Survival Tips for the Holiday Season

Did you know that 65% of people with mental health issues report that the holidays worsen them? Even if you are not struggling with significant depression or crippling anxiety, you may feel the stress and overwhelm that come during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. It is two months of overwhelm and possible re-traumatization. 

This can be due to increased loneliness, financial pressures, memories of past trauma, physical exhaustion, unrealistic expectations, and having to engage with challenging people. All these things turn the time of comfort and joy into the holiday blues.

You could take a pass for the holiday season, go on your own vacation, or pretend it is just another day but if you do choose to try and carry out the traditional activities, here are a few ideas to help you survive them: 

Manage your time and take on a manageable amount of things. Prioritize your day-to-day schedule so there is a fair amount of to-do’s each day. Plan ahead and try to avoid cramming everything into the day before. If you can do shopping ahead of time or order things online versus fighting crowds in the stores, do it! You can order complete meals from restaurants or grocery stores. If you can afford that luxury, divide the tasks among friends and family members, so you need to do more. 

Set boundaries that you are comfortable with and help you feel safe and secure. If you or someone in your family struggles with alcohol, set a limit that doesn’t allow it at the holiday party or dinner. Start your festivities early enough so people can go home at a decent time to keep up your rest, enabling you to wind down after. 

Be realistic about your time and energy. You may only be able to visit some friends’ and relatives’ homes during the holidays. It is hard to say no, but you may have to spend one holiday function on one side of the family this year and with the other next year, or Thanksgiving at one home and Christmas at the other. You don’t have to spend the actual holiday date with someone. You can pick the weekend prior or after to celebrate. Financially you may have to do a zoom Christmas with some who live far away and can’t travel during the holidays. We all hated this arrangement during COVID, but it has its benefits. It is better than no contact.

Give yourself the gift of self-care. Take time to relax, plan evenings alone, meditate and pray, exercise and eat well, and get as much sleep as possible. Keep a schedule for personal grooming, warm baths, massages, play with your kids, a book, and your favorite treat. 

Stay connected to positive, healthy people. It is tempting to stop attending church or support groups or cancel therapy appointments. Now is the time you need it more than ever. Your positive connections will help you manage the stressors of all the negative encounters and pressures. 

Keep up or create traditions and rituals. Many families already have specific practices during the holidays. We always cook the turkey a particular way, share about things we are thankful for around the table, do a Christmas puzzle, open stockings the night before, read specific devotions and journals, and attend a Christmas eve service or mass. Setting traditions and rituals provides structure, stability, and positive feelings. If you still need one, create one or add a new one to your holiday activities. Let it remind you of the reason for the season (hint, it isn’t about the presents). 

If you want help managing the stress of the holidays or experience challenging feelings of depression, anxiety, or trauma, let Ron Huxley help you. Schedule a session with him today! 

Breaking out of Negative Thoughts and Rumination

Do you ever feel like your mind is racing or your thoughts are stuck in a loop? You might be experiencing what’s called negative thinking or rumination. People who engage in this tend to overthink things, strive for perfection, look at the downside of events and miss the good stuff that happened to them.

Coping with negative thoughts and rumination can be a challenge. But it’s not impossible to overcome, and it’s not something you have to live with forever.

The good news is that you can learn ways to cope with negative thinking and rumination without using medications. Here are some things that might help:

1) Practice mindfulness meditation. This involves focusing on the present moment without judgment, especially when you have negative or repetitive thoughts. You can try this by focusing on your breath, listening to music or nature sounds (like rain or waves), or simply sitting quietly in silence and noticing what’s happening around you (or inside yourself).

2) If you are spiritual, pray! Prayer is a powerful weapon against depression and anxiety. It can be hard to pray when you are overwhelmed by negative thoughts, but if you commit yourself to prayer as a daily routine, it will help keep your mind focused on what matters most.

3) Get some exercise. Exercise releases endorphins into the brain, making us feel better about ourselves and more optimistic about our lives. So if you’ve been feeling down lately, try getting out for a run instead of staying cooped up inside all day!

4) Eat healthy foods! Eating well helps regulate hormones in our bodies that are responsible for mood swings (like serotonin). So if you’re feeling down, try eating something like strawberries or almonds—they contain nutrients that promote happiness and contentment. Ever heard the expression: “Your mental health is at the end of your fork”? It’s true.

