Self Care for the Holidays
By Jenni-Kay Long,
Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the holiday hoopla?
While some of us are preparing for days filled with extended family and busyness… others of us are wondering how we will fill our time with a lack of family and friends to share the holidays with. Either way, emotions are abundant this time of year and it can be difficult to take good care of ourselves in the midst of all the fanfare.
1. Make a plan
When our stress and anxiety levels are soaring, it is difficult to remember how to soothe ourselves, get grounded, and re-group. And it is especially challenging at holiday time when our senses are over stimulated with noise, lights, and people.
So, before the company arrives and you are in the throws of activity (or in a slump of lonely melancholy), take a few minutes and make a plan. Write down on a note card or small slip of paper five things that you can do to take good care of yourself when you are feeling stressed/anxious/overwhelmed.
Need some ideas? You might: take a walk; make a cup of tea; enjoy ten deep breaths. Be sure and write down one thing that involves another person, i.e.: Call a friend.
When things get difficult, pull out your plan and offer yourself a few moments of self-love.
2. Take breaks
Constant hustle and bustle will tax the strongest of nerves so be sure and take breaks when you need them. A five-minute mini-retreat to your bedroom/the bathroom/ the backyard, ect. isn’t too noticeable to everyone else and will give you the time and space you need to breathe and re-group. Don’t worry, the holiday will still be there when you get back. (If that sounds terrible, gently reminder yourself that the holiday hoopla will be over for good in a just a couple of short weeks. This doesn’t last forever and your life will soon get back to normal.)
3. Nourish yourself
Holidays tend to drastically change our routine (and put pressure on us to be jolly about it) so it is important to nourish your body throughout the winter festivities. While you may be surrounded by delectable pies and pastries, remember to supplement the sweets with good food that is grounding and that will balance out the sugar high. Let your body be your ally – take care of it so that it will help take care of the rest of you, particularly your mind and emotions.
4. Reach out for support
It doesn’t always work to vent about our family/friends to our family/friends. You might consider reaching out to a therapist for support. Gift yourself the time and space to connect with a professional who will listen non-judgmentally, confidentially, and walk with you through the holiday season and into the New Year.
Or, consider scheduling a massage, acupuncture session, or taking a yoga class. You might set up a time to have tea with a friend. You know yourself best… take a moment and consider who you might reach out to for support and then make it happen.
About the writer
Jenni Kay Long, LSW, is a holistic psychotherapist, group facilitator, and yoga teacher at Wayne Family Wellness (waynewellness.com) in Wayne, Pennsylvania. For more information about Jenni Kay and her work, send her an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) – she’d love to hear from you!