The holidays are here, which means visiting with family and friends, attending joyful celebrations and buying presents. It also means shorter days, colder weather, jam-packed schedules and endless to-do lists. It’s little wonder that despite the festive season, many people feel overwhelmed and stressed this time of year. “December, a month filled with holidays and cheer, can be a time for connecting with friends and family, giving and receiving, and truly enjoying the company of those we love. But many of us forget the true meaning of the holiday season by getting wrapped up in doing more and more, and feeling less and less joyful and connected,” said Melissa Blacker, MA, associate director of the Stress Reduction Program at the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School. “Meditation practices can be helpful at this time of year. The practice of mindfulness encourages us to pause and be with whatever we may be feeling, even if we aren’t fulfilling our idea of having holiday spirit,” she said. An expert in mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, Blacker offers some tips for surviving the holidays:
For more information about the UMass Medical School Stress Reduction Clinic, visit www.umassmed.edu/cfm or call 508-856-2656.