6 Ways to Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Care This Holiday Season
As the holiday season reaches full swing, many of us may find that along with the joyful hustle and bustle can also come pressure, grief, tension, loneliness, disappointment and other heavy emotions. Stress and depressive feelings can be amplified as time and money resources are spread thin and people are faced with recent or unprocessed loss.
It is not uncommon to spend the holidays planning, shopping, cooking and generally taking care of others. Often, taking care of ourselves can be an afterthought at best. While self-care should be prioritized year round, it may be even more necessary during this stressful season.
Below are a few ways to take care of yourself this holiday season:
Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is a natural protective force against stress and depression. Research has found that simply getting curious about what you are grateful for boosts serotonin and dopamine, regardless of what actually comes to mind. So, rather than complaining about your office holiday party, be thankful you have a job. Instead of dreading spending time with a parent’s obnoxious significant other, be grateful that your parent has a partner who loves them by their side. When your mind automatically goes to a negative, try to find a positive.
Know your priorities. Being mindful of what’s most important to you can help manage feelings of overwhelm. If there isn’t enough time to complete all of the things on your list, prioritizing and finishing the most important things can create a sense of calm.
Say no when you need to. Although you may feel obligated to attend certain things related to family or work, remember that it is okay to say ‘no’ sometimes. Letting go of the pressure to do it all and declining invitations that do not interest you can leave you feeling happier and less stressed.
Get outside for a walk. Bundle up if it’s cold and head out with the intention of noticing the beauty of nature. Simply being outdoors is enough to help you feel more calm and refreshed. Don’t worry about burning calories or tracking steps, just enjoy yourself.
Prioritize your sleep. Sleep is an often overlooked cornerstone of good physical and mental health. Most of us sleep less well this time of year, whether it’s due to staying out late drinking at parties or leaving all the gift-wrapping until the last minute. Setting a consistent bedtime and taking naps when needed can make a big difference during the go-go-go holiday season.
Get in tune with your emotions. The holidays often bring up strong feelings for an array of reasons. Instead of avoiding difficult emotions, make a point to check in on your feelings and allow yourself to acknowledge them. Writing your feelings down in a journal can help clear your head.
Beverly Reed, MACP, is trained in many areas such as anxiety and depression, plus many more. For more information on Beverly and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.