9, Jun, 2020

Stand Against Racism: Now is the Time

Stand Against Racism 2020 Now it the time

I stand against racism, and I stand with the peaceful protesters demanding an end to the systemic violence and racism which we’ve witnessed most recently in the death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. And this oppression and cruelty has flourished for over four centuries in America. Black people get killed in broad daylight, and where is the justice? We cannot continue like this. As a white person, I know that it’s my responsibility to speak out against racism, stand against, it — each and every day. Having been knocked down many times in life, I’ve learned to stand up — and I’ve learned the power of standing strong against violence, oppression, and inequality. For a decade or more, I worked as a professional standup comic — literally stood up for a living. As a white woman, and a survivor of gender-based violence, human trafficking, and physical and sexual assault, I have advocated for victims and survivors, donated services, time, and money to non-profits that support and serve marginalized communities, people with substance use, traumatic stress, and mental health issues, and people who are unsheltered — people with experiences like mine. I realize that I can never really know what it’s like to shoulder the tremendous burdens that people of color carry each and every day of their lives.

I know that as a white person, I was born with privileges unjustly denied to others. I was a little girl in the Sixties when the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and so many strong spiritual leaders in the Black community fought for justice and created positive change. On our family television, and in news photos, I saw the violence and hatred directed against the civil rights activists in the streets of cities like Selma, Alabama. I remember the assassination of Dr. King, Malcolm X, the Black Panther community leaders. Those were my formative years. My parents were anti-racist, anti-hate, and anti-ignorance. They were pro-civil rights, pro-human rights, pro-women’s rights, and pro-LGBTQI rights — and so am I. My mother and father raised me to stand against racism and hatred in all its forms, to respect people of all races and cultures, and to have regard for each and every human being without prejudice. My father, an English professor, and a WWII veteran, taught me that because hatred is learned it can be unlearned; that hate blossoms from fear but a higher love crushes fear and hate with it.

I believe that this peaceful and dynamic protest movement is going to spark a sea change. Now is the time to heal our systemic ills. But white people need to take up this struggle. I will continue to stand against racism in every aspect of life, including contacting elected officials, voting, donating to bail funds for protesters, and learning about the many ways that white privilege causes suffering. I will continue to listen to people of color, the leaders, colleagues, mentors I am so grateful to have had contact with. Justice for all, liberty for all — we can make that a reality, even in a pandemic. We can uphold justice, dignity, and truth, even when it seems we fight against all odds. We are seeing the change wrought before our eyes.

Say their names:

Here are some of the names of Black people killed at the hands of police within the past decade.

The Guardian has a list in their series, The Counted

ERIC GARNER – JOHN CRAWFORD III – MICHAEL BROWN – EZELL FORD – DANTE PARKER – MICHELLE CUSSEAUX – LAQUAN MCDONALD – GEORGE MANN – TANISHA ANDERSON – AKAI GURLEY – TAMIR RICE – RUMAIN BRISBON – JERAME REID – MATTHEW AJIBADE – FRANK SMART – NATASHA MCKENNA TONY ROBINSON – ANTHONY HILL – MYA HALL – PHILLIP WHITE – ERIC HARRIS – WALTER SCOTT – WILLIAM CHAPMAN II – ALEXIA CHRISTIAN – BRENDON GLENN – VICTOR MANUEL LAROSA – ALTON STERLING – PHILANDO CASTILE – TERENCE CRUTCHER – PAUL O’NEAL – ALTERIA WOODS – JORDAN EDWARDS – JANET WILSON – MARY TRUXILLO – AARON BAILEY – RONELL FOSTER – STEPHON CLARK – ANTWON ROSE II – BOTHAM JEAN – PAMELA TURNER – DOMINIQUE CLAYTON – ATATIANA JEFFERSON – CHRISTOPHER WHITFIELD – CHRISTOPHER MCCORVERY – BREONNA TAYLOR – GEORGE FLOYD

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10, Mar, 2020

Healthcare is a Human Right and 3 More Things I Learned from Breast Cancer

4 things I learned from breast cancer

…and Other Stuff I Learned from Breast Cancer

March is Women’s History Month, and I’m celebrating being alive and being a woman. For the past several months, I’ve battled an aggressive type of ductal breast cancer — with good results. And the past year rolled in packing more than one unexpected challenge. Last March, my husband experienced a stroke but beat all the odds, for which I am eternally grateful. He emerged from acute rehab walking, talking, playing piano, climbing up and downstairs with no problem, which was nothing short of miraculous considering the type of stroke and the area of the brain where it occurred. We caught it early, though, the medical staff told us, and that made a huge difference. Early detection and response, that’s the key.

