Tag: <span>holiday stress</span>

Life Hacks for Wellness and Inner Peace

By Dr. Rachel Greenberg

1.  Sweet Slumber.  Get good sleep, both quality and quantity.  If this isn’t happening, it needs to be looked at and addressed.  A committed sleep routine and sleep hygiene skills will help.  The body and mind needs to know when it’s time to relax, unwind, and let go.  Sleep is the time to let the fog roll in.  The mind and body have been through enough for the day; it’s time to allow yourself to rest after what came today and restore and regenerate for what’s to come tomorrow.

2.  Exercise.  In whatever form you’re most interested in.  You should be moving your body deliberately every day.  Some days may be more intense than others, but dynamic bodily-based movement is imperative to well-being, stress management, emotional regulation, and internal peace and stability.

3.  Relax.  Learning to quiet the mind, body, and spirit is necessary.  Letting go of the daily stressors, big and small, is a practice you can cultivate daily to reconnect to yourself and what most matters to you.  It can quiet the parts of you that are constantly fretful, and bring forth the parts of you that are wise and know what you most need.  Relaxation can take shape by listening to music that soothes you, breathing deeply, meditating, doing any number of mindfulness strategies, reading, making art or using creative expression in whatever form you’re most drawn to (drawing, painting, writing), taking walks, connecting to nature, being with a pet, giving yourself moments to be mindful, allowing yourself the chance to play.

4.  Gratitude, practiced daily consciously.  No matter how hard or stressful life becomes, there will always be something to be grateful for.  Give yourself time to focus on that each day, even if only for a few moments.  You can opt to devote specified time to this by jotting down a few things, or you can bring forth the awareness of something you’re grateful for as you engage in it (e.g. while taking a hot shower, coming home to a roof over your head, having a place to lay your body for rest, noticing your ability to walk with ease, acknowledging a beloved friend or partner, etc. etc. etc).

5.  Eat well.  Nourish your body with nutrient-rich foods that fuel and energize it.  Be aware of what you consume and what your body most needs to feel its best.  The food we eat influences our energy, mood, focus and concentration, cognition, memory, health conditions and by extension our sense of self-esteem, worthiness, those around us who we love and are in relationship with.  How we eat influences how we sleep (life hack #1) and can contribute to our desire to engage in exercise (life hack #2).  It can also make it easier for us to feel well enough to relax (life hack #3).  Eating well is a way we say, “I’m worth taking care of myself in this way and how wonderful that I can control this aspect of my experience, health, and life.”

6.  Take stock of what really matters and don’t sweat the small stuff.  What can you relinquish today that doesn’t actually ultimately matter?  What’s coming from fear?  Where might your energy be better placed?  What are you holding on to that is creating unnecessary suffering?

7.  Practice loving-kindness.  Cultivate compassion for yourself and others, even those who most irritate or hurt you.  And even for those parts of yourself that elicit the most pain or fear.  A loving, compassionate stance is the only way to create movement, facilitate understanding, and contribute to healing.

8.  Don’t take things too personally.  It’s often not about us, and we create extra layers of self-imposed suffering when we make all of life’s challenges or interpersonal conflicts a direct indication of our own inherent goodness.

9.  Notice your automatic negatively skewed thoughts and core beliefs.  Foster awareness and then create a shift in that internal dialogue.  Weighing the facts and looking at it objectively can help.  Notice what you tell yourself and how that impacts how you feel and what you do, and then opt to offer yourself a different, more balanced and real and friendly reply.

10.  Connect to others who you feel understood and supported by.  If you don’t have enough support in your life, seek out more.  You need to be able to be authentic and safe in your expression with trusted others.  This is vital to a sense of well-being, resiliency, and ability to tackle life’s stressors, losses, and woes.

11.  Take the driver’s seat back from fear.  Be aware of the fear and do it anyway.  No feeling is final, and the worry and anxious anticipation we create in our heads is nearly always worse than the reality.  Letting fear drive the bus keeps us stuck and prevents enrichment.  If you want to live a healthy bountiful life you need to be brave and act in the face of what scares you most.

12.  Consider a spiritual or religious practice.  Connect to something beyond yourself and the physical realm.  There’s more to our lives than what meets our eye, and certainly beyond what occurs in our minds.  Open yourself up to possibility that exists beyond what you might be able to see concretely.  Connect to something bigger than yourself.

13.  Life isn’t always easy, for any of us.  It’s not supposed to be.  Life is a journey that unfolds one step at a time.  Connect to your path and foster some faith.  You cannot love without loss, be vulnerable without disappointment, or live an awakened life without pain.  It’s all part of the experience and without each element the other wouldn’t exist or be able to truly be known or felt.  Embrace the challenge and the pain.  It leads you to the richest parts of life.  

14.  See a therapist.  Therapy is a true gift if you’re brave and bold enough to do the work.  It’s an opportunity to heal, learn, and develop a strengthened connection to yourself and who you most want to be.  You cannot and are not expected to do this alone.  You need to be willing to reach out for help to obtain the wellness, peace, and internal stability and clarity that is an independent and autonomous reality birthed from an interpersonal experience with a professional.

15.  Give yourself a break.  You’re doing the best you can.  Keep at it.  Take it as it comes.  The strife is part of the package.  Embrace your challenges.  Each experience is an opportunity to become better and to have the things you most want in your life.  You’re more powerful than you realize.

Dr. Rachel Greenberg is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who practices privately in Orinda, CA.  She is influenced by eastern philosophy, western evidence-based approaches to psychotherapy, and creative arts that can help you achieve a strengthened relationship to yourself, behavioral changes to enhance mastery and happiness, and healthy and satisfying relationships.  If you’re interested in learning more about how to achieve well-being, inner peace, emotional stability and vitality, or are interested in deepening your connection to yourself through awareness practice, feel free to call or email for a consultation and to schedule an initial session.

