Holiday Healthy Habits
It’s that time of year! Despite how unpredictable and stressful 2020 has been, the holidays are here, and the end of the year is drawing near. For some of us, the holidays are more stressful than enjoyable. We are all dealing with the challenge of keeping holiday traditions alive, while being safe and not putting those we love at risk. With this in mind, forming and continuing healthy habits during the holidays is extremely important to our mental health.
The best gift you can give yourself throughout this season is the “gift of self-care.” Some things you can do to support your mental health during the holidays include getting enough sleep, doing things in moderation to avoid feeling overwhelmed, and learning to say no and not taking on too much or overcommitting yourself. We can also take it a step further to build specific types of self-care into our daily routines.
Everyone’s ideal self-care practices will look different, and you might have to try several things before you find what truly works for you to help you de-stress, clear your mind, and process your emotions. Self-care should leave you feeling calm, filled up, and at peace. Self-care can be something that gives you endorphins and gets your heart pumping, or something that soothes you and calms your breathing. It’s good to have several types of self-care identified so that you can turn to the one that best fits how you’re feeling in that moment.
Are you feeling overwhelmed, stretched thin, or emotionally exhausted? Are you feeling down, low energy, or like you need to reset? Try some of these:
- Practice mindfulness. Watch the video to learn more about what mindfulness is.
- Do a breathing exercise
- Stretch or practice yoga
- Walk outside or go on a hike
- Play with a pet
- Talk with a friend
- Go on a drive
- Listen to music
- Try other activities that bring you peace or joy: garden, bake, play video games, read, ride a bike, watch a movie, and more.
Find what makes you feel better! It could be a hobby, something that gets your body moving, or just some time spent sitting in silence. You know yourself best. If you find something that helps you and supports your health, then you should try to build that into your routine!
Prepare yourself for the holidays to look different this year. We may not have big family meals or get to travel as much as we would normally, but we can still find holiday cheer! Try your best to set aside expectations. Instead, live in the moment when you do get to do something that makes your feel festive and celebratory. You can also make self-care festive! Some ideas include an Advent Calendar with a self-care practice each day, making holiday crafts while practicing mindfulness, or doing a breathing exercise with a holiday scented candle lit.
In our society, we tend to glorify being constantly busy. One thing that the pandemic has done for many of us is force us to slowdown and have more free time in our schedules. This is the perfect opportunity to fill our extra time with self-care practices that we can prioritize and learn to rely on to support our mental health moving forward.
What healthy habit will you form this holiday season?
Emily Wells is the Northeast Regional Coordinator for MHAET. She lives in Johnson City, TN with her husband, Michael, two cats, Marla and Khaleesi, and dog, Petunia. Her hobbies include being outside, gardening, and hiking with Petunia. She loves working for MHAET because it allows her to meet people throughout the community who care about helping others. She loves meeting students who share their own experiences with mental health and inspire her every day.