A couple of days after my sweetie’s stroke and by accident — I wasn’t doing a self-exam — but anyway, I discovered a small, hard lump on my right breast that did not move. I know the warning signs for cancer and that’s one of them, but I still hoped it was a cyst. I delayed getting diagnostic imaging for a couple of months until he was stabilized and completely restored. I don’t recommend delaying; the consequences could have been disastrous. But the medical staff told me I caught it early. The long and short of it is that my treatment extended over several months, with some very difficult decisions and scary possibilities. Ultimately, I took the surgical option — a double mastectomy with reconstruction, and I’m really glad I did. I’m also taking an anti-cancer medication, Tamoxifen, for five years.

My cancer experience deepened and refreshed my perspective on life, and taught me many things. I’m a survivor — of sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, homelessness…so I know a thing or two about overcoming adversity and challenges. I applied all the practical knowledge I’ve gained from my life experience, things like mindfulness meditation, positive self-talk, and positive visualization. Gratitude is a surefire way to stay grounded, and health insurance was high on my medical gratitude list. Cancer showed up a couple of months after I’d gotten old enough for Medicare — a lucky break and a blessing after living for decades with a pre-existing condition that barred me being underwritten by any private insurance company. (In 2014, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I was able to buy insurance, but with an individual plan, the premiums and out-of-pocket minimums were daunting.) But this time I had health insurance through Medicare plus a low-cost private supplemental care plan, so I only needed to focus on healing.

 

Here are four of the things to keep in mind if you’re dealing with cancer:


Healthcare is a human right.

The World Health Organization has clearly stated that health care is a human right, in fact it is a fundamental human right.[1] So has the American Bar Association. [2] Everyone deserves affordable health care. Not “access to healthcare,” but affordable, real benefits.

You always have time. Stand your ground and consider all the options.

From the initial diagnosis, health care professionals begin telling you to take immediate action, and you do, but you want to consider all the options and not panic. Then you begin the process. But the process can appear to be glacially slow-moving. Waiting for test results is nerve-wracking. Hang in there, advocate for yourself, seek and find ways to feel safe, soothed, and confident in your everyday life, no matter what. When you focus on the things that are highest priority in your life, time expands in the moment. Take time to savor the moments with loved ones, listen to your favorite music, appreciate every bit of life simply because you’re alive. Do not, I repeat, do not do internet searches for information, especially to find out about “possible side effects.” It’s like tossing gasoline onto the flames of your worst fears.

You are not alone.

Millions of people have recovered from cancer and the health care system is getting better and better at treatment. Remind yourself that you are surrounded by support. Cultivate good relationships with your treatment team, they’ve got your back. Some people tell everybody about their diagnosis, some keep it quiet. Either way, it’s up to you and what gives you comfort. I have a couple of friends who beat cancer in the past, and I contacted them for advice. They taught me many valuable things, and one big one is that you always have time to make your treatment decisions. Another is that regarding cancer, medical science is amazing in what it can do. Listen to people’s personal stories of victory and encouragement. Avoid people who tell you scare stories. Look for support groups in your area and make note of the ones that appeal to you. You may want to join up right away, or wait till later.


You always have time to make your treatment decisions.


Never give up — be assertive and persistent in self-advocacy.

Make yourself a priority at all times during treatment. Self-advocacy is key to navigating the healthcare system. Be vocal about your concerns, fears, and hopes. Just remember that most office visits are about fifteen minutes in duration. Make a written list of the things you want to address during your medical meetings. Whenever possible, take along a friend, relative, or other trusted witness to your medical appointments and procedures. They will provide emotional support and also can take notes and help you remember things later or even during the visit.

 

Have you or a loved one experienced cancer? I’d love to hear from you and learn your insights.

 

[1] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/human-rights-and-health  WHO, 112/29/17, Human Rights and Health

https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/fundamental-human-right/en/  WHO 12/10, Health is a fundamental human right

[2]     https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/the-state-of-healthcare-in-the-united-states/health-care-as-a-human-right/ABA Healthcare as a Human Right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21, Feb, 2020

Marti MacGibbon on Human Trafficking: A Global Tragedy

Marti MacGibbon Keynote Speaker as Social Justice in Action

Marti MacGibbon delivered a deeply moving and inspirational presentation on “Human Trafficking: A Global Tragedy” at Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service’s Social Justice in Action annual event, which celebrates and honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.

