Charlie Brown’s Guide to Holiday Depression

Many view the Christmas season as a wonderful and joyous time of year filled with decorations, lights, parties, food, and gifts. However, not everyone feels this way about the holidays. While it is a complete myth that suicides increase during the holidays, anxiety and depression do, in fact, increase. I knew my article for today would focus on dealing with holiday depression. However, my research took me in a quite unique direction. I always follow my heart when I look for blog topics and I’m often quite surprised where it takes me.

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As I did research for today’s article, I came across an interesting video I’d like to share with you. The video takes an in depth look at the Charles Schultz Christmas special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and how it relates to holiday depression and the meaning of Christmas.

A Charlie Brown Christmas –

Coping with Holiday Depression

The video summarizes the theme and storyline of the show, while showcasing Charlie Brown’s holiday depression and quest for the true meaning of Christmas. Throughout the show, Charlie Brown witnesses his friends and even Snoopy as they succumb to the shallow corporate version of Christmas, such as wanting money/gifts, desiring a showy aluminum tree or big lighting displays. Charlie is saddened by this and searches for a more meaningful holiday. He is tasked by his friends to purchase a tree for the Christmas play and finds what he thinks is the perfect tree, a spindly little tree, which he views as a rejection of the fake corporate holiday.

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As you can imagine, this doesn’t go over well. After being laughed at by his friends, Charlie can’t handle anymore and screams “DOESN’T ANYONE KNOW THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS?”  Linus happily complies, by reciting from the Gospel of Luke. After this, everyone seems to realize where they’ve gone wrong, and help Charlie bring his little tree to life.

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How does any of this relate to holiday depression? As it turns out, quite a bit. In my search for tips for dealing with holiday depression, I realized many aspects of this Charles Schultz classic, have tips embedded in the story line. The following tips are from www.healthstatus.com and www.psychologytoday.com, but also coincide with this classic Christmas tale.

Tips for dealing with holiday depression (1, 2)

  1. Don’t worry about trying to be like everyone else. Don’t compare your holiday with movies or what society dictates. Don’t try to make a corporate, or  cutout Christmas. Instead, make it your own.
  2. Donate money to a charity instead of buying mindless gifts.
  3. Don’t fuss about the small stuff. Don’t run yourself into the ground trying to make everything perfect.
  4. Help others… Help a friend who is sad. Volunteer to help the homeless or those less fortunate. “Christmas is supposed to be giving; make a happy dent in the lives of others.
  5. Get others to help out.  “Don”t do everything yourself. That in and of itself is depressing.
  6. Don’t be alone or isolate yourself. Find a way to join in with family, friends or the community.
  7. Don’t spend too much money. “Remember it’s not about the presents, it’s about the presence.
  8. Learn to forgive and accept others. Chances are, if someone does annoying things, that’s not going to change. Don’t get angry or upset by someone being themselves. Accept people for the beautiful and flawed people God made them to be.

Closing thoughts:

Christmas was once my favorite holiday. I love giving gifts, and seeing the look on peoples’ faces as they open my surprise. As I’ve grown older, however, I became very much like Charlie Brown did, frustrated and disillusioned by the corporate, stale and fake nature of Christmas.

Over the last few years, I’ve changed the way I view Christmas. It’s more about spending time with family and celebrating our lives together. At the end of the day, isn’t that what really matters?

Until next time….Namaste my friends.

Tamara

SOURCES:

  1. https://www.healthstatus.com/health_blog/depression-stress-anxiety/holiday-depression/
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-fitness/201112/10-tools-dealing-holiday-stress-and-depression

The Wellness Mindset: 3 Areas of Wellness to Focus on this Holiday Season

The holidays are meant to be a time of rest, relaxation, hibernation, gratitude, and togetherness. Unfortunately, modern society and commercialism have changed the meaning of our traditions. We no longer slow down to reflect and celebrate with the ones with love. Instead, we work ourselves even harder to afford the material gifts we feel so pressured to buy, and we celebrate by overindulging in foods that only increase our stress.

To combat the holiday blues and get back to the real meaning of the season, here are three different areas of wellness to start focusing on, with healthy tips and solutions to bring with you into the new year.

Mental wellness and combating anxiety

As the end of the year approaches our mental health is usually the first in terms of overall wellness to become unbalanced. Between the holiday stress, seasonal depression, and self-reflection, it can be difficult to find the joy we once felt as children during this time of year.

