Kate McCabe / Gavel Media

Carrying Self-Care Through the Holiday Season

The holidays are often referred to as the “most wonderful time of the year.” Unfortunately, for many people this is not the reality. Financial burdens, the loss of a loved one, and mental health disorders can change the meaning of the holidays for many. Here are a few ways to take care of yourself and others this holiday season. 

Prioritize exercise without feeling guilty. For many people, the holidays are a time of indulgence. It is important to remind yourself that it is okay to eat that cookie or slice of pie. Inversely, it is okay to get up early and go to the gym. There is a healthy balance, neither of which you should feel guilty about.

Be mindful of others. It is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of big families and plenty of friends. Remember that the holidays mean something different to everyone. For some people, the food-centered festivities can be incredibly overwhelming. For those struggling with eating disorders or alcoholism, these next few weeks are exponentially more difficult than normal days. As an example, try to avoid talk of calories, especially at the dinner table.

Take time to recharge. For college students, this is the only time of the year where we have little to no obligations. Use this time to do some face masks, exercise, drive around, or do whatever you need to in order to de-stress. These next few weeks should be spent practicing self-love and preparing for the upcoming semester.

Express gratitude. This is arguably the most important tip on this list. Be thankful for your blessings. You never know what is going to happen in life. 

Reconnect with old friends! Whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other celebration, this is a time for friendship and love! Use fun winter activities as an easygoing way to celebrate the holidays and reconnect with high school friends. 

Protect your sleep at all costs. Catch up, we all know you’re still behind from finals. Enough said.

Take a break from your phone. I know I sound like a Boomer, but it is seriously so important to unplug and live in the moment. Time with family and friends should be cherished. 

Recognize that other people celebrate in different ways. Those in difficult financial situations may not celebrate in the same way you do. Further, families often practice their own unique traditions at this time of the year. Be sensitive and non-judgemental. 

Practice meditation. If you have never tried this before, now is a great time to learn! Meditation is a great way to start or end your day with a clear mind and heart. “I don’t know how to meditate” is a common phrase, but everyone knows how to use Google–therefore, everyone has access to instructions. If you have trouble meditating on your own, try a guided session instead.

Last but not least, spread some joy! If you are kind and loving, that is likely what you will receive in return. You attract the energy that you put into the universe. Reach out to people you know may be struggling. 

This is a difficult time of the year for many people; mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends. Given the weight of the season, if you or a friend are feeling overwhelmed, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Be mindful of varying situations and be kind to others–including yourself. Happy Holidays from us here at The Gavel!

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