The evening’s event was entitled, “Human Trafficking: A Global Tragedy.” Social Justice in Action seeks to foster awareness of injustice in the public eye through educational and legislative presentations. Audience members remarked on Marti’s skill in illuminating and informing the audience, and telling her personal story in a way that brings hope and even light humor — a testament to the resilience and courage of all survivors. The evening’s program included a university choral group, and a gorgeous solo vocal performance.

Marti signed copies of her two nationally award-winning memoirs, Never Give in to Fear and Fierce, Funny, and Female.

Lack of shelter is where human trafficking often happens. Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service provides assistance with food, clothing, shelter and emergency services to the most vulnerable members of St. Charles, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.

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30, Jan, 2020

Human Trafficking Awareness Month Articles and Resources

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January being Human Trafficking Awareness Month, I thought I would advocate for the victims, who should be regarded with respect and compassion. Also, we should acknowledge that Human Trafficking is a complex phenomenon that involves a wide variety of people from many walks of life, participating in a wide variety of activities. Basically Human Trafficking occurs when any person is induced “to perform commercial sex or labor through force, fraud, or coercion.” People should realize that many participants in activities of a sexual nature (whether in a legal or illegal setting) are not doing so of their own free will or choice. Likewise, their traffickers may not conform to the “traditional pimp” stereotype figure. Sometimes even relatives may be the perpetrators. Also, these things can happen in America, to US citizens, not some distant land to foreigners.

In addition to activities of a sexual nature, human trafficking can occur in various manifestations in the labor world, to both blue and white-collar workers as well as domestics-from accountants, analysts, telemarketers, hospitality industry personnel, construction workers and people in various levels of manufacturers’ supply chains and more. Sometimes our government may inadvertently become involved. [Many sources describe how Human Trafficking was involved in the construction of the US Embassy in Iraq. This article offers more information.

People and companies can become more aware as consumers. Many organizations address Human Trafficking in supply chains.

As a primer, a point of departure to take action and/or to refer to other people explore: “Myths, Facts, and Statistics.”

Let’s work together to solve this problem.

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3, Jan, 2020

Top Shelf Magazine awards ‘Never Give in to Fear’ First Place Award

Never Give In To Fear Book by Available through Amazon

“Thoroughly immersive”

This story of addiction and sexual slavery is all the more potent because it is absolutely true, which makes the ultimately triumphant climax even more powerful. For Marti MacGibbon, stand up comedian and already a rising star in the early ’80s, life appeared to be on an upswing. Having recently moved from Texas to San Francisco to break into the business and scheduled for an appearance on the iconic Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, MacGibbon’s chances at superstardom seemed almost secure. Unfortunately, her developing addiction to crystal meth and other substances, at that point, began to tilt her world into a downward spiral of hopeless despondency that would lead to domestic violence, homelessness, and even a period of sexual slavery in Japan. Through all of this, MacGibbon, though a slave to her addiction and depraved lifestyle, is never utterly hopeless. In the end, it’s the forgiveness of her adult daughter that inspires her to conquer her many demons and come out a stronger and better person, compassionate and committed to helping others, becoming a motivational speaker and advocate for addicts and victims of the underground sex slave industry. One of the portholes to this vile industry is the underground drug culture. A note of caution: In MacGibbon’s story, you will be thoroughly immersed in the seedy world of drug addiction, sex slavery, and the despairing results of living in those worlds. There were times during this read that I felt as if I needed to shower just to wash that world off myself. So, readers who are extra sensitive may want to consider this before diving in. Having said this, MacGibbon’s use of humor throughout this book dramatically reduces the effect of these passages.

~Donald Richard,
TopShelf Reviews
https://topshelfmagazine.net/


14, Mar, 2019

Marti MacGibbon is keynote speaker at Mentari Human Trafficking Survivor Empowerment Program event in NYC

Marti MacGibbon is a human trafficking survivor speaker and expert on human trafficking, addiction recovery, and overcoming adversity. Marti delivered the closing keynote at Mentari Home Grand Opening in New York, New York in January. Mentari Human Trafficking Survivor Empowerment Program is a non-profit founded by human trafficking survivors Shandra Woworuntu and Ima Matul. The organization benefits survivors in the USA and in Indonesia. Mentari USA, based in NYC, provides support to survivors exiting trafficking, empowering them at every step of their recovery, including job training through their culinary academy. The Mentari Home Grand Opening celebrated the non-profit’s launch of its new transitional housing program for survivors.


