How to take care of yourself during the holidays – Part 1

#1 – Connecting

Connection with other people friends and family has been shown to be helpful for your physical health and your mental health. If you are on your own go outside to an event where there are people even if you do not socialize, human contact always helps. Or plan to get together with friends even if it is for a drink or coffee.

#2 – Move

Move your body. Balance rests with exercise because getting out and moving is important even though you are exhausted. Movement exercise, like walking the dog, taking the stairs, etc. counts especially on those days when it is super busy. We know that one of the best antidepressants is to get your body moving, get your body active. We are rarely motivated to move when we are in a state of rest. But motivation usually kicks in once you have started to move and your body begins to get more active. So, get moving somehow. Park farther away in the parking lot so that you must walk a little bit more. Or instead of having your lunch delivered get out and pick it up yourself

#3 – Happiness

Life is not always happy. Do not expect it to be. Do not chase after happiness. Find things that are meaningful to you and chase those instead. Focus on what gives your life meaning rather than chasing fleeting happiness. Identify the things that are meaningful to you. Here is how you can do it.
I want you to imagine it is your one hundredth birthday. You are surrounded by your closest friends and family the people you really love. They start to share stories about who you are what you mean to them what you stand for and what you have achieved in your life. What are they are saying? These are your values and if you live your life according to your values. That is how you find meaning. That is how you find purpose and that is how you find connection to something that is greater than yourself.

#4 – Emotions

Learn what feelings are. Sometimes even unpleasant feelings are doing an important job.
Whatever you are feeling makes sense somehow even if it is irrational. It is best to accept your feelings before you try to change them. Get good at labeling what you are experiencing inside your body/mind. Just do not be hard on yourself with labels. Keep them positive. Not only is identifying how you feel going to help you communicate to other people what you are feeling, it will help them to know what you need. Research that suggests just labeling your emotions takes some of the intensity of these emotions down. Anticipating how stressful something could be is always worse than doing it. Learn what you need to do to deal with that stress. Is it because you are not prepared? Is it because you do not know what to do? Is it because you are overwhelmed, and you need the help of friends or family? Then address it and be done.

#5 – Embracing the moment

Be non-judgmentally present. Do not describe moments as good or bad, but just as they are right now, in your environment.

Here are two quick grounding skills you can use when you need to feel more present right now.

A -Take a moment:

  • Look at five different things happening around you.
  • Now touch four different textures near you.
  • Listen to three different sounds in the environment.
  • Pay attention to two different smells.
  • Notice one taste

B – Several times a day, take time to focus on your breath. Match inhales and exhales and just slow your breath down so you can inhale four seconds hold it for a moment and exhale for four seconds. This will help you become more centered, focused, and relaxed.