2 months ago

How to deal with our minds during holidays


How to deal with our minds during holidays

Our minds, in all of their magnificence, are only a part of who we are. A fundamental, valuable part, of course, but we cannot forget the role our bodies have in our mental health. This is especially important to remember when we are faced with depression, anxiety and other strong or difficult emotions that may arise during Christmas.

To consider our bodies as an important part of our mental health can be a challenging concept; it is much more common to think that our mental health is governed solely by the world of thoughts.

When we experience an emotion, it is a bodily experience! Our mind associates certain memories and beliefs with emotions and uses them in a wonderfully designed mechanism for keeping us safe.

However, when the beliefs that arise around our emotions do not serve us—for example, when we believe that Christmas is depressing—it is necessary to allow our minds and bodies to work together to move beyond those beliefs, and to adopt new ones that are aligned with the kind of life we want now.

How to adopt new and positive beliefs at holiday time 

How to adopt new and positive beliefs at holiday time

Try this. The next time you experience a difficult emotion, or feel immediately “triggered” by an event, follow these steps:

1. Notice what and where you are feeling sensations in your body.

“I feel tension in my chest when my friend asks me who I spend holidays with.”

2. Also notice any beliefs that arise. 

“Christmas makes me depressed.”

Oftentimes we only get to step two, and then make a rash decision like getting away from people who feel happy during Christmas, or trying to convince them that we all must suffer from depression at Christmas. But when we take a pause and connect with our bodies, we find opportunities to shift.

So, when you reach step 2, don’t stop. Keep going!

3. Allow the physical sensations of the emotion to move through your body.

“This feels uncomfortable, and I know it will pass. I got this. I can wait.”

4. After the emotion has run its course, bring some perspective to the thoughts that arose.

“It makes sense that my initial thoughts are to mistrust. I know my history. But maybe people around me want to include and welcome me because they care about me. Maybe I do want friends who notice and offer help when I am struggling. Maybe...”

5. Allow yourself time to let the thoughts settle.

You don’t have to grasp. Be easy with yourself and let the emotions and beliefs move around.

At some point you will feel clarity in your mind and body about how you feel, and with that comes the ability to choose what to do next.

Some ways you can support yourself: therapy, coaching or support groups

Some ways you can support yourself: therapy, coaching or support groups

There are all kinds of therapy modalities, such as talk therapy, somatics, cognitive behavior therapy, music and art therapies, just to name a few. 

When reaching out for one, be persistent until you find just the right fit! You might have to shop around and sometimes it takes a few sessions (or more!) to find both the right kind of therapy as well as the right practitioner.

There are a number of simple breathing exercises or techniques which can immediately support our emotional, mental, physical and psychological well-being.

Whether focused on an object, thought or activity, meditation can return us to a sense of connectedness through presence. However, if you are in a crisis or you do not have the skills and strategies to handle a situation, don’t worry: you are not alone! There are resources set up to help you!

There are a number of support groups available for just about any concern relevant to hospitality professionals. An impressive list (with links) can be found at Restaurant After Hours: Mental health advocacy, resources, and support for the hospitality industry.

Daily things you can do at work or home to nurture and stay connected with yourself

Daily things you can do at work or home to nurture and stay connected with yourself

1. Breathwork.

There are a number of simple breathing exercises or techniques which can immediately support our emotional, mental, physical and psychological well-being.

2. Meditation.

Whether focused on an object, thought or activity, meditation can return us to a sense of connectedness through presence.

3. Movement.

By physically moving our location or position we cause internal shifts.

4. Read self-help books.

Many fantastic books are available to read or listen to, and can bring great calm, perspective, entertainment and support to your life.

5. Listen to encouraging podcasts.

 For example, check out pleasehustleresponsibly.org.

IG: @pleasehustleresponsibly

6. Follow therapists and coaches on social media.

If you catch wind of quotes, concepts or new ways of thinking that inspire you, seek the source and follow them on IG, Twitter or other outlets. 

Recommended hospitality community-related IG account

Recommended hospitality community-related IG account

@blackgirlsdrink

@blackinhospitality

@dj_the_therapist

@gemini_rising

@laura.louise.green

@not9to5_

@pleasehustleresponsibly

@worth.association

Recommended mental and emotional well-being IG accounts to follow:

@dandelioninitiative

@inquisitive_human

@latinxtherapy

@_lisaolivera

@melissaparkssays

@mswjake

@seerutchawla

@whostoleserendib

@thisisyolandarenteria

We hope these tips and strategies will help you overcome any difficult emotions, anxiety or depression that may arise at this time of year. 

With practice, the powerful cooperation between your body and mind can lead you to a different perspective, and even to feeling gratitude. 

Maybe you’ll find yourself hugging the people you love, maybe sharing this special, often sensitive, holiday time will become a source of joy, not dread. Remember we are right here! We will always be here for you!