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12, Feb, 2019

Marti MacGibbon, CADC-II, Human Trafficking Survivor-Speaker, Inspires and Informs Professionals at 9th Annual New Jersey Human Trafficking Conference

JJ Conference Book Signing

Marti MacGibbon Book Signing at New Jersey Human Trafficking Conference

Marti MacGibbon is a humorous inspirational speaker, a nationally award-winning author, and an expert on trauma resolution and addiction. She’s a survivor of human trafficking, intimate partner violence, sexual assault and abuse, homelessness, complex PTSD, and addiction. On January 25th, at the War Memorial in Trenton, NJ, Marti delivered a stirring keynote address at a statewide conference sponsored by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey Human Trafficking Task Force. In her speech, Marti provided both clinical and experiential insights into the intersection of human trafficking and addiction, with a focus on the current opioids crisis. Ms. MacGibbon was able to bring light humor to her talk, along with inspiring and moving anecdotes from her own experience. The attendees included government officials, criminal justice professionals, law enforcement professionals, university students, academics, medical and behavioral health professionals, and concerned citizens. The audience showed appreciation for Marti by giving her a standing ovation. Other speakers at the conference included NJ Congressman Chris Smith, author of the original Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. After her talk, Marti signed complimentary copies of her books, Never Give in to Fear and Fierce, Funny, and Female.

www.NJHumanTrafficking.gov


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22, Jan, 2019

Marti MacGibbon, CADC-II, Survivor of Human Trafficking – Speaker, Educates Professionals about the Opioid Crisis, Trauma, and Human Trafficking

 

Human trfficking survivor speaker Marti Macgibbon and Justice At Last founder Rose Mukhar

Marti MacGibbon with Attorney Advocate Rose Mukhar.

Marti MacGibbon is a professional humorous motivational speaker, an award-winning author, and an expert on trauma resolution and addiction. She is an empowered survivor of human trafficking, PTSD, and addiction. January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and Marti’s busy advocating and educating multidisciplinary teams of professionals about the issue, and about how to recognize and assist victims and survivors of human trafficking. On January 11, which is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Marti presented a Human Trafficking 101 training to healthcare professionals at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco. On January 15, Marti delivered the opening speech, “The Intersection of Human Trafficking and Addiction, with Focus on the Opioids Crisis”, at Sacramento’s 11th Annual Human Trafficking Conference at Sacramento State University.

 

Marti also did a book signing featuring her two critically acclaimed and award-winning memoirs, Never Give in to Fear and Fierce, Funny, and Female. Ms. MacGibbon donated proceeds from book sales to Justice At Last, a non-profit headed by Rose Mukhar, a well-known California attorney advocate (and recipient of the Modern-day Abolitionist Award) who provides pro bono legal services to victims of human trafficking. Marti is a Survivor Advisor at Justice At Last. The Sacramento conference was organized by My Sister’s House, a non-profit serving victims and survivors of human trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic violence. On January 16th and 17th, Marti presented a series of trainings to healthcare professionals on trauma-informed care best practices for engagement with victims and survivors of violence. The talks were delivered at medical centers in Central Coastal California.

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14, Jan, 2019

Marti Mac’s Top Ten New Year Resolution Survival Tips

Top 10 New Year Resolution Survival Tips by Marti MacGibbon

January is the month when we promise ourselves we’re going to make positive changes in our lives. Advertisers hit us with “New Year, New You” messages. Friends tell us about their resolution plans. In response, we might either catch the wave of excitement and make resolutions, or feel overwhelmed enough to blow it all off, scoop up a big bowl of ice cream, hit the couch and binge Netflix. New Year or not, it’s possible to build healthy habits and achieve goals and dreams. Transforming new behaviors into strong habits only takes about ten weeks if you repeat the action each day, according to National Institutes of Health. I’ve seen it in my own life. Using this top ten list, I quit smoking, kicked a ten-year hard-core drug habit, wrote two books, earned five professional certifications, and built a business as a speaker. Check it out:

1. Decide on a goal. Make it measurable and realistic. If your goal is solving world hunger, you can translate your intentions into action by keeping it small. Begin locally, in the community where you live, by volunteering at or donating to a local food bank. You’ll be thinking about other people, and that creates motivation to keep going. Your involvement locally will lead to opportunities at state level and beyond. A simple way to make your big goal measurable and realistic is to work the process one day at a time. Whether your goal is eating less sugar, writing a book, getting in shape, or earning a degree or credential, you can map out the process in one-day increments.

