On mental health tips for the holidays (Ending this year on a high note!

While the holiday season is a wonderful time for many people; a time for celebration, a time for family unity and glimmering lights, for others, it can be a time of stress, anxiety, family conflict and depression. Holiday cheer doesn´t always show up in everyone´s chimney. However, there are ways to better care for yourself this holiday season and ways to make sure that the holidays don´t leave you in desperate need of a vacation. Here are a few self-care tips that I hope help you get through these very festive days.

Practice saying no. With a wide circle of friends, family and colleagues, invitations to Christmas parties, family celebration or even hosting your own, we can feel overwhelmed with the demands of fulfilling our social duties. Yet, we really don´t have to attend all or even any of them. It is called an invitation after all and the option to decline is always there. Just say no.

Take some time to reflect. In the days closing up to the holidays, we are busy wrapping up the year, with schoolwork, work or even our own goals for the ending year. Time starts flying from mid-November until suddenly it´s almost the new year. I always believe in the importance of ending something on a conscious note, whether seasons in life or relationships. We need time to reflect, to take note and say goodbye and prepare for new hellos. Time to reflect on the things we have learned, things that have wounded us or left us stronger. Reflect on our strategy for next year from all the wisdom, we have gained.

Take it slow. Since things start moving faster towards the end of the year, we tend to also move in the same pace. This bleeds out into our sleeping, waking habits, into our eating habist and the way we handle stressful situations as tension builds. Instead, try being more aware of your breathing, whether on your way to school or work and stuck in traffic. Breathe. Yes, there are things to be done but take right now to be present and aware of yourself and how you are feeling and what your needs are. Add some power naps into your schedule, which are known to improve energy and our stress management capabilities. If you can, take the longer but calmer route to where you are going. Be mindful of not falling into reactionary mode but awareness, which will help you make better decisions as we count down the festive days.

Forgive/understand yourself. If December is here and you are not where you thought you would be, please make an effort to understand why instead of transforming that into guilt and shame. Know that as long as you have not given up, you can just continue working towards your goal for next year. Put your frustrated energy into new approaches and ideas to getting closer to where you wish to be rather than destroying your spirits for not ending up where you hoped to be.

Celebrate yourself. Make a list of all the things you got through last year. All the things you handled in ways that made you proud. Make note of your personal, mental, and physical growth. Like a proud parent, look at what you have written down and take yourself out on a date or any little celebration you wish for. Or, invite your family and friends to be a part of the self-celebration too and go out or stay in, in honour of this beautiful growth. Treat yourself!

Clean your mental, personal and physical closet. If we want better things to come our way, we must aim to make spaces for them in our lives. Cleaning out our mental clutter, means to clear out the thinking patterns that no longer suit us, the actions that cause us suffering or keep us from moving forward. Perhaps like me, you discovered that you over-volunteer and would like to leave that habit to make space for more time and less stress instead. Or like my partner, you have decided that having more than 6 shirts is an overkill when you are washing clothes mostly by hand. So, you decide to make space for less of a workload by minimizing your closet. You could also be like a close friend of mine, who started her self-love journey this year and has decided to make room for better relationships in her life by reassessing how she chooses her tribe and what she feels worthy of. There can be many things holding you back or adding unnecessary weight to your everyday life that don´t need to be there. Let go and let flow back into your life.

Celebrate the holiday in your own way. While we do tend to be routine beings, sometimes we will never know if there is a better and more liberating way to celebrate the holidays if we never try new things. You have the choice to choose how you want your holiday to be spent – whether you book a ticket to go travel instead of buying presents for each other or simply staying home and ordering food and bumming it out with loved ones or even yourself. If it brings you more peace, fulfilment or ease, why not try something new? You can also do what you always do next year if it turns out to be a fail, so not much to loose 😉

I hope these tips have left you inspired to end the year and start a new one, in a different tone altogether. May you find peace, ease and fulfilment this holiday season and ready to continue blooming in the coming year.

With love,

(P.s, I do not own the rights to these pretty pictures )

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