If you have not yet started a self-care routine, now is the perfect time to develop one! Start by penciling in the time to yourself and say no to anything that tries to get in the way of that. Even if only for 15 minutes a day, take a moment to step away from whatever is keeping you busy. Take a walk in the cold, brisk air and focus on your senses. What does it feel like to be cold? What do you hear? What do you see? Focus on your breath and repeat positive mantras before returning to what you were previously doing. Doing this allows you to enjoy being in the here and now, replacing your negative emotions with gratitude for the present.

If this time of year induces feelings of anxiety and depression, you’re not alone. Click here to read the post: Charlie Brown’s Guide to Holiday Depression.

Physical wellness and nutrition

Much of our end-of-year stress and anxiety can be controlled by giving a little extra attention to our physical wellness. Living a more active lifestyle can help keep some of that stress at bay. Try starting each day by completing a quick guided yoga session on YouTube, take a walking break in the middle of your workday, and get in a cardio or weight lifting session before you head home for dinner. Of course, not many of us can realistically fit this into our schedules every single day, but even implementing three to five days of exercise per week reaps significant physical and mental benefits. Not only will you begin to feel less bloated and more toned, but working out will give you more energy and can help clear your mind of negative thoughts.

Nutrition comes hand in hand with physical activity when trying to control stay healthy and stress-free. Some may even argue that if you had to choose between diet and exercise, you should choose diet. There are so many factors that keep us from eating healthily throughout the year– busy schedules make it tempting to grab take out on the way home and working at an office makes it easy to take one of those donuts up for grabs in the kitchen. The holidays only intensify those urges and increases opportunities to consume foods that make us feel bloated, sluggish, and depressed. Reports suggest that the average person gains between seven to ten pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year, setting you back when entering the new year and putting you at risk for weight-related diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

If comfort food is causing you to gain weight, consider joining a guided weight loss program that allows for flexibility in moderation so you don’t have to feel like you’re completely missing out on holiday celebrations. Check out this page dedicated to healthy and easy-to-make meals. Try bringing a few of these dishes to your next holiday party so you don’t have to feel like unhealthy options are your only choice!

Resolutions and goal setting

How many times have you made resolutions in December, but completely forgot about them by January or February? Chances are, you’ve set goals that are either too big or too broad. This year, try sticking to one thing– and get specific! Instead of setting out to “lose weight” this year, it helps to first focus on the bad health habits you currently have that need to be changed. Instead, focus on making it a goal to cut out processed foods, meal prep every Sunday, or quit smoking so workouts become easier and not so dreadful. From there, come up with your next step towards weight loss by writing out a measurable and achievable goal, for example, getting in a half-hour workout three times per week. Once you’ve mastered that, increase your goal to four days and so on. Setting smaller, more attainable goals and reevaluating as you go is much more effective than simply deciding on January 1st that you want to lose fifty pounds this year.

For more information on goal setting read this post on how to write a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Closing Thoughts

The holidays can be a stressful time of year for many, but with a little effort, the holidays can provide us with a great opportunity to evaluate our current mindset and habits, and can set us up for our happiest, healthiest year yet!


Dear readers: This article was submitted by a wonderful guest author. I’d like to send out a great big thank you for the insightful and informative article that was shared with my readers.


Sleep tips: How To Fall Asleep In 40 Seconds

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. Oh let’s face it, I have all out insomnia. So, I’ve decided to share sleep tip videos this week.

Today’s video will give you some great and unique tips to fall asleep quickly.

 

How to do Sleep Yoga for Deeper Sleep and Help Insomnia

Did you know that 7%-19% of US adults aren’t getting enough sleep? Why is sleep so important? People who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as a weakened immune system. Lack of sleep can also cause moodiness, clumsiness and lack of concentration. (3)

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately, so I’ve done some research on tips to help combat this insomnia rut in which I seem to be stuck. Sleep yoga or bedtime yoga was one of the things that kept popping up. I decided to write an article to share with all of you and have included 3 short sleep yoga routines below.

Believe it or not, there are studies linking yoga with improved sleep, Researchers at Harvard Medical School conducted research on “how daily yoga might affect sleep for people with insomnia” and twenty people finished this small 8 week study, The subjects kept a sleep diary for 2 weeks prior to the study as well as throughout the course of the 8 weeks. At the beginning of the study, they were given basic yoga training and asked to maintain daily yoga for 8 weeks, while keeping a sleep diary. “They kept a record the amount of time spent asleep, number of times they awakened during the night, and the duration of time spent sleeping between periods of waking, in addition to other details about nightly sleep amounts and sleep quality.”(2) 

The researchers found improvements in several areas (2):

  • Sleep efficiency
  • Total sleep time
  • Total wake time
  •  The amount of time it takes to fall asleep
  • Wake time after sleep onset

For yoga to benefit your sleep, however, it must be the right kind of yoga. So here are a few tips to get you started (1):

