Happy 2019! This is the first Eclectic Chic blog post of the year and I am so excited for it to be a Self-Care Saturday feature. Yay!!! As you all know, the holidays can be a fun and exciting time of the year. Time off from work or school. Hooray! You get to indulge in your favorite foods and treats without being judged by others…who are also in the same ‘over-indulging’ boat with you! Spending time with your friends and family. Maybe sneak a kiss under the mistletoe with your significant other? Oooh lala! What more could you ask for? All of that being true, there can also be a lot of stress that comes with the events surrounding the holiday season. Here are some things that you can do to prevent burnout as we begin to enter the new year.
1. Set good boundaries. In order to set good boundaries, you need to first do a check-in with how you are feeling. Understand your needs and prepare accordingly. For many, the holidays mean more time spent with family members and friends. Depending on your social needs and personality type, you may or may not feel depleted after more time spent with your loved ones. Be aware if and when you need a break. Feel free to take some quiet time to replenish mentally, emotionally and physically. That might look like turning the ringer off of your phone for 30 minutes while you meditate. Or unapologetically taking a brief moment to yourself to self-reflect and set positive intentions for the new year. Also, if you have people in your life who are prone to volunteering your time to help out with events or tasks that you have not agreed to do, now is the time to put on your big girl or big boy pants. Start practicing the word ‘no’. All together now. Repeat after me. Noooooo. Very good. Now didn’t that feel good? I know it’s easier said than done, but you’ll feel better if you set good boundaries.
2. Give your body and mind a break. This is a good follow-up to #1. You’ve successfully set good boundaries, and you are basking in this extra time just for you. Now what? Enjoy the small things. Indulge in quiet time just for yourself. Go to the library and pick up a good book or two to snuggle up with. Take a nice bubble bath…with a bath bomb and essential oils if you’re feeling jazzy. Set aside guilt-free time to watch some of your favorite television shows. I personally love Korean dramas with English subtitles (stay tuned for a Top 10 Favorite Korean Dramas blog post coming in the near future). Put on your favorite music and dance. Yes, release those endorphins and dance like no one’s watching. Engage in a good arts and crafts activity. Painting with oil and acrylic paints is such a fun hobby. I began painting more frequently in grad school, and I would always feel any stress from my studies or internship just instantly fade away. If that’s too messy for you, there are also mindfulness adult coloring books that are becoming increasingly more popular. Whatever your favorite self-care activity may be, give yourself the grace and patience to take time to rest and rejuvenate from all of the extra demands on your body and mind that come with the holiday season.
3. Do not put unrealistic expectations or pressure on yourself or others. New Year’s Resolutions are a common tradition around this time of year. Lose weight. Quit smoking. Eat healthier foods. Cut back on alcohol. Spend less and save more money. Don’t get me wrong. It is absolutely wonderful to go into the new year setting precedence on your goals. Absolutely! However, be realistic with setting goals that can be healthily achieved within a practical time frame that works within your schedule. Instead of saying that you are going to cut donuts out of your life entirely (which would be cruel not only to yourself, but also to the donuts), perhaps set a goal that incorporates maintaining a healthy diet and good nutrition while also enjoying the sheer joy that comes from a hot glazed donut…every blue moon of course. Or more. Just kidding. I can’t help it. Donuts are my love language.
4. Incorporate mindfulness techniques into your daily routine. Mindfulness is a term that you’ve probably heard used many times in discussions about mental health, psychology and therapy. It’s a process that allows and encourages individuals to take time to focus more on the present moment. Different types of mindfulness activities that you can do include meditation, Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), deep breathing, and mindful walking. Yoga and positive affirmations are also good practices that may increase one’s positive outlook on life and reduce worry and tension.
5. Seek out the assistance of a mental health professional. Sometimes familial discord and dysfunctional relationships with others can bring about feelings of uncertainty, anger, and anxiety, amongst other emotions that result from emotional and physical strain during the holidays. From another perspective, for individuals who have lost a loved one, the holiday season can bring feelings of grief and depression as that individual is reminded of the person they are mourning. Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood is a diagnosis that may be used by a licensed and credentialed mental health professional to describe the symptoms an individual is experiencing with “situational depression” (one who may experience grief from the lost of someone close that has resulted in the disruption of one’s overall well-being). Of course, that is the abridged version. It is much more detailed in the DSM-5. However, I use these as examples, because individuals experiencing symptoms associated with grief, familial discord, anxiety, and others may feel a stronger need to seek the assistance of a mental health professional during the holidays, such as a Licensed Professional Counselor. The Mayo Clinic did a fantastic job of providing an overview of the process of psychotherapy. If you are curious about, or have always wanted to know more about the therapeutic process and how to get started in therapy, I highly recommend you check out this article by clicking here. Also, Psychology Today is a great resource to search for a potential therapist. Once you go to the Psychology Today website, you will see the “Find A Therapist” option in the upper left-hand corner of the website. Once you click on that, you will enter your zip code or city, and voilà! You instantly have a list of therapists to look through to find the perfect fit for you and your therapeutic needs. Here is my Psychology Today therapist profile as an example.
Well that’s it! I hope you enjoyed my 5 tips in this blog post! I’m hoping these help you with any pressure or stress you may be experiencing, and results in you feeling more peace during your daily routine. Wishing you all a year filled with good health and happiness. Until next time. Good night and sweet dreams!