While the holidays are typically festive, joyful, and “the happiest time of the year” to celebrate with family and friends, they can also be overwhelming and stressful, leading to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or depression. There are many reasons why the holidays may be tough for some people, ranging from isolation and grief to financial stress. Whether the holidays are a tough or joyous time for you, it’s essential to make yourself a priority by practicing self-care. Here are some tips from the team at RISE Services, Inc. Idaho on how to reduce stress and implement self-care during the holiday season.
Manage Your Physical Health
Good mental health begins with optimal physical health. This means taking care of your basic physical needs:
- Get adequate sleep: Follow these recommendations for sleep by age to ensure your family is getting the sleep they need.
- Adults: 7 – 9 hours
- Teens: 8 – 10 hours
- School-aged: 9 – 11 hours
- Preschool: 10 – 13 hours
- Toddlers: 11 – 14 hours
- Infants: 12 – 15 hours
- Newborns: 14 – 17 hours
- Make healthy food choices: Try to make healthy choices most of the time but allow yourself to enjoy holiday treats in moderation.
- Drink plenty of water: Dehydration can take a toll on the body and affect how you feel. Keep a reusable water bottle with you so you can drink water wherever you are throughout the day. It’s best to try to limit alcohol consumption as it tends to be more readily available during the holidays and can also take a toll on your body both physically and mentally.
- Enjoy physical activity: Physical activity can improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and help work off some yummy holiday treats. If you’re short on time, a 5-10 minute walk around the block or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can still be beneficial and add up over time.
- Consume vitamins: Vitamins can help boost your immune system.
Manage Your Mental Health
Everyone needs to be aware of and care for their mental health. Consider these recommendations for different steps you can take to manage your mental health in a positive way this holiday season.
- Talk to someone: The holidays can bring about a lot of emotions. Reach out for the support you need by talking about what you are feeling with your counselor, a friend, a family member, or someone else you trust.
- Ask for support: If you feel like you have too much happening in your life, ask for help. Remember that it’s ok to say no and you are not obligated to say yes to everything.
- Engage in relaxation skills or exercises like meditation/mindfulness, deep breathing, soothing music, or imagery exercises. These practices are meant to help calm your body and mind so you can think more clearly and give your mind a break from overwhelming thoughts or negative distractions.
- Take a break from social media: The holidays can be stressful enough without comparing yourself to what everyone else is doing on social media. Disconnect and focus on yourself.
- Make a gratitude list/journal: Spend time acknowledging and expressing gratitude for what you already have in your life. Write about the people and things you are appreciative of and let others know you are grateful for them.
Manage Your Time & Activities
This can be tough, especially during the holidays, but it will be worth it.
- Carve out time for yourself: Add yourself to the calendar and make time for something unique for you, even if it’s only for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Pamper yourself: Treat yourself to a new haircut, a relaxing massage, or even a quick Mani/Pedi.
- Be intentional and prioritize: This may sound too simple but ask yourself what is important, and what you want to do, and then prioritize those things. Add them to the calendar and plan when you will do them so you are less likely to procrastinate.
- Make a budget and respect it: It’s easy to overspend during the holidays. Sit down and make a realistic budget for what you can afford to spend over the holidays and then respect the budget you set.
Happy Holidays from RISE
Make time this holiday to protect your mental health and practice self-care. You and your family will be thankful that you did. If you’d like to learn more about our services for children and adults with developmental disabilities, including Supported Living, Treatment Foster Care Services, or Career Services, contact us today. We truly wish you and your family a very happy holiday this year.
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