5) Try writing down your feelings instead of keeping them bottled up inside where no one else can see them except for yourself (and even then, only if you want to share them with others. Grammer and punctuation aren’t necessary. The point is to let that negative go.

6) Identify the areas where you were hurt or traumatized. Destructive thought patterns can result from betrayal, abandonment, unfair actions, and traumatic events. We can internalize external actions and believe we are the problem or too broken, leaving us in a vicious loop of negative thoughts and feelings.

7) Work with a professional therapist specializing in trauma-informed practices and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Together, you can get to the unhealthy core beliefs causing so much pain and suffering and find alternative perspectives on your life.

Negative thinking and rumination are exhausting. It ruins your sleep, and it interferes with your day. If you want help finding a way out of this destructive pattern, contact Ron Huxley and set up an appointment to start feeling good immediately! Click here now…

Have a Power-FULL Morning!

Did you wake up in a mood today? We often wake up thinking about the problems we have to face today. We rehearse the past memories and circumstances that create a hyper state of arousal, using the natural cortisol levels of the morning to increase anxiety, fear, irritability, and anger.

Before your feet hit the floor, use gratitudes to change how you think and feel. Use the natural energy of cortisol to direct your thoughts and behaviors in the morning. Engage in meditation and focus for the day and be more productive and creative with using that cortisol. Make today better than yesterday. Make your inspiration greater than your suffering!

Use your cortisol to have a power-full morning!

Let Ron Huxley help you find more power in your life by scheduling a session today or using the power-full tools at FamilyHealer.tv

Start Each Day with Positive Intentions

If you struggle in the mornings, there is one thing you can add to your daily routine that will help, and that’s positive intention. Helping to set the tone for your day, starting with positive intentions can deliver a lot of great benefits.

Below, we’ll look at the benefits positive intentions provide. You will also learn exactly how to create and use positive intentions to your advantage.

What Positive Intentions Are

A positive intention is much like a map. It tells your mind where you want to go in life and what you want to achieve. When you are adding a positive intention into your day, you are basically telling your mind what it is you want to accomplish in the next 24 hours. 

We all set intentions at the start of our day, whether we realize it or not. Even bad habits can stem from positive intentions. For example, your intention may subconsciously be to feel good, so you indulge in your favorite junk foods. By taking control consciously of your positive intentions, it can deliver a lot of great benefits.

Benefits Positive Intentions Provide

Positive intentions provide a lot of awesome benefits. Some of the biggest advantages include:

  • They help you to get out of your head
  • They improve your focus
  • They can help you to develop a more positive mindset
  • You will be more likely to achieve your goals

Positive intentions give the mind a clear focus. They help you to become more present in the moment and focus on what it is you need to do today to achieve your goals. Helping you to get out of your head and provide a clear path to where you want to be, you will notice you are much more productive, less stressed, and happier overall.

The thing is the mind is going to set its own intentions for the day if you don’t intervene. Unfortunately, the mind finds it easier to focus on the negative. With positive intentions, it can help you to train the mind to be more positive.

How to Start With Daily Positive Intentions

Now you know some of the benefits of starting each day with a positive intention, what types of intentions can you set? Knowing where to start can be tough, but it’s much easier than you might think. Some examples of positive intentions include:

  • “Today my intention is to accept love and joy into my life”
  • “Today, I will remain silent for 15 minutes and listen to my inner guide”
  • “Today, I will remain focused on my to-do list and not give in to distractions”

These are just some basic examples you can follow. Think of what it is you want to achieve or feel by the end of the day. Then, set that as your intention and remember to keep it positive.

When you start each day with a positive intention, it can add real meaning into your life. You may just be surprised by how beneficial this simple act can make you more successful. 

To create a powerful day, create a daily routine. Follow your routine to structure your life more efficiently and receive many powerful benefits.

1. Develop good habits.

One of the best reasons to create a daily routine is that it can help you to combat bad habits. By replacing bad habits with good ones, you can gradually improve all aspects of your life. It can be tough to overcome bad habits, but a routine can help massively.