For more information on me and my practice check out the links below:

(925) 255-5535



If there are factors making in-person treatment difficult for you, consider online therapy:


Presents or Presence?

Tis the Season for… Presents or Presence?

By Dr. Rachel Greenberg

The decorations, the excitement, the music, shopping, screams and tears on Santa’s lap, events and gatherings, holiday movies, lights and decorations, office parties and ugly sweaters, booze and food, presents and gift cards, prayer and ceremony, family feuds and white elephant gift exchange, seasonal smells of pine wood, pumpkin, maple, and apple crisps, chunky sweaters, boots, and warm winter jackets in the brisk, sharp air.  These are only some of the essential components that make this season unique and distinctly knowable.

The holiday season brings with it, too, an incredible and firmly unparalleled array of societal expectations, standards, roles, requirements, practices, routines, rituals, and opportunities.  It is a dynamic time of the year in American culture, primarily dictated by a dichotomous mix of consumerism and materialism, as well as the potential for a deepening of connection through gathering and time off from work to relax and be merry with loved ones.  It is a season that can bring to life both the highest and lowest parts of our humanity.  Either serving as a reminder of the importance of fostering gratitude, offering time and acknowledgement to the others in life who make it all worth it, or, for others, the holidays provide a reckoning of suffering in isolation, oppression, disappointment, diminished health status, pain, fear, loneliness, and lack of resources.  Holding both the joys and trials that may be confronted this time of year can undoubtedly be bolstered and softened by a mindful and compassionate approach to whatever is right for you as you embark upon the holiday season.

The realities of our experience seem to confront us in bold and unavoidable ways during the holidays, and I see this come alive in the patients I treat and the multidimensional realities that unfold for communities of people who both celebrate and dread what the holidays bring.  Cultivating mindfulness is indicated now more than ever during the season of what boasts of joyfulness, to allow oneself not only to be present and aware but to embrace whatever the current reality is, and become attuned to how the holidays influence our response to these truths.  Our lives don’t stop when the seasons change, and we may still be dealt the uncertainty of life’s ebb and flows, its stressors, pains, losses, requirements, and woes.  Too, we may be in a place of celebrating the highs of our experience in the form of new relationships, intimate love, exciting opportunities, spiritual transformation, job success, or cultivation of a new skill/hobby/practice.

Whatever it is that happens to be alive and real for us when the season changes can often be intensified by the cheerful disposition of the holiday season and the elements of gift-giving, congregation, and celebrating.  Religiosity aside, this is a season that tells us to spend a lot of money, show our love through the accrual of new stuff, and also be happy, connected, kind, and generous.  These inherent mandates can serve as a gut-wrenching reminder for some of what feels like is lacking in their lives or for others an invigorating reinforcement of the greatest of life’s gifts.  Whatever the circumstance is for you this holiday season, it ultimately doesn’t matter, and you can be present with whatever it is.  Presence, not presents, is the real task here.  Presence is where joy truly resides.

We know the circumstance will change and develop and transform or halt or evolve or shift or grow.  It is all in flux for us always and so we can, for ourselves and our well-being, for our families and communities, partners, pets, and close others, make a conscious and mindful decision to be with whatever it is our experience is patiently and honestly, noticing the reality of it with curiosity and offering ourselves compassion in the face of the suffering and gratitude in the face of the abundance.

The holidays, regardless of whether or not you choose to or your religion dictates you celebrate them, can serve as a not-so-gentle reminder that life is meant to be spent together, present and alive, awake to the reality of what we go through and offering ourselves nurturance, patience, love, and understanding through whatever it is.  It is about telling other people we love them, despite our hardships, and taking advantage of every moment we are given however we can.  We can stay reminded of the things in life in which we have no control, and hold tightly to the things in life and ourselves in which we do.  We can make a mindful decision to be caring towards ourselves and others, to notice our self-defeating beliefs, thoughts or attitudes and offer ourselves a gentle switch to compassion.

If suffering feels palpable, let the holiday season serve as a reminder that you may feel alone, but you are not actually and do not have to be.  There are always opportunities to connect to one another if you allow yourself to be courageous enough to take the risk.

Regardless of the celebration, you choose to participate in, make it whatever it is you want it to be.  If solitude and respite are what you long for, listen to your spirit that is asking to be re-energized with the stillness.  If you desire celebration via a rowdy and roused party with a community of others singing and exchanging ideas, stories, and gifts, seek out that opportunity and let yourself experience it.  If a walk in nature is what calls you, follow that feeling.  If it’s meditating at a retreat, or volunteering at a local shelter, or visiting the library, working, staying on the couch for a Netflix marathon, talking on the phone, painting, reading, road-tripping, eating out, cooking, working out, whatever it is.  Do whatever it is you most want and need to.  Allow yourself to listen to your deepest needs and let that guide you this holiday season.  You do have the power to make this season what you most want it to be if you allow yourself to be quiet, present, and steady enough internally to determine what that is.

However it is you most need to celebrate, albeit subtle or overt, soft or bold, quiet or busy, alone or together, do give yourself that chance to be present with your needs, offer yourself kindness always, and take stock of what is real for you, knowing it may be different tomorrow.   Today, right now, at this moment, you have control to make this celebration whatever it is that will help you feel connected, alive, awake, and present.  And that matters more.  That matters the very most this holiday season

If you’re interested in learning more about how to enhance your communication and self-expression or are hoping to work through interpersonal challenges, or are interested in deepening your connection to yourself through awareness practice, feel free to call or email for a consultation and to schedule an initial session.

For more information on me and my practice check out the links below:


(925) 255-5535