Self-care for the Holiday season is more important now than ever because of our increased levels of stress. I mentioned last week in my blog about listening to a Zoom meeting on self-care. A lot of lights went off in my head as I listened to Mariajose Fernandez, a family therapist speak on the subject. It seems a lot of us are doing self-care without even realizing it. I decided to ask Mariajose to write an article to help us become more mindful of self-care during the holiday season. And she said yes!
Mariajose Fernandez, MS, LMFT
Mariajose earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Kansas State University. She has been practicing as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 2004, when she started with the Family Life Ministry of the Army Chapel at Fort Riley, Kansas. There she worked with families dealing with separations for deployments to the Iraq War, families adjusting to life together again after deployment, and the trauma of service members after participating in the war. After that, she worked in a community mental health clinic providing therapy to substance abuse clients referred by local courts. She did individual, group, and couples therapy as well as evaluations and assessments. She currently works in the local Children’s Hospital where she provides therapy to children, teens, and their families.
So, we’ve all been waiting all year for the holiday season to finally come and here it is. How can we make sure we are ready for it? If you have been practicing self-care all year you know that during this time it is even more crucial to do so. And why is that? Well, our social calendars suddenly fill up and we find ourselves spending more money than usual. Maybe we have to see difficult family members at our family reunions, meet new people, or mourn the loss of someone. There is lots of planning and preparation going on and we seem to be rushing to get things done. Through self-care we can make sure we are taking care of ourselves which will help us enjoy the season even more.
Here are some things you can do to truly make the season “jolly”:
Schedule time to practice self-care
Don’t get caught in all the hustle and bustle! Make sure you take a break and recharge, set a timer if needed. Examples of self-care include exercise, massages, bubble baths, journaling, drawing, listening to music, playing an instrument, creating a holiday playlist, reading a book, doing a hobby, playing with your pet, taking walks, meditating, singing, dancing, praying, doing yoga, making a to-do lists, sticking to your budget, etc.
What are the things you appreciate in your life? What are you blessed with? Do you need to thank others?
Practice deep breathing or other relaxation techniques
These techniques don’t necessarily have to take up a lot of your time. Maybe just take a few deep breaths for a few minutes in the car before you enter the crowded stores or meet with your friends and family. A simple deep breathing exercise is to inhale through your nose for 3 counts, hold for 2, exhale through your mouth for 5 (use your fingers to keep count). You can also listen to soothing music during meal preparation or gift wrapping.
Remember to be present, enjoy every moment of the season, use your 5 senses to take notice of everything happening around you.
Monitor your stress level
Take breaks as needed, take a walk, listen to music, watch a movie, make art or crafts
Be in tune with your emotions
It is important to understand there can be a wide range of emotions during this season, so taking time to feel them and validate them will go a long way! Set some time to journal about your feelings or just have some alone time to work through them.
Take care of your physical health
Make sure you are sleeping and eating healthy. Enjoy all the treats, there is no need to binge. Try to take more walks, maybe even suggest to your friends and family to take a walk after all the delicious meals.
Remember that by taking care of ourselves we are better able to take care of others and enjoy life! So, practice self-care and enjoy this wonderful holiday season!
The Holiday Shop at Ruthieonart launched this week. On Monday my business mentoring group critiqued the website and came up with some helpful suggestions. Wednesday I redesigned it. It’s up now with a slightly new look. Throughout the season I will be changing the Holiday Shop up, as new items are placed in the vendors shops. You’ll want to check back to see all the new products.
I have been busy placing new creations in my shop and on Etsy. Here is some of the art prints that made it into the Shop this week.