This time of year is the best time of the year for some, but tough for many others— family problems, financial troubles, grief, stress and the list can go on longer than Santa’s naughty list. Well, self-care can help! Try the following tips and tricks categorized by wellness area for a holly, jolly Christmas this year:
1. Express Yourself: When experiencing an emotion, say aloud: “I feel ______.”
2. Attitude Adjustment: Notice if you are approaching life with an inherently negative attitude.
What is the reason? Can you identify anything positive about the life event or situation?
3. Pursuit of Happiness: Change your perspective and strive toward excellence, not perfection.
4. Give Enough: Work on finding the balance between giving enough and not giving too much.
You have limited resources. Do not overextend yourself.
5. Friendships: Develop friendships that are supportive.
6. Boundary Build: Work on setting preemptive boundaries with others so that your daily tasks align with your goals.
7. We are Family: Connect with one extended family member per week via letter, phone, text, or Skype.
8. Seek Support: If you feel isolated or overwhelmed, reach out to a friend or trusted family member.
9. Smiling: Share a kind smile with strangers. Some people may go all day without anyone acknowledging their existence.
10. Cycle of Encouragement: Start a cycle of encouragement. Tell someone near you what you appreciate about them. They may return the favor when you need it most.
11. Attitude of Gratitude: Make a list of 10 things for which you are grateful.
12. Giving Spirit: Give something small to someone else whether it’s a compliment, a high five, or a hug.
13. Meaning Making: Journal about the meaning of life. Why are we here? What is your purpose?
14. Enough is Enough: When doing a specific task, such as washing the dishes or talking with your child, remind yourself to stay in the present moment. You are doing exactly what you need to be doing.
15. Put the U in YOU: Take care of yourself more than anyone else. If you are putting anyone
else in your life before yourself, it’s time to reprioritize. It’s impossible to pour from an empty cup.
16. Big T-Break: Set aside 15 minutes per day during which you completely disconnect from the Big T(echnology).
17. The Rule of Threes: Close your eyes and take a deep breath. What are three things you hear? What are three things you feel? Open your eyes. What are three things you see?
18. Jar of Hearts: Keep a large jar in your bedroom. Before you leave for the day, write down everything that is heavy in your heart, and place it in the jar.
19. Puzzling Pieces: Spend 10 minutes each day putting together a challenging puzzle.
20. Book-It: Read a book for fun.
21. Dance Party: Turn on a fun Christmas song and dance for three minutes.
22. Wall Pushups: If you notice yourself feeling tense or anxious, do 10 pushups against the wall to open your chest. Don’t forget to breathe.
23. Watering Hole: Have a glass of water before that glass of eggnog or other holiday beverage.
24. Protect Your Sleep: Schedule at least 8 hours of sleep each night and do what it takes to make that happen. If you need to let go of some holiday obligations, that is okay.
25. Diet: Aim for a healthy diet during the holiday season for sustained energy and mood stabilization.
The holiday season is meant to be joyful and special, not stressful. However, there are many reasons why this time of the year might not be the best of times for you. A professional counselor is always happy to offer support; call your insurance company or conduct an internet search to locate a professional counselor in your area. If you ever feel like there is no reason to live, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) for free and confidential emotional support open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a happy holiday season!
Shenika Jones, wrote this month’s mental Health column. She is an assistant professor, director of the Professional School Counseling Program in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at UNCP, and a licensed North Carolina school counselor.