Homeopathic Remedies For Holiday Stress and Winter BluesKashka Kril-Atkins, HBSc, DHMHS December 1, 2012
For most of us, everyday life moves to a rhythm that is anything but calm. There are usually never enough hours to get everything done that needs doing. Add in shorter daylight hours and the demands of the holidays, and you’ve got a recipe for heightened stress and anxiety. Fortunately, homeopathy offers up gentle help to ensure we enjoy the “most wonderful time of the year.”
How we cope with, experience, and manage stress varies greatly from one individual to the next, which is why homeopathic treatment is so well suited to optimizing our mental health. Selection of a homeopathic medicine is carefully based on an individual’s personal experience of his/her symptoms. While one person may react to stress with anger and impatience, another may react with sadness and withdrawal. Either way, the effect is a negative one and gets in the way of our ability to enjoy life.
To address these emotions, the homeopath will expertly choose the remedy that will have a balancing effect. Unlike prescription drugs, homeopathic medicine carries no risk of toxicity or side effects. Consider adding a visit to your homeopath to the top of your to-do list for holiday preparations.
How Prevalent is Stress in Canadian Society?
According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, 23.6% of Canadians aged 15 or older reported that most days were “extremely or quite a bit stressful,” up from 22.3% in 2008. Females (25%) reported that most days were quite a bit or extremely stressful, compared with males (22.2%).
The report confirms what we see all around us: that prolonged exposure to stress can lead to negative health outcomes, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, as well as immune and circulatory complications. Exposure to stress is credited with contributing to unhealthy coping behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and eating disorders. Powerful emotions can literally “eat you up inside,” and your ability to withstand stress erodes with time.
For most of us, stress peaks around the holidays. The Mayo Clinic offers us a list of practical tactics to offset holiday stress, anxiety, and depression. A few are worth sharing:
- Be Realistic – The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals will change as well. Select a few to hold on to, and be open to new ideas.
- Set aside Differences – Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to your expectations.
- Plan Ahead – Set aside specific days for baking, shopping, visiting friends, and don’t over-schedule.
- Stick to a Budget – Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try to shorten the list of people to buy for by starting a Secret Santa or family gift exchange. Give gifts of wellness, or gifts of time for sharing an experience with loved ones.
- Learn to Say No – Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
- Me Time – Carve out time for yourself. Even 15 minutes of quiet can clear your mind and restore calm.
One of the most daunting tasks of the holidays is finding the perfect gift for everyone on our lists.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen master, poet, and peace activist offers sage advice at this time of year: “When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?”
Homeopathic Self Help Tips for the Holidays
The best defense this holiday season is supporting your own innate ability to stay balanced, with a homeopathic medicine individualized to your needs. A homeopath can match a homeopathic medicine ideally suited to your body’s unique symptom expression. You can also safely use homeopathic medicines in acute situations.
Generally, a safe, effective potency for self-care is 30CH in water potency. Place three to five homeopathic pellets into a few ounces of distilled water. Sip the water, at intervals, until you feel better. Give the bottle a vigorous shake (a stir if using a glass) before each sip to enhance the homeopathic healing action.
Argentum nitricum (Arg-n) and Gelsemium (Gels) are both excellent for dealing with ailments caused by anticipation and intense emotions. Those who would benefit from Gelsemium literally shake or tremble when they are upset and feel physically weak and tired. Those who would benefit from Argentum Nitricum are often apprehensive and fearful and can suffer panic attacks in extreme circumstances.
Aconitum Napellus is well indicated when fright is the trigger for illness. Those who would benefit from Aconite are filled with worry and anxiety. There is a tendency to startle easily. Fear of death, nightmares following horror stories, and fear of crowds are examples of Aconite-type fears.
Staphysagria is helpful in dealing with anger, indignation, and resentment. Those who are oversensitive to the opinions of others often find relief with Staphysagria.
Cocculus Indicus is an excellent remedy for insomnia and loss of sleep. It is also well indicated in relieving the effects of jet lag and motion sickness.
And so, as we aim to calmly navigate the holidays with a balance of practical measures and help from homeopathy, reflect on this thought: “Each time you look at a tangerine, you can see deeply into it. You can see everything in the universe in one tangerine. When you peel it and smell it, it’s wonderful. You can take your time eating a tangerine and be very happy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Kashka Kril-Atkins is a homeopath and the owner of BLUEPRINT Wholistic Health Clinic, an integrative Medicine Clinic and Shop located in midtown Toronto. For more information, please visit her website at http://www.blueprintwellness.ca or call (416) 932-3433.