Taking Care of Yourself through the Holidays
It is that time of the year. As I write this, Halloween is on the horizon, we are thinking about Thanksgiving in less than a month, and December feels like it will be here only tomorrow. And as much as the “holiday season” brings with it the “aura” of being a wonderful time, we all know that the reality of it is not always that for lots of reasons.
The holidays tend to bring with them extra demands on our schedules, our budgets, our bodies, and our time. It is certainly that “expectation” of it being a wonderful time of the year that can set us up for disappointment. So how can we make sure that we maintain peace within ourselves and peace within our environments during this time of the year?
Here are some ideas for reducing stress and allowing yourself to enjoy the holidays:
Be realistic. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Listen to yourself and what you can and cannot do. Don’t strive to please everyone else, but rather set limits on your time and energy and say “no” when you need to cut something out.
No Expectations. Allow yourself to enjoy the holiday season with whatever comes your way. Be in the moment and enjoy the moment. Setting yourself up for expectations of the way it “should” be sets yourself up for disappointment as you are striving for something that may never happen and isn’t reasonable. And you lose the moments that do come your way and can be the real joys. So go with the flow and enjoy what comes your way. Changes in plans may appear to be disappointing. But be open to what is coming your way so you don’t miss it because you are focused on what “didn’t happen”.
Visualize. See yourself handling unpleasant family situations in a more positive way. Don’t set yourself up for the expectation that things are going to be better or different just because it is the holiday time. Breathe, accept, and reframe things in your mind that make family times more enjoyable.
Take Time for Yourself. Remember to take some down time for yourself. Make this a priority as losing sleep and energy will only set you up to become worn down and overwhelmed.
Take Time to do For Others. Taking time for others helps to keep things in perspective. When we “gift” others, we really do “gift” ourselves, and since it is the giving season, taking time to share with the less fortunate is a measure of out character.
Use Moderation. It is all too easy to over-spend during the holidays. Set yourself up a budget and if you can’t afford something, say no to it. Consider doing something for another that won’t cost you money, but maybe give the gift of your time. And if there isn’t time during the holiday season, post-date it for after the season when the blues can set in. This is a perfect time to do for someone else.
Exercise. Make sure you do something in the way of regular exercise even if it is a short walk around the block. This helps the mind and the body and helps to manage stress. This is doing something for yourself and will benefit everyone in your environment.
Keep things in perspective. Remember to find things to laugh at during these next few months, even if it is the burnt cookies. Life is too short as we can easily see by how fast these holiday seasons come around. So keep things light, laugh more, and enjoy the moments.Tags: holiday self care, reducing stress at the holidays
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Janie Pfeifer Watson
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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