Below is an excerpt of a guest post that will be coming out soon on Mind Body Green. However, since this is a topic that has been coming up frequently with clients and community members, I wanted to give you a sneak peak of the info so that you don’t have to wait until it becomes public!

As we approach the holidays many clients and community members are commenting on feeling stressed, anxious or fearful of what might come up during this season. There is a temptation to want to numb out, erase the pain or put it on hold until the holidays are over.

I want to urge you to take a stand for yourself.

This year – refuse to mess around with your delicate internal balance of hormones. Find ways to invite and welcome natural feel-good chemicals that will help you ride the waves of emotions that you are sure to be experiencing during this potentially triggering and tumultuous time.

Do yourself the most loving favour and make this easier on you by not choosing alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Here’s how:

1. Set clear intentions. Devote time daily to thinking and journaling about that making this change will really mean for you. Instead of focusing on the negative ie “I don’t want to be hungover anymore, I don’t want to feel like crap, I hate being low energy or unfocused” frame your statement as a positive affirmative action statement:

“I am strong and am able to feel all the feels.”

“I deserve to be healthy, happy and whole.”

“I continue to explore authentic stress relief and am able to sleep peacefully and restfully.”

2. Take time to truly be by yourself. When avoiding feelings or trying to numb out, it can be tempting to fill our time with tasks, activities and other people. However, this can add to the feeling of underlying anxiety as it’s another tactic for avoidances instead of really dealing with what’s under the surface. Make sure to schedule (yes, schedule!!) time for yourself DAILY from now until the end of the year. Even (and especially!) during the holidays, grab 10-15 minutes to lay down, listen to some meditation or chakra balancing music, or get outside in nature and go for a brisk walk instead of reaching for that glass. Even you haven’t spent time by yourself for awhile, don’t be surprised if you feel intense emotions surfacing. When one of my clients recently started a regular morning practice

3. Find a delicious, appealing and healthy alternative. Let’s face it – deprivation sucks. That’s why really restrictive diets often don’t work, and emphatically made promises to eliminate alcohol often fall short – we haven’t found an alternative good enough to assuage the feeling that we’re missing out. We are pleasure-based creatures, after all. Have fun exploring the tea or seltzer water aisle and come up with some new creative options. There’s no reason why you can’t still bust out your fancy stemware for your mocktail. Same goes for a dinner out. Peruse the cocktail menu and ask your server or bartender which can be made non-alcoholic, or craft your own mocktail using ingredients you see on the list. During the holiday season – task yourself with bringing a non-alcohol option to parties and wowing the crowd with how tasty it is.

4. Create new rituals. Did you know that floral scents connect us to earth energy and stimulate the limbic system for a fast-track to a pleasurable, calm feeling? Put a few drops of lavender, rose, geranium or orange blossoms on into your palms, rub your hands together and cup your hands, inhale deeply. Place calming and relaxing blends into a diffuser, light aromatherapy candles. Dance. Have a bath. Watch a silly video. Belly laugh. Roll around on the floor and do sensual stretching. Lay on your back and practice deep breathing. The point- find what works for you!! Play around and experiment. It may take a combination of techniques in the beginning to overpower the urge for wine – you owe it to yourself to try!

5. Find an accountability buddy. There’s no reason why this topic should be shameful or shrouded in secrecy. If you already have a best friend you can share with, an accountability buddy or someone else who supports you who you feel comfortable sharing with- then talk to them about it! Let her know this is an area of your life that you want to make some changes around and tell her how she can support you. Discuss your fears and how this person can best support you, especially through the holiday season!

6. “Peace begins with me” mantra: This can be done anywhere, including the dinner table during holiday meals and family gatherings!  You can, of course, say this aloud of are comfortable doing so or are by yourself, or you can say the words to yourself.

  • Touch your index finger to the thumb on your same hand and say the word “peace.”

  • Switch, touching your middle finger to your thumb and say “begins.”

  • Continue down the line, touching your ring finger with your thumb and say “with.”

  • Touch your pinky finger to your thumb and say “me.”

7. Celebrate your successes!! It can be scary to open yourself up to feeling the pain and to stop numbing uncomfortable emotions. There can be fear of opening the floodgates of self-criticism and it can be easy to feel defeated. This is why it is critical to spend time celebrating yourself! Especially as we near the near of the year – it’s a great time to reflect on your accomplishments, what you’ve overcome, how you’ve triumphed over adversity, the changes you’ve made in the past year (and in your life). There is no success to small to be worthy of celebration. We are so good at being critical of ourselves that it is absolutely crucial to spend time acknowledging.

 Finally, do what you can do remind yourself that YOU are in control, and YOU GOT THIS! You can ride the waves of emotions and you will come out the other side – stronger, and with more awareness. Cheers to that!!