Recovery Messages & News

Self-Care During the Holidays

By Ms. Paige Abbott, Registered Psychologist

Let’s be honest: The holiday season can be tough. While it is portrayed in the media as a joyous and wonderful time, the reality of the season is often very different. Below is a list of self-care tips and techniques to get through any holiday season in as healthy a manner as possible. Pick and choose what you think may benefit you from this list and implement when you can:

-Plan ahead. Nothing can increase stress more than feeling behind on committments or things that need to get accomplished

-Schedule your time (including self-care activities). Use a calendar, daytimer, or phone to organize yourself so there is a balance of ‘have tos’ and self-care

-Maintain your routine. While there may be many different events or travel during the holidays, it is important to maintain as much consistency as you can with your self-care routine

-Keep healthy snacks handy. The holidays are often filled with indulgent foods that may not leave you feeling good, so carrying around healthy snacks (yogurt, cut-up vegetables, trail mix, etc.) and eating regularly can help keep things in balance

-Make sure you have time for YOU. Even when life is busy, doing things you enjoy and need to do for health and restoration are essential. Maintain hobbies, physical activity, quiet time-whatever you do to recharge

-Journal. Family contact, societal pressure, and holiday parties can all stir up emotions that can be helpful to ventilate and process. Try writing down your feelings and/or gratitudes each day

-Get lots of sleep/rest. Holidays, upheaval, and emotions all drain our internal resources so getting downtime and adequate rest is essential

-Be true to YOU. Organize holiday events in a way that you are comfortable with. There is no need to push outside of your comfort zone to make other people happy or conform to what you think the holidays ‘should’ look like

-Spend time with people you care about. Take time to be with those with you feel safe and comfortable around so you can enjoy your time and not feel pressured or stress

-Do feelings check-ins with yourself. Sit down and spend some quiet time each day reflecting on the day’s events and interactions and how you are feeling about these. Taking time to process emotions helps prevent emotional buildup or ‘constipation’

-Connect with your spirituality. Taking time to build your spiritual connection and relationship can help when stress, pressure, or expectations are high. It is nice to know we are going through life’s journey with support

-Develop a safety plan. If you are going to events or into situations that may increase stress or vulnerability, have some ideas about how to get through these events safely. Bring along a support, have an exit strategy, etc.

Take care of yourself this holiday season and do not hesitate to reach out to others for support. If you are interested in professional support, contact HUM at 403-536-2480.