Stores are bustling, lights are twinkling through the streets, and school vacation is just a few steps away; it’s the most wonderful time of the year… or is it? Although the holiday season can be filled with joy and love, it can also be a stressful or even painful time for many of us. You might be noticing more conflict in your family as the gift-giving season progresses, arguing with your partner more frequently because you’re both stressing about trying to juggle homework and holiday parties, or maybe you’re missing a family member you’ve lost since your last holiday reunion.
We are in the season of giving, but it’s just as important to remember to give back to yourself. With less daylight hours, catching of colds, and constant images of relationships and family in holiday movies, it’s easy to see how this season might make us feel sluggish, lonely, or depressed. In order to help yourself stay healthy and reduce stress, you deserve to gift yourself with the compassion and time you offer to others during the holidays (and the rest of the year). If you’re a procrastinator like me, putting self care at the top of your last minute to-do list can help you feel a little more merry and bright this holiday season.
Here are some self care strategies you can use to help yourself reduce stress during the holidays!
1. Schedule “me-time”
It doesn’t matter whether you prefer taking a relaxing bath, curling up with a good book, or going for a long run – penciling activities that relax and reenergize you can be a really effective way to care for yourself. When you schedule these activities the same way you would schedule a doctor’s appointment or a deadline for an assignment, you can make sure that you have plenty of time for self care.
- Focus on moderation
Between excess sweets and high expectations, it seems that moderation gets lost during the holidays. While enjoying cookies and eggnog can totally be a good method of self care, make sure you’re staying hydrated and getting your nutrients to keep your blood sugar and mood in check! Another change in moderation during the holidays falls on expectations. It’s hard to ignore the images and messages of people and families who seem especially joyful and high energy around this time of year. Remember that the date on the calendar doesn’t mean you can expect everyone (yourself included) to suddenly be magical 24/7! Maintaining healthy expectations during the holidays can relieve pressure on yourself and help you avoid disappointment if your time with others isn’t picture-perfect.
- Reach out for support
If you find yourself struggling this holiday season, don’t be afraid to reach out for support. If you’re feeling depressed or experiencing conflict in your relationships, you deserve support regardless of the time of year. Asking a supportive friend or family member to talk or scheduling an appointment with a therapist can be an important part of self care. If you have questions about your relationships or need support, you can always reach out to the Independence House Teen counselors for guidance – no matter the season!
So, how are you going to prioritize self care this holiday season? Make a list of ways you are going to gift yourself with compassion and love during the upcoming weeks, and make sure to check it twice!
For support from an Independence House Teen counselor, call our hotline at 1-800-439-6507, use our text line at 508-375-5144, or email us using the link on our website. While you’re at our website, you can also find our Facebook, Instagram, and information on our availability for live messaging with a counselor!
May your holidays be filled with self-care!
-This blog post was written by one of our IH Teen Interns.