For many people, this time of year is wonderful. It can be filled with fun family traditions, shopping, joy, and good holiday cheer. But for those who are already struggling with stress or suffer from depression, this time of year can be overwhelming.
The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather and celebrate, which can be difficult for those who have lost someone close to them. It's also the time of year when the days are shortest, so Seasonal Affective Disorder can be an issue. Ultimately, increased feelings of sadness, inadequacy, unworthiness, and grief can reach a seemingly unmanageable level during the holidays.
With careful planning, mental preparations, and a bit of self care, the holidays can be managed.
SELF CARE FOR GRIEF:
If you are experiencing grief, be intentional about being present with it.
Spend time journaling about what makes you sad.
Talk to a good friend about what you are experiencing. (Friendship is a great healer)
Find a Blue Christmas/ Longest Night Service near you. Churches are now hosting services intended to be safe, sacred places for people who are grieving. Personally, I have found that when I am sad, if I will take the time to let myself be sad and go for walk, journal or talk to a friend, I am able to move through the grief and experience greater peace.
Sometimes we think self care is a yoga retreat or a bubble bath. Those are great things but we can actually practice self care in short snippets all day long. Some suggestions follow.
SELF CARE FOR THE CAR:
You are in the car. You have been busy all day. Take the time to blow off some stress by:
1. Turn on your favorite music and sing at the top of your lungs for the duration of your drive, or turn off all music. Be mindful of your actions and the surrounding.
A few examples:
2. At a stop light be intentional to focus on your breath the entire time the light is red.
Feel your breath enter your nostrils. Notice the way it feels for breath to exit your nostrils. Have kids in the car? Invite them into this mindful practice with you.
3. At a stop light rub your hand on the seat and notice the texture. For just that time don’t look at your phone. Just focus on the feeling of your hand on the texture of the seat.
These practices ground us in the present and help us calm our thoughts and bodies.
SELF CARE FOR THE OFFICE:
LOOK AT YOUR DECEMBER CALENDAR:
OTHER SELF CARE PRACTICES:
I hope this helps.