by Stef Cordes and Lisa Baird
We are told “The Holidays” is a time of community & celebration and a time to reconnect with loved ones. However, this is not the case for everyone. Not everyone celebrates this time of the year. And the holidays can be a triggering, lonely time for many; a reminder of things in our lives that aren’t working and/or a reminder of what we’ve lost. The holidays can be incredibly isolating, especially at a time when family, celebration, and joy take centre stage in media, in stores, at work, and in our social circles. Even people who do enjoy this time of year often report feeling quite stressed in December.
Community acupuncture can help.
Acunaps for General Stress Relief
Whether you’re stressed out because you feel alone or stressed out because you’re stretched thin by fitting in events and shopping into your already busy schedule, acupuncture could very well make the difference between a bad day and a good one. We regularly tell people that “acupuncture doesn’t have any major side effects, unless you count relaxation and a good night’s sleep” because a reduction in stress is often apparent even when we don’t needle for it specifically.
Acupuncture for Digestive Support
Folks often find it challenging to stick to their usual diet over the holidays. Frequent large meals and indulging in foods we seldom eat can mean bloating, abdominal pain, gas, and not-so-pleasant (perhaps even urgent) trips to the bathroom. We effectively treat digestion with acupuncture all the time. It may not make you eat differently, but it can support the body to handle digestive challenges more effectively. (To learn more about how community acupuncture can aid digestion, visit our blog post about CA and digestion.)
Acupuncture for Grief
Every year we are inundated with images of smiling, happy families and partnerships, which reminds many of us of what we don’t have. For some, the holidays is a time when we think of dead, estranged or absent family members, partners lost, or the plan of a family that never came to be. This time of the year is well-known for triggering grief that we thought was long gone. It can be very disorienting and confusing. We don’t talk a lot about grief, and there’s a general expectation that you’ll “get over it” in six month to a year.
At GCA we don’t think of grief as something that you “get over”, but as something that we process throughout our lives that can get easier with time. Community acupuncture can support us to process some emotions in our bodies without needing to say things out loud. (There are probably a few people who work at GCA who have metabolized a good chunk of grief in one of our recliners.) For more on how community acupuncture can be supportive with grief, visit this blog post.
Acupuncture for Mental Health
Sometimes seeing family is difficult, as families can be complicated! We are most likely to be triggered by our families and those closest to us and the holidays can be an especially emotionally volatile time. Seeing family can be so stressful and overwhelming sometimes that even the anticipation of a gathering can send folks into a downward spiral. Community acupuncture can help us to feel more relaxed, at ease, and resilient in the face of challenging life situations. And our group setting is a tangible reminder that even if the holidays and the idea of family makes you isolated, you are not alone.
For those of us who don’t see family over the holidays, or who struggle to connect with family, the holidays can be the loneliest time of year. The days are short, so folks already tend have less energy and are more likely to stay indoors. We know that a great deal of mental health complaints can dramatically increase this time of year; a lot of folks come for anxiety, depression, panic attacks, post traumatic stress symptoms or other mental health concerns. The good news is that acupuncture helps many of us to manage difficult emotions and triggers.
We are closing a small number of shifts this month; they’re listed here. We’ll be back to our regular schedule as of January 2nd 2020.