This time of year is a perfect time to catch up with family and friends. Of course the holidays are the perfect excuse to indulge, wear your elastic waist pants, and go for that second slice of pie.  Preparing and budgeting for those elaborate holiday meals or, searching for the perfect gift, the latest video game or, the newest as seen on TV gadget, can be overwhelming and downright anxiety provoking.  The full parking lot sign, and long shopping lines and never ending list of tasks could easily test your patience or, your mindfulness skills.  This is why practicing self-care is so important during the holiday countdown.  People often mistake practicing self-care as being selfish however, self-care is the act of taking care of one’s own health and wellness. The best thing to do for yourself is to take care of yourself, no one can do it better than you.  Listed are 6 easy ways to practice self-care and minimize stress during the holiday season.

Get a good night’s rest. Working, planning and shopping can be taxing, so getting a full 8 hours of sleep will help you feel rejuvenated and ready take on a new day.  2. Plan ahead. Get organized and take action. Let’s face it, procrastination is stressful enough so aim to do things early whether it is making a grocery list or shopping for gifts in September, you may find that your stress level is slim to none.  3. Make time to exercise daily, a 30 minute walk can work wonders on relieving stress. Exercising and movement helps keep the body feeling strong, and we all need to fight off those colds that often follow us during the holiday/winter season. 4. Budget appropriately.  Tis the season to give gifts but be realistic, give yourself a budget and stick to it. Debt can increase stress and anxiety so practice self-care by paying attention your purchases and spending. 5. Set healthy boundaries.  Its ok to say no, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed with the added holiday stress, saying no can be empowering for those who struggle with verbalizing that two letter word. Why not give it a try if exercising healthy assertiveness skills needed. And lastly, 6. Ask for help.  People feel like they have to take on all of the holiday cooking and other responsibilities. It is ok and very appropriate to celebrate the holiday meals potluck style. Less time in the kitchen means less stress on you. 

Let’s face it, the holidays are meant to be fun, and a time to spread holiday cheer. Creating lasting memories should be priority.  Just keep in mind that the better you take care of yourself, the more energy you will have to celebrate with those you care about most. So don’t forget to breathe, show gratitude and smile. When all is said and done, allowing yourself the opportunity to enjoy time with those who bring you happiness is the real meaning of being in the holiday spirit. Utilizing the listed self-care tips can help balance the holiday journey as we also prepare for a new and exciting new year.

 We are in this journey together and we are certainly here to help. If you’re interested in speaking to a mental health professional and live in or neighboring rural communities of Valley Center, Ramona, Campo, Alpine or Julian contact (760) 788-9725 to get connected with a Behavioral Health team member at Vista Hill SmartCare.

Angelina Canizalez, AMFT, Behavioral Health Consultant

Posted in Blog.