Now that we have celebrated Thanksgiving, the holiday season is in full swing. The parties at work, and celebrations with friends and family, can mean a month long food and drink fest with a promise to make amends at the New Year.
From a psychological perspective, indulgence can be a response to feeling emotionally deprived, which can escalate during the holiday season with its focus on abundance. We may be without a partner, family, friends, and/or work during the holidays. We may have all of these things, but be haunted by unpleasant memories from the past. Filling ourselves up with food and drink helps to soothe the anxiety and pain that can lurk beneath our holiday festivities.
Holidays associated with family, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, can surface unpleasant memories that food and drink has a magical way of drowning out – at least temporarily. Emotional eating is very powerful since it socially acceptable over drinking and turning to drugs.
Rather than go on a massive food and drink frenzy this holiday season, acknowledging and accepting the very feelings seeking expression is a healthier choice. They are not as overwhelming as we anticipate them to be. The fight against them is the hardest battle and the real source of stress.
Taking time each day to be mindful of our unpleasant feelings without the battlefield and sparing judgment is a different twist for many people facing the holiday blues and overindulging. But put into practice there will be less blues during the holidays and a lot more sunshine.
Journaling and confiding with friends also can take off the edge of holiday doldrums. When we confide in others, we often find that we are not alone in our feelings, which always gives a boost of emotional penicillin. Whatever methods you choose, working toward emotional expression can bring a new dimension to the holiday season.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates.