Care for Yourself this Holiday Season and Beyond

How to Practice Better Self-care During the Holiday Season

In their efforts to create enduring holiday memories, many people put their own interests on the back burner. Unfortunately, this can have negative repercussions that persist long after the New Year. Here’s how to take control of your well-being and practice self-care during the holiday season and throughout the coming year.

  

Slow down. During the holiday season, many people adopt a mentality of urgency and perfection. This inevitably leads to stress, as we strive to achieve what is, in effect, unachievable. Remember that - while some things are urgent - many are not. Instead of approaching every task as if it's the most critical thing in the world, take a step back and honestly assess its actual importance. Take a deep breath and approach responsibilities with a reasonable perspective. Many times, it can help to make a list that prioritizes certain holiday responsibilities over others. It's also a good idea to differentiate things that must be done from what you could let slide if things become too overwhelming.

  

Sleep. Throughout America, sleep deprivation has become such a problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called it a public health epidemic. Studies have linked inadequate sleep to a myriad of health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and early mortality. Other research has drawn a definitive link between poor sleep and depression, anxiety and mood disorders. If you are feeling stressed during the holiday season, the best thing you can do is get more sleep. Prioritize your sleep hygiene by avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which are known sleep disruptors. You should also go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.

  

Get moving. There is a wealth of evidence that exercise improves our overall health while drastically reducing our risk of disease. At the same time, there is just as much research showing that regular exercise helps to relieve anxiety and depression. Find ways to remain active during the holiday season, even if you are short on time.

  

Keep a healthy perspective. When we feel pressure to please others, we tend to put our needs last. Remember that it's not your responsibility to make everything perfect for your friends and family during the holidays. Cultivate realistic expectations among yourself and others. Ask for help when it's needed. You aren't a super hero, so don't act like one. Do your best and then step back and let the chips fall where they may.

  

Set boundaries. During the holidays, we are often exposed to difficult family members and co-workers. If you find yourself in the midst of irritating personalities, do your best to set boundaries that will prevent arguments and hurt feelings. Avoid touchy subjects and controversial topics. Don't drink too much alcohol and avoid people who do. If things feel like they are going off the rails, find a way to remove yourself from the situation, even if it means leaving a party early.

Our caring therapists are here to help you overcome challenges during the holiday season and beyond! Contact us today!