by Steffen Messerschmidt, Naturopathic Doctor, Brisbane, Australia
Over the years I have been observing the effects the ‘Silly Season’ has on our health. IT JUST DOES NOT MAKE SENSE TO ME – neither personally nor professionally.
It is supposedly the festival of Love – just for one day, but I see more unloving things and effects then, than at any other time of the year. So this is what I see every year – year after year – and nothing is changing!
Here is a look at my own Christmas beliefs from the past to present:
As a child, I thought Christmas was a magical time – growing up in New York there were tons of lights, decorations and everybody around me made an effort to be nice to me. Well it took me a while, as a child, to realize that the Santa Claus thing was fake and mostly everything was just put on and a show.
I also loved the Christmas decorations as a child and this carried into adulthood. My home and the clinic always had lots of decorations and glamour until a few years ago.
As a child, I visited the ‘real’ Santa in upstate New York, where they had created a North Pole village and Santa was an old man with a real beard, not the fake ones from the shopping centres – those guys were just Santa’s helpers because he was too busy preparing for the 25th there was no way he could hang around in every shopping centre!
As a practitioner I saw all the things listed below, but it took me a while to let go of the ideals & beliefs I still held about Christmas.
It doesn’t make sense to me now that we need a day to be nice to each other and have fun getting together – that can happen any day.
Today I see it as a time of the year to enjoy summer and meet with friends and to have a short break if possible, as it is a very busy time of the year for anybody involved in health care.
Now here are my observations as a practitioner:
– Stress to get work ready and all done before the holiday
– Stress to get all presents and organized for that one day
– Stress on someone in the family (mostly mum) to cook & bake for it all
– Stress if there is no family to stress about
– Stress because we are sleeping less and not recovering due to lots of social, work and family events
– Madness in Christmas shopping to find the perfect gifts for our ‘loved ones’
– People already get tired and lethargic in the process leading up to X-mas and that just accumulates when they actually make it to X-mas and New Year
– One day or let’s say two or three (Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year’s) of total indulgence, disregard and accumulation of unloving choices
– Eat too much unhealthy food and for some, even too much healthy food
– Drink too much
– Get emotional and stuff comes up that was not addressed the whole year because family members did not all meet up and now, as they all are together, stuff that was unresolved bubbles up
– Discussions flare up – often made worse because of the effects of alcohol
– Emotions, anxiety, depression increase – also for the ones who do not have a family to get together
– Increase of domestic violence, suicides and mental health issues
After X-Mas – this lasts way into late January and beyond:
– Feeling bloated, lethargic, nausea, no energy, put on weight and symptoms flare up again …
– Patients with chronic disease, cancer or auto-immune disease, who are going well before Christmas and are symptom-free and on maintenance programmes, go off them and trigger their symptoms – they decide to eat just this piece of cheesecake, drink alcohol for New Year’s or smoke a couple of cigarettes …because it is ‘tradition’
– Blood sugar levels which were under control before X-mas go up because they ate too much or chose the wrong foods.
– New Year’s resolutions –are to get healthy and work hard to reverse all the damage done over X-mas and New Year. Yet…..the following year we go and do it all again … !
I am sure you get the picture by now. This list has just some examples; however it could go on and fill a book.
I am sure every practitioner would be able to share the same experience. To me all this seems really not worth it, so I would rather recommend living each day lovingly without all the punishment we inflict on ourselves – this would be like Christmas every day and a true festival of Love.
It totally makes sense why we call it the ‘Silly Season’, because we put in so much extra effort to treat ourselves in such an unloving way. What else other than ‘silly’ could we call this?