Saturday, December 10, 2022
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Feeling festive anxiety?

Diwali 2022 is upon us and so are the superfluities of this much-loved festival. Diwali ushers in the party season, gift giving, family get-togethers, dressing up and the whole shebang that encompasses festivals. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are no different.

We tend to avoid the discussion of people who go through severe stress and anxiety and even depression during festivals. But the truth is many of us, especially seniors maybe feeling like hiding under a rock during such times, till life gets back to normal. 

Stress, anxiety and depression could be triggered because of any or more of the following reasons:

  • You’ve lost a loved one and you are still grieving and healing from the loss, whereas everyone around you is in high spirits and this in itself may bring on a sense of feeling even worse.
  • You are lonely. You’ve lost family and close friends along life’s journey and you find yourself in a bit of a difficult space during festive occasions. These times bring to mind “the good old days” and may trigger a discomfort or sadness that you can’t shake off.
  • You’re dealing with mental health challenges brought on by trauma, ill health and other factors.
  • Your loved ones are in another place or country and you can’t meet up to spend time together.
  • You’re feeling debilitated, physically weak, with no mood or energy to face up to many people, strings of parties, dressing up loud chatter and so forth.
  • You’re feeling the financial pinch due to sky rocketing prices and you feel societal pressure to keep up with the “Khannas.”

 

Even if none of the above factors apply to you, just going through festive times can be stressful for a lot of people. It is normal to feel a bit overwhelmed with stress during festival season, and mental health experts say that the expectation to have a perfect festival celebration could lead to depression. The reality is that festive anxiety is a thing. Thankfully, we have some ways to get through times like these:

Acceptance: Accept that you could feel your worst self during festive times. Face up to the fact that you don’t have to put on a show to please anyone.

Be yourself: Following from acceptance, be true to who you are. Honour your feelings but don’t wallow in them. Rumination of negative thoughts starts a negative spiral like a match thrown onto kerosene and you’re done for.

Be at peace: Being yourself helps you arrive at a peaceful state with more ease. This is because you’re not struggling being someone that you’re not. Do what makes you truly at peace instead of taking on the burden of pretences in society. Strengthen your mind with affirmations. You will find a lot of pressure and stress released as a result.

Use social media: Spend face time with loved one via video calls and the like. Especially if you are immobile, this is a nice way to connect with everyone and join in the celebrations. This facet of social media is wonderful, it ensures that we are never totally isolated when we don’t want to be alone.

Sensible gift giving: Occasions and festivals can bring on a great deal of stress because we find that we are over stretching our budgets and we simply can’t afford to spend so much. Give gifts that are small and thoughtful. Volunteer some time or skill to a friend. If you are creative, think of a nice idea that will be well used. Remember we are all at a stage where we have been advised to cut back on the goodies, to declutter unnecessary possessions – makes things easier doesn’t it? Write a nice poem, make a batch of home–made halwa, or sketch something that your loved ones will treasure.

Take a break: Literally take off somewhere if you can. To a place that has been on your bucket list. To a place that give you joy, peace and makes you come alive. Enjoy your time away. Oftentimes being around strangers can be a cathartic experience.

Surround yourself with little things that bring you joy: Your pet/s, some of your favourite plants can get strung up with lights, brighten up your home with  some diyas in the spirit of Diwali, listen to music, read a good book…

Balance your thoughts, strengthen your mind, and give thanks for what you do have: It’s okay to feel sad but pick yourself up and empower all that’s good in you by doing a good deed for someone less fortunate, who like you may have also lost a loved one, someone who also maybe going through the pangs of festive stress. 

Give thanks for three things in your life that you truly appreciate. 

Put on some music, watch a good movie or a good serial: Binge watch something interesting (read: not sad or depressing), on Netflix or Amazon Prime or any other platform. There are some exceeding well-crafted documentaries and movie and serials. It helps distract your mind from negative thoughts and is enjoyable when done once in a way.

Treat yourself to a soothing massage or an extravagance that you’ve been holding back on, do what you need to do in order to pass through this time with some ease.

Create your own counter-festive playbook. Get creative and ideate ways of beating the blues at festive time.

Consult a professional counsellor or psychologist if you feel nothing helps, no one understands you, and you just can’t handle what you’re going through.

As always, do not underestimate the power of prayer and meditation. There is love and positive energy all around you if you willfully surrender and open your consciousness to embrace it.

The Bhagvad Gita says you are exactly where you need to be at the present moment. Make your peace with it. Introspect, meditate and rekindle your inner light so that it spreads to others you meet. Life goes on and this too shall pass; and with it you would have transformed a part of yourself without you even knowing it, for your own soul evolution.

I’d like to end with a long but profound quote from 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, a book by Jordan B Peterson, clinical psychologist, author, and professor emeritus at the University of Toronto:

“To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).

 

Deepa Desa
Deepa Desa has a wide range of professional experiences in varied industries, ranging from Business, Hospitality, Tea, Beauty, Aromatherapy and Natural wellness therapies, spanning her 35-year career. She is an internationally certified Advanced Beauty Esthetician and Electrotherapist, (CIDESCO/CIBTAC). She is also an advanced Aromatherapist (CIDESCO/IFA), (2005). She has been a consultant for corporates (HUL- Lakmé Lever, Raymond’s, Nivea, Sofitel etc.), and stand-alone beauty and wellness projects. Deepa has extensively trained therapists, for international beauty product companies like BABOR, CACI, Éminence Organics, Kerstin Florian, Gemology, Phytomer, and many more. She introduced oxygen and high -end anti-ageing therapies to Mumbai for the first time, at the spa she co-founded, Tahaa Spa in 2006. She believes in a synergy of science and nature for effective skincare. Currently, she integrates her passion, creativity, and experience to create relevant, relatable articles and blogs, and holds one on one sessions to help stress- management using natural therapies. If you have any questions, please e mail her at editor@seniorstoday.in

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