It’s been a long, difficult year for everyone. More like two or three long, difficult years. As we close out this year, regardless of how you celebrate, it’s time to give yourself some grace and take the time for some self-care.
It’s okay to say no. Whether it’s an invitation to attend an event that you find overwhelming or a request to provide your time, if for any reason you feel hesitant, say no. Creating boundaries for your mental health can also include sticking to a gift giving budget, cutting back on giving gifts, and staying home even when your extroverted friends and family won’t understand.
Perhaps you can take time off. Or, as I saw mentioned by another mental health therapist, work at the most minimum level you can get away with. And I don’t disagree. We are all struggling and need to do whatever it takes to survive. Find ways around the house to make things easy for yourself whether it’s relying on prepared foods and paper plates or letting the dust bunnies collect for just a little while longer.
Take time for self-care and incorporate mindfulness into the process. If an enjoyable part of the season is listening to holiday music, then pause to listen and experience the music deeply. If you enjoy a bubble bath, then put your phone, tablet, or book aside, and physically experience the bath, the feel of the water on your skin, the smell of bubbles, the sound of the water filling the tub, etc.
I know I mention it frequently, but take a deep breath. Or two or three. When you take the time to slow down, meditate. If meditation is something new or unknown to you, find a guided meditation. (If you need help with either, feel free to send me a message and I’m happy to help.)
Enjoy the time you spend with friends and family. If you choose to spend time with others, make it special. Because of COVID, many of us kept our contact with others to a bare minimum and even this may have been stressful. If you’re comfortable spending time with others, express gratitude for your connections with others (either through journaling or verbally sharing).