I think most of us would agree that this has been an extremely challenging year. Many of us have experienced a lot of loss. Some of us have lost loved ones. Some of us have lost jobs. And some of us have lost our homes. The holidays can be tough when you are trying to adjust to loss of any magnitude and this year may be more challenging than most. The following are what I hope to tips to help you practice self-care of yourself through these holidays.
The Power of No!
Holidays can be full of invitations. The celebrations may look and feel a little different this year, but the invitations will probably still come. You may feel obligated to attend or participate in these events because you were invited or because the event may be something that you would have attended in the past. There is power in the word ‘no’. I am talking about a good, old fashioned, solid ‘no’. The kind of no that does not come with an explanation or an apology. You deserve a holiday that does not leave you feeling overwhelmed and drained.
Holidays are a great time to reflect on our many blessings. A great way to practice self-care is to think of the things that you must be thankful for. A good way to do this is to keep a running list or journal to serve as a reminder of all the things you should be thankful for. Revisiting your list or journal entries and thinking back on all the things you have to be thankful for can help a great deal.
Allow Yourself to Feel
When those sad or unpleasant feelings begin to overwhelm you, your natural tendency may be to press them down and ignore them. Doing this can lead to these emotions “eating you up” on the inside. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion that comes your way. If you feel like laughing, laugh. If you feel like crying, cry. If you want to be to yourself because it is just too much to be around people, do that. You can often do more harm to yourself than good when you try to suppress these feelings. Be open to your feelings and allow yourself to feel them in their totality. Accepting your feelings is a form of self-care as you allow yourself to feel emotions and work through them.
Keep a Routine
There is often great comfort in routine. Knowing what is coming next can often ease a lot of anxiety. There is a lot going on around the holidays and there is often a lot of pressure to get into the holiday spirit. If you begin to feel down, sometimes the easiest way to get back to feeling like yourself a little is to continue your routine. It may not be easy, and you may not feel up to continuing your entire routine but doing those things that are familiar can help prevent you from falling into a prolonged period of not feeling like yourself.
There are so many benefits to physical activity. Whether you are running, walking, or just moving around your house, physical activity decreases tension and stress while giving you a natural energy boost. It can also reduce your risk of becoming depressed during this time. When you stay in bed or start to become inactive, you may feel sluggish and your mental health may begin to be affected. Move around even it is just to walk to the mailbox. A part of self-care is to keep moving so that you can keep your energy level up and hopefully your mood elevated.
Hopefully, these self-care tips will help ease any unpleasant feelings that you may feel throughout this holiday season. Remember that all these feelings are normal and that you may have to intentionally put yourself first.
What are some things that you do to practice self-care during the holidays?
The Serenity Room wishes you a Happy Holiday Season!