2. Choose a time and place to put your new practice or behavior into action. This process helps your brain to store information that will reinforce your efforts as you move forward to your ultimate goal. For example, if you want to write a book, set a time a place to write each day, or one day a week, depending on your schedule and lifestyle. Then stick to it — take an hour or two to write. Don’t worry about how much you write, that’s beside the point. What you’re doing is teaching your brain to engage in the new activity each day at that same time.

3. Set mini goals, steps you can take each day on the way to the ultimate goal. Every big win in life is actually a series of thousands of daily baby steps. This is a strategy used by Navy Seals and Special Forces. If your goal is to do a hundred push-ups, your mini-goal is one push-up at a time, one hundred times. Celebrate each push-up in your mind, then do the next rep. If you can only do one push-ups the first day, celebrate that, and keep increasing the number as you get stronger. Celebration keeps you motivated, and raises the levels of positive neurotransmitters in your brain, so you feel good working toward your ultimate goal.

4. Forget about expectations, and remember, your progress is your progress. You never have to compare yourself to anyone else, or live up to some impossible standard. You’re making plans to achieve a goal or realize a dream, and that’s nobody’s business but yours. Avoid unreasonable expectations that give you a feeling of failure. Instead, feel successful for charting a new course in life. You walk with your success, not toward it.

5. Use “If-then” plans to create new, beneficial habits. The idea is to get past the good intention stage and into action. Set up a strategy for taking a positive, healthy action at the moment a specific opportunity or obstacle to your goal presents itself. When I quit smoking, back in 1994, my plan was,* if *I think about smoking, *then* I will chew sugarless gum till the craving goes away. My plan included carrying several packs of gum with me all day, every day, for months. It worked! You can use if-then, focusing on opportunity, to reinforce a good habit, like mediating, e.g., *if* it’s 8:00 p.m., *then* I will meditate.

6. For best results, repeat, replay, reward! Repetition in a daily, fun and rewarding context will help to anchor a new habit in your brain. This year, I’m focusing on eating less sugar. My sugar cravings are strongest after dinner. After dinner every night, instead of browsing social media on my phone and eating cookies, I take a walk around the block and look at the stars. Or I listen to my favorite music and dance around the house. I started this new plan in early December, and my cravings are decreasing.

7. Revel in your resolution, even if/when you goof up. Each day, mentally congratulate yourself on making the decision. Applaud yourself for taking action. Pick a time each day or night to celebrate. One or two goof-up days will not interrupt the ten-week process of getting that good habit deeply rooted. Celebrate a goof-up as an opportunity to embrace the process and get back on track.

8. Review and mentally rehearse your plan of action to face challenges or obstacles. Positive visualization is a powerful tool you can harness to maintain your new program and progress. Take time each day to “see” yourself accomplishing goals and overcoming upcoming obstacles or challenges. If you can see it, you can believe it, and if you can believe it, you will achieve it. This isn’t hack or cliche. It’s evidence-based, and it works.

9. Get connected, and stay connected. Isolation can inhibit your progress. Get connected with like-minded people who share your goals. Align yourself with a bigger-than-self purpose or meaning. When you’re connected to social support and a higher purpose, you can rock your goals.

10. Stay the course. Persistence = Luck, and Vice Versa. Continue to take action. Focus on the long game. Celebrate your mistakes as opportunities to learn more about yourself, others, and life. When you’re persistent, day after day, you anchor positive behaviors, expand your network, and make your own good luck.

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

— Francis of Assisi

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15, Dec, 2018

Marti Mac’s Top 10 Holiday Survival Strategies

The U.S. commercial holiday season kicks off immediately after Halloween and continues on through the Super Bowl, and brings with it a horde of potential stressors. Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s, Kwanzaa.

Holiday travel, compounded by crazy weather, budget-straining gift shopping, obligatory office parties, or the potential drama attached to family visits can be more overwhelming than festive. And if you deal with anxiety, depression, trauma, or substance use issues, you might be counting the days until the holidays are over. Research by National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found 64% of people with mental health issues report the holidays season makes their condition worse. 

