Are you really experiencing the holiday season? 5 ways to carve out self-care time during the hot mess. December 21, 2017 13:46

It's definitely the time of year that our mental health gets a serious testing and our anxiety shoots through the roof. It's a shame because this season has so much juicy goodness to lean into, but it often gets lost or muted by the hustle and bustle of the season and in our eternal pursuit of perfection.
So, what can you do to ward off the anxiety and depression that seems to come with the Christmas season?
1. Recognize your stress symptoms.  
Where do you hold stress in your body? I know kind of an odd question, but seriously. Close your eyes, imagine all you have to do and where does it come up? In your shoulders? Your belly? Sometimes we're running around stressed like crazy and aren't even aware of it. Knowing where your stress symptoms manifest for you will help you clue into when you need some stress management.
2. Have a motivational quote in your back pocket 
Call it a motivational quote, mantra or positive affirmation; they are small messages that help affirm what’s really important. I know it seems silly; a research study done by NCBI showed mantras actually change our subconscious belief systems and work to change behavior. What's your holiday nemesis? Is it the feeling of not enough time? Is it anxiety over family? Set a simple mantra to address it.  I have plenty of time to accomplish things and still enjoy the holiday. Or I don’t have to accept my family’s expectations of me. (ohhh...good one, right!)  

3. Breathe 
Often and deep. The first thing that we lose in anxiety and stress is our breath. When you feel your head spin or those stress symptoms manifest, breathe. There’s something called a three-part breath. This is where you inhale all the away to your diaphragmlong and slow. Hold to the count of three. Then, you slowly, slowly release it. Whenever you feel those stress symptoms, breathe, breathe, breathe.
4. Check your ego!

Remember the truth. Our minds love to lie to us (or our egos…Freud, you here, bud??). Our minds (or egos…yeah yeah, Sigmund…got it) really like to fuck with us. Deeply and seriously. You’re making cookies, you go do something else for one minute, and then you come back to a smoky kitchen and 4 sheets of burnt cookies.  

“God Damn it!”

The tears well up as your heart in your chest gets tight. Your sweet partner or best friend or child says, “it's okay.”  

What do you say?  

Do you say, “Oh,you’re right; it's just cookies. Who needs the extra calories this time of year anyway?”  

Or do you say, “No, it's not! I need these for tomorrow. I don’t have any time to make more.”  

Yep, me too. They. Are. Cookies. 

No one is going to die if they don’t make it to the morning office meeting.  

The truth is you can choose to give yourself a break. The truth is you can choose to not grow this out of proportion. The truth is what would you tell your best friend in this situation.  

The Real Truth?

Why aren’t you your best friend?  Be your best friend.

Yep…the truth’s out. There’s no way that shit goes back in the bag.  

5.Connect. 
This one is a biggie. I know! Who has time? It's just one more thing to do. 
 

Uggggggghhhhh.  

But, really what's the point?

Skip the Christmas cards this year.  

Hell! Start a traditionHappy Christmas in spring! Can I get a holla?

Instead, go on a date with your husband. Grab wine with a friend. Even call your aunt. She’s the best, isn’t she?  And it feels so good when you talk to her.  It doesn’t have to be anything more than what it is, and it doesn’t have to look any certain way. It simply has to feed your soul.  

Because what’s the point? 

What's the point of the beautiful lights and the music?  

The pretty dressed parties and the lovely food?  

The little extra care we give to everything?

What’s the point if we can’t give it to ourselves?

Be one of the things you give a little extra care to this season.