Clients are coming in with stress headaches, insomnia, and slight panic attacks.  Guess it’s the holidays!

It is always a mystery why we allow ourselves to be swept up in expectations of perfection – or at least dazzled by the idea that we have to Do so very much.

Whatever your religious or spiritual affiliation, this time of year calls for quiet, contemplation and reflective gratitude. In the hemisphere where I live, it is the season of darkness and rest.

Our compulsive lists and activities are the antithesis of this natural soulful flow.

We hear endless blaring of repetitive music, go to overheated malls, and spend more time and money than we have.

So, my prescription for all of us this month is to slow way down.

Even if you feel you have to accomplish a great deal, take it step by step.

Begin each morning with some quiet time in the slowly dawning day. Make your gratitude list before your to-do list.

Living with chronic illness is stressful and demanding without the addition of extra chores – even ones you may enjoy. So take yourself seriously.

To be in tune with your body and the season, take a few moments to listen for what you really want to be doing, what matters to you and how your body is feeling before you force yourself into another mall trip, or staying up late to finish just one more thing.

Listen to the call of the things you really enjoy – writing a card, lighting evening candles, a moment for special prayer or meditation, preparing special foods. Allow those moments to nourish you rather than rush through them on the way to the next thing.

Let me repeat: listen to your body, not your busy driven mind. What does your hard working body want in this season? A nap? A walk? A hug? Some great latkes or Christmas cookies? A time out? More fresh air?

It takes consciousness, and awareness to know what matters to you and the ones you love. It takes special awareness to know how you can stay energetic and feel well. Give yourself the gift of that attention.

Holiday joy to you all.