The "silly season" is a term used all over the world for many things, but here down under it refers to a time of year where the weather is becoming warmer and the holidays are fast approaching. We're busy rushing from one event to another as everyone wants to catch up. The school year is ending, people are getting married, or having babies, or buying houses, holidays are fast approaching and the house needs sprucing and ... breathe. We get caught up in what's expected even more so around this time of year and we forget to stop and take it all in. It makes sense then that people's stress levels can rise.
Even if a million and one things do not seem to be happening, we can still somehow get caught up in the effects of the silly season. You see, emotions are contagious, especially when we find ourselves in a group setting. For example, if most people around you in the office or in your home were feeling down about something, then you might just find yourself feeling similarly. The same would go if most people around you were feeling good about something then you may also find yourself feeling the same. Humans have long been known to mimic the emotions of others. Sometimes we're aware of it, but mostly we're not. Our own emotions can influence others the same way other people's emotions can influence ours. It's no wonder then that a simple trip to the supermarket in mid-December may cause more havoc than its worth!
So how do we cope with all of this? One way of coping is by surfing; and by that I don't mean grabbing a surfboard, donning your wet suit and heading out to catch a wave. By surfing I'm referring to the surfing of your emotions as they rise and fall. Our emotions are not unlike the ocean. Our emotions are deep and shallow just like an ocean. Even the smallest disturbance can create ripples, and eventually waves. We cannot control the ocean nor stop it, but we can let it be. At times we cannot control our emotions, but we can let them be. This is essentially what we want to do with our emotions. We want to be able to reach a point by allowing our emotions to be, without reacting to them. Essentially we don't want to be "swimming" in our emotions. When we begin to notice our emotions and reactions, we are then able to let them go. If we did this then we would be in a better position to resist "catching" the emotions of others during the silly season. This is easier said than done, but it is achievable with regular practice.
Mindfulness and mindfulness meditation is one of the most effective methods of being able to surf your emotions. There are several fantastic resources for this that are available online. Some of them include works for adults by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Steven Hayes, and Spencer Smith. You can also get the kids involved! One resource for mindfulness we love for use with children is called "Sitting Still Like a Frog" by Eline Snel. If you would like to improve your ability to surf, then you might also find that our mindfulness program is beneficial. If you would like more information about this or if you would like to register your interest then give us a call on (03) 9882-8874.
Until next time...Dr Celin Gelgec and the Team from Melbourne Wellbeing Group