2. Boost your efficiency.

Do you ever wish you could get more done and make the most of your time? With a daily routine you can. Adding structure into your life, a good daily routine will make you much more efficient. You won’t waste as much time as you once did, helping you to achieve much more during your day.

3. Improve your health. 

One of the most powerful reasons to create a daily routine is that it can help you improve your health. Whether you need to improve your physical or your mental health, a good routine can prove invaluable. By using it to introduce healthier habits, you’ll start to notice fast changes in your mood and general wellbeing.

4. Sleep better.

Did you know when you have a routine you sleep better? If you go to bed at the same time each night, and awake at the same time each morning, you’ll feel much more refreshed. You can also implement things into your routine that help you sleep better, such as switching off technology an hour before bed. When you sleep better, you feel better and it improves every aspect of your life.

5. Incorporate more structure.

To achieve your goals, you need willpower and motivation. A daily routine can incorporate both. Exercise is a good example of this. When you add it into your daily routine, it quickly starts to become an automatic habit. You won’t need to force yourself through willpower or motivate yourself with a reward, once it becomes a habit.

6. Reduce and relieve stress. 

A daily routine can help reduce and relieve stress. As you know what your day mostly consists of, and you use it to introduce healthier habits, your stress levels will naturally decrease. You can also schedule in time for relaxation each day to help.

So, there you have it, 6 reasons you should create daily routines. While developing an effective routine can take time, once you have it in place you won’t regret taking the time to create it. To become successful, happy, and healthy, we all need structure and routine in our lives.

Had any assumptions shattered lately?

The last two years have been one of daily uncertainty and fear, but a crisis is also a great revealer of the myths and idols we hold. It “knocks us off our thrones” and breaks our “assumptive worlds.” Our assumptions are the beliefs we hold about who we are and the world we live in…at times, like these, they don’t hold up. In fact, they can shatter into thousands of meaningless thoughts.

In social psychology, shattered assumptions theory proposes that traumatic events can change how victims and survivors view themselves and the world. We all have three inherent assumptions including “overall benevolence, the meaningfulness of the world, and self-worth.” They are the bedrock of our conceptual system, and as such, they are the ones we are least aware of and least likely to challenge. We become confident in our beliefs and use them to plan and act in daily living. If nothing challenges them they allow our lives to move along smoothly.

Sadly, traumatic life events shatter core assumptions, and coping with them requires a new effort to construct more realistic and viable assumptions. We have to rebuild our belief systems to fit the new world we live in.

Core Beliefs:

The world is benevolent

The world is meaningful

The self is worthy

This can be painful for people of faith who end up questioning their faith. When our assumptive worlds shatter, it causes believers to questions the goodness of God. They might “assume” that God is silent or uncaring. The promises they believed must be wrong since things didn’t work out the way they “believed.” Trying to reconcile a good God to their adverse life situations may turn some to question themselves, wondering if they ever heard God speak into their lives or if some sin or trauma from the past has made them unworthy of mercy.

I mean, if God never changes, then the problem must be ourselves, right? Christians believe that when they become followers they are “new creations.” New creations have to have renewed minds to find new beliefs about God’s goodness and nature in their lives. Renewal is exactly what we need when our assumptions become shattered. Neurologists called this neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to restructure itself through training and practice, thereby creating new neuropathways in the human nervous system. Neuroplasticity, renewed minds, and rebuilt belief systems are about personal growth that is sometimes only possible after trauma.

The reason that believers feel peace after giving their lives to follow the Christian faith is that new neuropathways are being created. Transformation or growth is occurring. From a more secular viewpoint, life has a way of creating maturity in our thinking. The trick is how to not become bitter and negative afterwords.

There is a favorite verse of mine that goes: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  –Philippians 4:6-7 (NRSV)” Prayer and meditation increase brain neuroplasticity and makes renewal possible. Allowing our minds to let go of distractions and slow down helps us focus on what we control and let go of what we cannot. In Alcoholics Anonymous, this is the path to serenity.

After a shattering event, people are able to discover strength they didn’t know that had in them. They also find new purposes and seek out deeper connections than before. Faith also grows in people after difficulty. They start to see deeper meaning and value in their life. This is called Post-Traumatic Growth in contrast to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Would you like assistance recovering from a shattering event or trauma? Need new tools for your organization or group? Contact Ron Huxley today!