Updated: 5 days ago
October 31 – January 2nd
Halloween to New Years
- Tough time of year
- Loved ones, memories of past loved ones, relationships gone bad, events, obligations, good memories, bad memories, and even trauma.
- Can be the best time of the year or a time of pain.
- Take care of yourself, set an example for loved ones, and double down on pro-longevity behaviors during this holiday season.
Longevity = Health over a lifetime
By striving for longevity you must become the best, most-high performing version of yourself right now.
Ok so 4 tips. Plus two very important bonus tips at the very end that you will not want to miss!
1. Say NO! mitigate your obligations, the people around you, and stress.
- Say no to things you don’t want to do. This should be easy. If not, this is a huge problem. Start making a habit of it.
- Remember to say no when you don’t have the time or the resources. The hard things to say no to are the things you kind of want to do, but really don’t have the bandwidth for. It is always ok to opt out.
- Don’t allow yourself to be guilted into things. Traditions, rituals, and festivities are only of value if they facilitate health, relationships, enjoyment, and growth. If something is not of value, drop it (like a bad habit).
- Blood is not thicker than water. Be with the people that augment and improve your life. Avoid the people who do not. This may include avoiding certain family members and that is ok.
Build holiday traditions that help and improve your life and everyone around you. If old beliefs and traditions do not serve you, leave them behind.
Avoid the Defense Mechanism “Idealization”
What are defense mechanisms?
Defense mechanism are strategies our psyches (brains) use to defend us against things that would otherwise provoke anxiety or be difficult to deal with.
Idealization – This is a defense mechanism when a person perceives another person as having more desirable qualities then they really have. They essentially project perfection on that individual.
During the holidays it can be easy to do this. Particularly with new relationships (especially intimate ones). But also with old relationship that may be toxic. Keep it real. It is better to just except people the way they are as well as what your acquaintance with them means about you.
2. Forgive Someone
Forgiveness is extremely good for health. It unloads anxiety, stress, and regret. Holding grudges and resentment weighs on people. It raises blood pressure, stressing the heart, brain, kidneys and other organs. This holiday season try and forgive at least one person that has wronged you. Bonus points, apologize to someone you have wronged.
No might be the most powerful word in the English language. But “Im sorry” is the most appreciated.
Avoid the Passive Aggressive defense mechanism.
This is a familiar term and a very commonly utilized defense mechanism. It occurs when a person is angry or irritated with another person and instead of direct confrontation, they find more passive ways of expressing their aggression. A common example is taking a really long time to respond to someone you are irritated with.
Being Passive Aggressive is a stress on the body. Keep it real and confront the situation. You are probably a few hard conversations away from having the best holiday season of your life.
3. Double down on healthy behaviors when times get rough.
Pay yourself first every day. Schedule in workouts, personal care, life errands, healthy meals, and relaxation time first. After this, schedule in time for holiday fun. Avoid the habit of skipping workouts and other healthy behaviors when things get busy. During busy times, health is needed the most.
Avoid Social Comparisons Defense Mechanism
Social Comparisons – This is when an individual takes a more favorable view of themself, by comparing themself to another group or individual, which they perceive as inferior. Racism is a macro form of social comparison. Gossip is microform.
- Instead of wasting time and energy hating on others (I break this rule all the time btw!) to make yourself feel better about yourself.
- Just actually be better and take great care of yourself.
I break this rule all the time and enjoy a little shit talking. But I am trying to be better about this and you should too!
4. Binge, but don’t let this snowball into serial binging.
Have fun. In fact have too much fun. Eat, drink, and be merry. But don’t let bad behaviors run wild or for too long. Go big. Then get back into normal life. High strung times like the holidays can easily lead to patterns of bad behavior.
Additionally, Go big because of joy and celebration. Don’t go big to drown your sorrow, avoid the situation, or treat a mental health condition. Example: My cousin just got here, and I hate her, so I am going to get blacked out. In this instance, you might just be better off leaving, or better yet, confronting your feels and talking with this person directly.
- Spend time with your loved ones. Go out of your way to do good for others (But not at the expense of your own health). Set an example for others on how live and act.
- Keep it real with people. Example: I’m not coming over the night before Christmas because everybody always just blacks out and starts screaming at each other. Build awareness.
- Say No
- Forgive Someone
- Double down on healthy behaviors when things get tough.
- Binge if you like, but don’t make this a habit.
- Avoid negative or immature defense mechanisms like idealization, passive aggressive, and social comparisons.
- Instead adopt positive defense mechanisms like excepting truth and reality, altruism (doing good for others), and sublimation (taking negative impulses and turning them into something positive).
Sublimation example: Family is being awful. You don’t want to leave the party because there are some people there you really love. So instead of yelling and screaming at people, walk around cleaning up, help cook, or even respond to an attack (criticism) with a story about how the person criticizing was at one point very helpful with something.
Holidays and traditions can be valuable community and cultural building tools. The longest living communities in the world, the blue zones, celebrate and show up. This holiday season, build on healthy traditions, leave the bad behind, love people more, and expect less of them.
Babies, toddlers, and kids
- Hard time of year for little ones. Stress, people, presents, sweets, etc.
- Don’t take it personally if you see a little one and they don’t seem excited to see you or even get scared and start to cry. Particularly if they have not seen you in a long time. As for adults, the holidays are overwhelming for little ones.
- If there is a dance floor and you are not on it, you are messing up.
- If parties are feeling lame, turn on some music and get moving.
- Humans bond through movement. Remember sports as a kid? Stop sitting, get up, and celebrate the holidays through movement.
Thanks again everybody. Happy Holidays, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Bill Brandenburg, MD
Wonder Medicine’s Longevity and Performance Program improves your lifespan and healthspan with a research-driven proactive program that focuses on the big picture of your health so you can perform at your highest potential.