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Holiday Season Wellness Tips

Two people laying in front of a burning fireplace with Christmas gifts and pillows surrounding them.

No matter what you celebrate, or if you celebrate at all, the winter holiday season can be both a source of joy and stress all at once.  We want to share some things for you to consider so your season of celebration can be as relaxing and restorative as it can. Here are some wellness tips for this holiday season.

Hold space for all feelings

This time of year, everywhere you turn there are messages about joy, family, indulgence, gifting, and celebration - just to name a few!  Even if you don’t realize it, it can put a lot of pressure on a person to feel a certain way, or at least to portray to others that they feel these feelings. In reality, this time of year can be very challenging for people.  Reasons include seasonal changes and lack of sunlight, financial stressors, reflection on the year that has passed, and for some, a sense of grief/loss.  It is okay - in fact, it is healthy - to feel your feelings honestly, and not to cover them up for the sake of others.  There are no “good” and “bad” feelings; rather, there are feelings that are easy to have (happy, relaxed, safe) and feelings that are difficult to have (stress, sadness, longing).  The difficult feelings will pass if you give them time to pass rather than pushing them away, and this will create space for you to honour and enjoy the feelings that are easier for you to have.  Talking to a person close to you, reaching out to a help line, journaling, or creating a new tradition to honour difficult feelings can help you process them and hold space for the easier feelings.

Take time for solo self care

We’ve heard it a million times - holidays are about family, togetherness, gratitude and belonging.  There can be a lot of pressure on people to spend as much time as possible around others, even when your social battery is starting to drain.  Taking time for solo self care is important during observances that involve a lot of socializing with loved ones.  Plan in advance to do something just for yourself each day: an extra long shower, an early bed time, a walk on your own, or whatever brings you comfort.  Recharging your battery allows you to truly savour the moments you do have with your loved ones, and allows you to sort through your feelings in peace, as discussed previously.

Invest in quality care with others

We have looked at self care, and this tip is in the vein of community care (a topic that we look forward to sharing about in a future post).  In the context of wellness during the holidays, community care can be understood as care provided by an individual to benefit other people in their life.  As previously mentioned, the holidays can be very challenging for many people, and we don’t always see on the surface level the issues they’re coping with.  If you are able to hold space for your own feelings, and practice your solo self care, take stock of the people around you who matter deeply to you.  Ask your loved ones how they are doing, and how you can support them.  Often a meaningful conversation and providing comfort/support to someone is better than any physical gift you could give.  To return to the concept of one’s social battery, helping someone recharge theirs can also help you recharge yours by building a sense of trust, connection, and gratitude.  As you create space for others in your life, allow others to hold space and care for you as well.

Say no when you need to, so you can say yes when you want to

Setting boundaries can be challenging during typical times, and for many becomes rather stressful during winter holidays.  People can feel a lot of pressure to make others happy this time of year.  While this comes from a place of kindness, it can be very draining if you are overextending yourself.  Before confirming plans or duties, ask yourself if it’s something you “get” to do or if it’s something you “have” to do.  Saying no can be a powerful act of kindness towards yourself.  Take stock of what you need to say no to, and figure out what you can offer (if anything) instead.  For example: “No, I cannot make dinner for everyone at my home.  I would be happy to have everyone over for coffee and dessert, or to bring a dish if someone else hosts.”  This can also be helpful with the culture of gift-giving that a lot of people encounter this time of year.  If you have traveled to see people, taken time away from work and home, and generally made efforts to participate in the holidays your friends and family observe, recognize that your time and energy is a gift too.  Saying no to what you “have” to do creates more excitement and happiness around the things that you “get” to do/want to do.

At Sedâ Psychotherapy, we are wishing everyone peace and joy this time of year.  If you think you would benefit from therapy, members of our team are here for you, and you are welcome to book a free consultation here.

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