I’m a person in long-term recovery from addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but I’ve learned some simple ways to survive the holidays and have some fun in the process. Check out my top 10 holiday survival strategies:

Top 10 Holiday Survival Strategies

  1. Ask yourself what you want to do. Then do it. Take ten or fifteen minutes to contemplate the pros and cons of the holidays for you. Examine each holiday-related task on your list, doing an emotional check-in to see how you really feel about it. If it fills you with joy, go with it. If you feel dread mixed with a grudging sense of duty, forget it.
  2. Remember to have fun. Fun is an attitude, a state of mind. When you’re having fun, you’re more relaxed. Cultivate a sense of humor as you anticipate holiday challenges — like air travel, for instance. Pace yourself, arrange moments in your day where you can stop, breathe, meditate, and stretch your muscles. If you’re dreading doing something, and there’s no way you can get out of it, plan to reward yourself afterward, and visualize yourself enjoying the planned reward as you power on through the dreaded task. Make sure to follow through with rewarding yourself!
  3. Give yourself permission to stay home from holiday travel. One way to reduce stress is to exit the stressful situation. It’s okay to unplug and step back from the whole thing. Even if you’ve purchased your airfare, check out the cancellation and refund policy. You may find you can get all or most of your money back. Then stay home, binge Netflix, order carryout or delivery, follow your bliss. You can FaceTime or Skype with relatives and friends.
  4. If you decide to travel, allow plenty of time. Target an early arrival time at airports. That way, you’ll have a cushion of time against any possible delay or mishap. Expect, but don’t fear, long lines at TSA checkpoints. Plan ahead for how you’ll handle situations. If you feel stress and anxiety building, do this breathing exercise: slowly breathe in through your nose, saying, “Let,” then hold for a beat, and release that breath slowly out through your lips, saying, “go.” Repeat. It’ll help you calm the pounding heart, shaky muscles, or butterflies feeling in your stomach. If you’re driving, stop every two or three hours and stretch, walk around, give yourself some relaxation before jumping back in behind the wheel.
  5. Do something kind for somebody you’ve never met. Volunteer a few hours of your time at a food bank, homeless shelter, animal shelter, or other charity. Volunteering protects you from social isolation while you contribute to the greater good. It’s also a gratitude exercise; it gets you out of your head and into action. If you don’t have hours to volunteer, take a few minutes to open a door for someone, let somebody in your lane in heavy traffic, or pay the bridge toll for the car behind you.
  6. Focus on self-care and self-kindness. Treat yourself to pleasant experiences. Visualize good things coming your way, and take time to acknowledge your strengths. Make a list of self-enhancing statements and read them to yourself aloud before you go to sleep at night. Make time for physical exercise each day. Cardio and/or strength training lower stress levels, release endorphins and raise the levels of “feel good” neurotransmitters in your brain. Go out for a hike, a movie, dinner, or coffee. Book an appointment for acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, or beauty care.
  7. Revel in the opportunity to do all things in moderation. Take everything slowly. Remind yourself that each day in the holiday cavalcade is just another day — decked out in tinsel and glitter. Practice mindfulness meditation, slow breathing, and positive self-talk to center yourself and stay grounded. It’ll keep you from getting swept away by drinking, spending too much, or eating too much junk food. Make yourself a gratitude list and review it each morning. At night, before you go to sleep, list three things you’re grateful for and expect more good things to come your way.
  8. Do emotional “check-ins” throughout the day to assess how things affect you. This is important, whether you’re alone or visiting relatives and in-laws. The holiday season brings lots of memories with it, some good, some bad. When you monitor your inner state, you’ll be empowered to manage negative emotions. You can dispel or transform a negative mindset or emotional state. Soothe yourself by meditating, or try making a quick mental gratitude list. Take a walk, listen to music, or watch a funny YouTube video.
  9. Know that it’s okay to step back from or ignore the holiday hustle and bustle. But be tolerant of the people in your life who love it. You don’t have to fake enthusiasm for things that don’t raise your spirits. If you let them know your feelings without raining on their holiday parade, they’ll be less likely to pressure you to “get you into the spirit of things.”
  10. Know that it’s okay to celebrate the season in a big way. But tolerate the people in your life who don’t share your enthusiasm. Understand that every one of us has a unique perspective on the holiday season. Your friend or loved one may struggle emotionally at this time of the year, or may feel guilty for not being as excited about it as you are. Being mindful will enhance your enjoyment of the holidays.
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