Stress is an unavoidable part of life. It can certainly keep things interesting, that’s for sure, but like, not always in a good way. The holidays can bring out acute times of stress but there are also many joyful moments to take part of and you won’t appreciate them if you are a stress ball so here are a few Do’s and Don’ts for dealing with stress during the holidays so that you may remember to be dazzled by those snowflakes instead of groaning about shoveling.
Despite our best intentions, sometimes we feel that we are not slayin’ stress. So, dealing with it means doing things to soothe our body and mind. Big or small things work. Just find what helps YOU!
The holiday season, as we all know, is full of magic and joy…and stress and overwhelming situations. It’s a time of year where emotions can be wrought and we need some extra TLC. That extra support can come from many wonderful people but ultimately, it should, and can, also come from ourselves. If we aren’t comfortable with it, we really need to work on becoming our own cheerleader.
So how does that translate into getting through the rougher parts of the holidays? Well, this self-care strategy is all about positive self-talk, also known as positive affirmations. Think Stuart Smalley, the awesome Saturday Night Live (SNL) character (google him if you don’t know who he is!). “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." If encouraging yourself like that seems too hard, here are a few things you can do to boost this self-care skill:
These are a few suggestions to get you started on your journey to becoming your own cheerleader. Again, this is not an easy self-care skill. It takes time and practice and a whole lotta gumption. You’ve got this!
Ongoing gratitude practices will help you to let go of the ‘poor me’ self-pity party and work your way into amazing personal transformation of gratefulness. Want to be satisfied with the life you have? Just start by being thankful for what you ALREADY have. Sounds a little too “Everything is Awesome” (Lego movie..it’s hilarious)? Well it’s not. Because being grateful on a consistent basis can improve your physical and psychological strength, help you to have better relationships, improve your sleep, it will enhance your compassion towards others, reduce your aggression, improve your self-esteem and make you more resilient to all the challenges that life can throw your way.
So this holidays season, be grateful for:
Did you see what just happened there? We took a not so pleasant situation and chose to see the good in it. If nothing else, gratitude may help you develop a more positive outlook on life. Cliché but true: glass half full. No need to thank us…or maybe you should…to get the ball rolling that is.
We want to take care of ourselves and learn healthy ways of setting limits during the holiday season, where boundaries are somewhat a tad more precarious than usual, right? Here are some survival tips...
And remember, like we said in the our Beating the Holiday Blah’s video (link in bio), if all else fails just go to the bathroom and hide (temporarily), seriously. It’s as good a place as any to escape and regroup. We are all human and sometimes sh*it can’t be avoided…just survived. When you get home, journal about it, give yourself a high five and sing Beyoncé’s song “I’m a Survivor”!
The holidays are an amazing opportunity to get together with family, friends and coworkers to celebrate and raise a glass or two. The overload of opportunities to do this, however, may be a challenge for those of us that may tend to over imbibe or are in a tender state of mind. No news flash here that drugs and alcohol can have an altering effect to your mood and not in a good way. Depression and anxiety are a crappy side effect of them. But luckily we have lots of strategies below to help you manage:
Now that we have some strategies in place, we can enjoy the holiday season while still practicing self-care. It’s a win/win!
We all know how great we feel after a good evening out with friends. Human contact increases our wellbeing. Maintaining our social media relations and catching up with people via Facetime is great but we also have to make sure we are getting ourselves out there and seeing people in real life.
Socializing doesn’t come easy for everyone, however, and you may want to have a better social network but not quite know how to go about growing it. It seemed easier to make friends when we were kids, didn’t it? But given the amazing self-care benefits of this commandment, we owe it ourselves to bust out of our comfort zone and get out there. Fear of rejection be damned!
Here are a few ideas to help you get the heck out there and mingle:
Does some of this sound painful to accomplish? For sure. Did we say the 10 Commandments of Wellness would be easy? Nope! True growth and wellbeing come from pushing ourselves. And knowing in advance that we may be rejected and accepting that, makes it less personal and easier to deal with. It goes without saying that keeping strong connections with our current friends is vital, too. Be a good friend. Make yourself available, check in with them, show an interest in their lives and you will feel that glow in your heart. If you want to socialize more but are not sure how, there are great books out there on social skills that can give you some pointers. And remember, we don’t need a massive posse of people (quality over quantity!)…just a few people we connect with works wonders for our mental health.
Mindfulness creates changes in the brain that allow you to stay calmer, slow down your thoughts, let go of stress, deeply relax, sleep better, increase memory and deal better with chronic pain. Who can’t use some of that during the holidays?! Mindfulness gives you an opportunity to be in the present moment and thinking of the right now. This IS the mind’s healthiest place to be! And this is how you can take yourself there (with some gentle assistance from YouTube and other amazing apps of course!):
We hope you have been inspired to give mindfulness a try. These are just a few types of mindfulness exercises to try. Do yourself a favor though and don’t jump into hour long mediations in the beginning. Slow and steady tiger. Small time increments at first and build up as you become more comfortable. It truly is a helpful tool (centuries old!) for keeping your mental health in check and building self-awareness. And the greater our awareness, the more we are able to acknowledge the good, the bad and the ugly thoughts, feelings and behaviors that we just looove to shove deep down the abyss. Because who want to feel uncomfortable? And that bottling up has the potential to make us feel more anxious and keep us depressed. So, personal challenge being send your way to hone that mediating skill and build your mental health resiliency. May the force be with you.
Below is a diversely comprised list of ways to start pumping those well-needed endorphins to get you through the holiday season (as well as life in general!). It may seem very daunting but for maximum benefits of this commandment, you have to be active EVERY DAY.
The idea is to infuse some well needed movement into our lives. You can go as hard core (CrossFit anyone?) or leisurely (hiking an easy trail). You do you boo, it’s that simple. Just challenge yourself to take care of you. Let’s hold each other accountable and remind ourselves that we are committing to our well-being (it’s about the long game peeps!).
Strategies that you can put in place to help you get a few extra zzz's, leaving you less vulnerable to emotional elements:
These are just a few examples of how to get better/longer sleep. Keep in mind that it’s ok to go to bed instead of going to yet another social outing. FOMO be damned because, self-care right?! Happy sleeping everyone!
A few tips to help with healthy food:
This list should not take the fun out of eating. Healthy foods prepared well are delicious! This list also doesn’t mean you have to forgo other foods that may be less healthy (have chocolate cake, French fries, cheeses of all kinds (whatever you love), Moderation is key to getting through the holidays (and life for that matter) and feeling physically and mentally better. Eating well is self-care!
Hey fellow holiday goers!
How goes it during this festive time? We hope you are getting into the spirit of it all and enjoying yourselves! And if this is a rough time of year for you, we urge you to take extra care of yourself (self-love is powerful).
Whether we love the season or tolerate it, it can feel like our sanity is tested at times. So, we are busting out our 10 Commandments of Mental Wellness in our own 12 Days of Christmas spin so that we remember to do what we need to do to not lose it!