  1. Choose the right style. Some types of yoga, such as vinyasa yoga, or flow yoga are designed to energize and get the blood flowing. Better choices are “hatha yoga, which focuses on body position, or nidra yoga, which focuses on breathing and restorative poses“.
  2. Set the scene in a proper location, other than the bedroom. Experts say that the bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex, so when doing sleep yoga, find a location in your home where you can stretch out, in a carpeted room or on a yoga mat. Play some relaxing music; light some candles; get some pillows.
  3. Focus on your breathing. The breath is one of the most important aspects of yoga. Your aim is to be in the here and now, allowing your thoughts to float away. If you find your mind wondering, don’t berate yourself, just let them float in and out of your mind, then refocus on the present moment. With practice, this will get easier.

Now that you know it works and a few tips, here are 3 short routines to get you started.

Tara Stiles:

Treat Insomnia with Yoga

Yoga For Sleep

Easy Bedtime Yoga

5 Minute Miracle

7 Minute Bedtime Yoga –

Yoga With Adrien

Closing thoughts:

I’ve been wanting to include more yoga in my daily routine anyway, so this seems to be the answer for which I’ve been searching. I’ll be setting a few goals and keep you up to date in my Fit by 50 journal, which comes out every Thursday.

Until next time…namaste my friends.

Tamara

Sources

  1. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy-sleep/sleep-better/yoga-for-sleep
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201210/yoga-can-help-insomnia
  3. https://bestinyoga.com/does-yoga-help-you-sleep/

Sleep tips: Sleep Hygiene Tips

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. Oh let’s face it, I have all out insomnia. So, I’ve decided to share sleep tip videos this week.

Do you have proper sleep hygiene? Today’s video will help you figure out your nighttime routine.

 

 

Sleep tips: Tips to Stop Insomnia and Get Back to Sleep

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. Oh let’s face it, I have all out insomnia. So, I’ve decided to share sleep tip videos this week.

Today’s really quick tip come from National Jewish Health, and is a great tip if you’re having trouble falling asleep…

 

 

Sleep tips: Mayo Clinic Minute~ Tips for Better Sleep

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. Oh let’s face it, I have all out insomnia. So, I’ve decided to share sleep tip videos this week.

Today, I have a “Mayo Clinic Minute: tips for better sleep”

 

 

How to do Laughter Yoga

I must admit, this one was a bit odd to me, and not something I’ve ever tried, until I sat down to research this post. I felt quite silly and made sure I was alone, as I was participating in the videos below. However, isn’t that the whole purpose…to be silly?

What I found? It was fun and my laughter, which began fake, became genuine in the end. As my research indicates, laughter is INCREDIBLY beneficial. You reap the benefits of an aerobic workout by GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS OF LAUGHTER. In other words, it doesn’t have to be genuine laughter, because your body can’t tell the difference.

Benefits of laughter – Shares benefits with aerobic exercise! (1)

  • The movement of the diaphragm floods the body with oxygen.
  • Releases the same endorphins which cause the effect known as “the runners high” In fact, it has been found that endorphins increase by approximately 27%
  • Research shows that HGH (the anti-aging – human growth hormone) increased by 87% when subjects THOUGHT ABOUT watching a funny movie.
  • Reduces stress hormone levels, such as cortisol and adrenaline.
  • A good laugh burns 3 1/2 calories
  • Exercises the abs, as well as the shoulders
  • Laughing for 15 seconds adds 2 days to your life
  • Helps eliminate negative emotions such as fear, sadness, and anger
  • Improves circulation and cardiovascular health
  • 15 minutes of laughter is equivalent to 2 hours of sleep

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The history of laughter yoga (3)

In 1995, Dr. Madan Kataria was writing an article entitled “Laughter – the best medicine”. He discovered the many wonderful, and proven benefits of laughter. Inspired by what he found, Dr. Kataria decided to test the impact of laughter on real individuals.

On March 13, 1995, he ventured to a local park, and recruited 4 people to start a “laughter club”. They began laughing in the park, and the group quickly grew to 50 participants. They began by standing in a circle, with one person in the middle telling jokes. As you might imagine, this didn’t work well, and within 2 weeks, they ran out of “material”.

Dr. Kataria went back to his research and discovered one important factor: your body can’t tell the difference between real laughter and fake laughter. Both ways produce the same benefits and beneficial body chemistry. So, he went back to his club and suggested they “act out” laughter for one minute and the results were wonderful.

For many individuals in the club, the fake laughter quickly became contagious and turned into genuine laughter. Instead of just one minute, they session went on for almost 10 minutes. It was after this class, that Dr. Kataria developed a routine and specific laughter exercises, developed around pranayama/yogic breathing, and laughter yoga was born.

