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

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/

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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Tension Myositis Syndrome: Stress & Pain Between Shoulder Blades

I had another article in mind, one for my pioneer recipe series, however I’m a bit under the weather. For the past few weeks, I’ve had severe, almost debilitating pain in my back, between my shoulder blades. If is so strong and feels as if I’m being stabbed in the back. I had a recent doctor appointment with blood work, so I know I’m physically okay, IE: no cancer or heart issues. I’ve done some research and here are some of the causes:

  • muscle strain
  • trauma
  • herniated disc
  • arthritis
  • heart attack
  • cancer
  • gallbladder disease
  • nerve entrapment
  • scoliosis

While gallbladder disease, a herniated disc, or nerve issues are a possibility, a more likely cause is stress. I’ve found an article on something called Tension Myositis Syndrome. Here is a quote from the article:

This syndrome is the brain distracting the body from an emotional stress by restricting the flow of oxygen [to] muscles in the body.

In most cases, it’s the lower back.  In some cases, migraine headaches; and even in some cases, it is the pain between shoulder blades.

I haven’t had a sinus migraine for weeks, for which I am eternally grateful, however, it appears to have moved down my spine to my shoulder blades. The difference is, I can get rid of my migraines with pain meds, such as Excedrin Migraine. The back pain doesn’t respond to anything. I’ve been spending much of my time switching between heating pads and ice packs. Looks like some mental exercises are in order! Isn’t it amazing how mental stress can have such a strong influence on a physical level?


HERE IS THE MAIN ARTICLE, FROM: TensionMyositisSyndrome.org

I think everyone can say that they felt it at least once – pain between shoulder blades. You’re sitting at your job, you’ve had a particularly stressful day …

For the full article follow this link: Pain Between Shoulder Blades

Until next time,

Namaste and God bless!

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Sources:

  1. https://www.verywellhealth.com/pain-between-shoulder-blades-2248950