulders, neck and upper back. ! • If you notice that your mind has wandered, gently bring your attention back to your coordinated breathing and movement.! • You may desire to place a heating pad on your neck during the exercise. This will also allow you to relax more freely into the movement.! • Try doing the meditation with music or outside with the sounds of nature. - If you meditate with music, choose music that is uplifting to you (makes you happy and smile) or music that is relaxing to you.!
  • 5. Basic step 2: Focus on feeling good! ! Have 3 “go to” methods that you can use, during times you notice yourself getting stressed. To explain this in simplistic terms, when you are stressed, anxious or depressed your mental/emotional as well as physical state are in a non-good feeling state. Basically, you feel bad. Physical signs could be a stomachache or tension. Mental/emotional signs could be feeling angry or worried. Becoming aware that you are feeling this way is the first step. Don’t worry about trying to notice it. The point is that when you notice it, choose one of your 3 “go to” methods and use them. These “go to” methods that you choose for yourself, are surefire ways that you have used before that make you feel good.! ! Examples:! - Find something that makes you laugh. You want something that you have easy access to so you can look at it or listen to it when the time is needed. For instance, if you have a funny picture, place it in a place where you look often. ! - Try some aromatherapy. Lavender is known for it’s ability to uplift the mood. Use lavender essential oil or a sachet of natural lavender flowers. Anytime you find yourself feeling uptight, take a sniff. Also, consider getting an aromatherapy diffuser so that the scent of lavender or whatever essential oil or combination you choose can permeate the room. ! - Listen to music that makes you feel good. ! - Practice Gratitude - If you have a history with certain family members or friends that causes you to feel stressed or depressed, then shift your focus in regards to them. Focusing on what you perceive to be someone’s faults only makes you feel bad. It only stresses you out. When you focus on gratitude, be it gratitude for things that are wonderful in them or gratitude for other things in your life, this makes you feel good. When you feel good, you are more relaxed.! - Alternate nostril breathing is a great way to bring you back into the present moment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCK1jBfRVsE! ! Write it down! Write down your “go to” methods and place them in a place that you look at everyday. See the example on the next page. It is called the Transitional Stage Guide and is taken from my free ebook, “Awakening to the Healing Powers Within: An Energetic Guide to Self-healing” You can download a free blank template of the guide by using this link: http://www.seekwithinyou.com/transitional_stage_guide.zip You can view the free copy of the ebook here http://www.seekwithinyou.com/Awakening-content.pdf ! ! Give yourself permission! Give yourself permission to feel good. If you need to step away for a moment to use your “go to” methods, then do that. 

  • 6. Basic step 3: Make some simple holistic lifestyle changes to assist you in making your overall life less stressful and more uplifting (Choose 1 or 2)! ! Examples:! - Declutter your household - In an open and clean house, one can feel more relaxed. Decluttering can be a simple and easy activity. Here are a few options to get you on your way. (1)Grab a simple large trash bag and see how quickly you can fill it. You can use the bag to collect trash or to collect a bag for Goodwill. (2) Give yourself 5 solid minutes and pick an easy room to clean. Just set a timer and get to work. You can even turn on some uplifting music to get you into or keep you into the mood.! - Find an outside activity such as dancing, zumba, painting, singing, tennis, etc that uplifts your spirit and do it as much as possible during the holiday season. http:// www.meetup.com is a great place to find activities that you love in your neck of the woods.! - Add some uplifting color to your household. Color is an excellent way to set the mood and tone of the home. Some colors are vivacious and energetic while others are much more calming and relaxing by nature. Here are a couple of options to easily add color to your home (1)Add a colorful picture; (2) Add colorful accessories such as pillows or blankets or (2)Add colorful flowers. They can be fresh or very realistic plastic. Bonus: If you use fresh flowers, then you can also smell them when you are in the mood.! ! ! ! Conclusion! ! All of the above listed steps are meant to guide you in making holistic lifestyle changes to relieve stress, anxiety and depression for the holidays and beyond. Feeling more relaxed and uplifting is a journey and can seem overwhelming at times. If this happens or you have additional questions, please feel free to contact me on my website http:// www.seekwithinyou.com/contact-me or use our new meditation forum to post your question. http://www.seekwithinyou.com/forum/index. You can also follow me on your favorite social media site.! ! ! • • • • ! ! Google Plus - http://google.com/+seekwithinyou! Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SeekWithinYou! Twitter - https://twitter.com/SeekWithinYou! Pinterest - http://www.pinterest.com/seekwithinyou/!

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