What happens in a laughter yoga session? Here are the four steps. (2)

  1. Step 1: Clapping and Warming-up Exercises –  Full finger-to-finger and palm-to-palm clapping, with movements, chanting and rhythm
  2. Step 2: Deep Breathing Exercises – In between laughter exercises, participants do deep breathing exercises.
  3. Step 3: Childlike Playfulness – Acting in a childlike way or swinging arms up into a Y shape with “thumbs up in childish exuberance and exhilaration“.
  4. Step 4: Laughter Exercises – Three types of laughter exercises
    1. yogic laughter –  based on yogic breathing
    2. playful laughter – Convert forced laughter into genuine laughter, as well as reduce shyness/inhibition
    3. value-based laughter – Increase positive feelings

LIBERATING YOUR LAUGHTER TEDX TALK (12:55 MINUTES) – The benefits of laughter and history of laughter yoga, along with a short laughter yoga routine.  It’s interesting because she talks about her discomfort at laughing for no reason, saying it was “out of her comfort zone.” As I said above, you do feel a bit silly at first.

HOW TO DO LAUGHTER YOGA

4 STEPS OF LAUGHTER YOGA (5:42 MINUTES)

100 LAUGHTER YOGA EXERCISES (11 MINUTES) – This includes several routines to do on a regular basis.

Closing thoughts

Although this form of yoga is a bit unusual, it’s fun and literally anyone can do it! As you can see from the list of benefits, you really can’t go wrong with this one. After all, who doesn’t want the benefits of running….WITHOUT HAVING TO RUN?

Until next time…Namaste my friends.

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Source:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m5wsro7OPc
  2. https://laughteryoga.org/what-happens-in-a-laughter-yoga-session-2/
  3. https://laughteryoga.org/history-of-laughter-yoga/

Laughter Therapy- The amazing benefits of laughter therapy

I’ve been focusing so much on the keto diet and quite frankly, I need a break. So, we’re going to do a bit of laughter therapy this week. I must admit, I’m cheating on my posts a bit both today and through out the week. Some of the posts, such as this one, the post later today, and a few others throughout the week are reposts of earlier articles. If you’re new to my page, this is good information for you and if you’ve seen these before, it’s a good reminder. Laughter therapy is seriously healthy and a real way to help people heal. Below, you’ll find a video on the benefits of laughter therapy and a bonus video a “Skype Laughter Chain” which is SO funny…it’s a must watch. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and have a great week guys. HAVE FUN AND LAUGH…A LOT!

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Original article

I’m beginning a section in school which discusses holistic stress management, which is based on ancient wisdom in which “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”   These holistic techniques are based on the knowledge passed down through shamans, sages, mystics and healers from all over the world. from all times and all ages.

Ask any one of these wise people what makes us who we are? What makes us whole? Everyone of them would answer “MIND, BODY, SPIRIT, and EMOTIONS”. Instead of treating just the symptoms, the whole being is treated.We are taught, that to be truly healthy, requires a balance of these four elements. Holistic nutrition, holistic stress management and holistic health are all part of the equation, which is why I stress all these areas in the development of my holistic wellness platform.

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This week, each morning, I’ll share one video with a stress management technique, which will be easy, and quick. I hope you enjoy these tips and find them useful.

Until next time…Namaste my friends.

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Stress Management

and

Laughter

The absolutely amazing benefits of laughter,

summed up in 5 minutes!

(Bonus “laughter therapy” video below)

Here’s some laughter therapy for today!

This is the Skype Laughter chain.

I was laughing so hard

I had tears streaming down my face!

This was recommended by my 18 year old son!

MUST WATCH

8 Ways to Cut Holiday Stress

To go along with my article on holiday depression, here are 8 wonderful tips on handling holiday stress. Thank you to Kenzie, at Fit and Frugal Living. Great article Kenzie.

I have a good time and enjoy many aspects of the holiday season: Turkey Trot, Hallmark movies with Gretchen Wieners, getting together with family, singing Christmas carols and Christmas Eve mass, to name a few.

However, the stress that comes along with this time of year gets to me and sometimes clouds the joy and the real purpose for the holidays. The season is supposed to be about getting together with family, giving thanks, doing things for others, and sharing in the joy of the celebration of Jesus’s birth.

So I’ve decided this year will be different. No more panic attacks when shopping at Walmart. No more meltdowns when I can’t find the right tupperware after Christmas dinner (true story). I’m not going to let stress get to me, and here’s how I’m going to do it:

kari-shea-485935-unsplash.jpg1. Make gift giving simple and fun. I have a list of people…

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