Not everyone approaches the holidays cheerfully. Some individuals see it as the most stressful time of the year. Common holiday stressors are related to budgeting for gift-buying, self-image, family tensions and reminders of past holiday hardships.
Some may also spend so much time focusing on doing things for others that they overextend themselves. “It’s the one time of year when we often don’t take care of ourselves,” says Beth Hail, regional vice president at Centerstone. “We are trying to figure out how to take care of everybody else and meet their needs, and our needs are oftentimes at the very bottom of the list.”
During these stressful times, it is helpful to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness moves you from just thinking about “what” into thinking about “why.” It makes you more aware of your surroundings and how they impact your mental state. It can also help you recognize your limits and put in effort where you know you are capable.
Below are some ideas for ways you can practice mindfulness this holiday season.
Check in with yourself. When you’re going from one holiday activity to the next, take a moment to check in with yourself, mentally and physically. Take some time to process your emotions, thinking about if what you’re doing is upsetting you at all. See if it’s weighing on your body and you’re feeling more tired than usual. Consider what things are necessary obligations, and what you can say “no” to without guilt.
Practice gratitude. Another especially holiday-relevant way to practice mindfulness is by taking time to think about what you’re grateful for. Use this time to focus only on the good things in your life. This will keep you happier and in a positive mindset. Make sure to also focus on the people you’re grateful for, as this will give you a clear indication of who you want to prioritize spending time with.
Unplug. Turning off your phone and other noise is essential for mindfulness. It’s difficult to spend quality time with yourself when there are distractions all around. This might be even more important this year, as it seems like there is more bad news every day with the pandemic. Turn off the news, step outside, put on some of your favorite music and spend uninterrupted time with yourself.
Let others know. If you’ve come to the conclusion that you have too many things going on, let your friends and family know that you may need them to adjust their expectations. Even though you may want to focus on meeting their needs during this season, let them know what yours are and how they can help meet them. Also, if they’re people you’re grateful for, let them know that – it will be meaningful to them.
If the holidays have you experiencing increased mental health challenges, Centerstone is here to help. You can call us at 1-877-HOPE123 (877-467-3123) to get connected with care.
If you are in crisis, please call our crisis line, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.
If you're still having trouble and would like to reach out to someone about counseling or other Centerstone services, contact us.