Next weekend is the beginning of Chanukah, and US Thanksgiving, a wonderful start to a month of eating and drinking for many of us. It’s also one of the most difficult months for many because it holds so many expectations and obligations.
Especially during this time, without sounding like a drudge, it’s so important to maintain a healthy balance. Being in balance means being in balance emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. If we are out of balance in any single aspect of our lives, we end up being out of balance as a whole.
Think about it: if I’m upset or anxious about something, that’s when I’ll trip and sprain my ankle, when I binge on chocolate, neglect anything physical that nourishes my body, “relax” by vegging out in front of the TV, and skip those things that bring me spiritual renewal because I’m “too busy”. If I mentally worry over something, that’s when I walk out in front of a car or drive through a stop sign, when I’m not really present for my family, and when I make absent-minded or unintentionally bad decisions around my physical health. If I overwork and neglect what really matters to me, I become emotionally depressed and survive on donuts and coffee. On the other hand, if I’ve suffered from some illness, that’s when I pay more attention to what I eat, and take the time to care for myself emotionally and spiritually. That is, until I end up with something that can’t be fixed in a short time.
Primarily though, during this season of what is meant to be a celebration with family and friends, but what can be for many a season of high anxiety and aloneness, it is our emotional well-being that we must nurture. Here are some things that might help you get through this time not only sufficiently but well …
- Take care of your emotional and spiritual needs every day. This may mean a special moment with your loved ones, quiet time every morning or evening, meditation, prayer, or a simple commune with nature. Make it work for you, even in a day bursting with obligations. The few moments you devote to your own well being will make all the other moments in your life flow.
- Exercize every day. Simply by taking the time to care for yourself physically every day puts something in the overall balance bank in your favour. This may be the time to sign up for some fitness classes, yoga, pilates, or if you’re really hurting, a personal trainer. Check out Brian Kotoka’s website www.foreveryoungtoronto.ca for more information on what is out there for you. If you really have very little time for this, commit to walking everywhere you can – make it work for you!
- Nourish your body as much as possible with healthy food choices. Instead of eating when you’re stressed, try a hot bath, a long walk, or a good book. See www.bite-out-of-life.com for information that can help you do this.
- If you are suffering physically, get help! If it’s a chronic soreness, check out a physiotherapist or related care giver (for instance www.yorkvillephysiotherapy.com); if you’ve worked up muscular stress, try a massage or a reflexology treatment (www.wingrovemassagetherapy.com); perhaps you are feeling a lack of energy and your doctor can find nothing – seek some supportive naturopathic treatment and advice (www.dramaurinaturopath.com). These are only a few suggestions and suggested resources. There are many other resources out there for you.
The thing is that you don’t have to suffer during this next 30 days. It’s your choice and there are many resources and people out there who can help you make this time truly worthwhile.
Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.