Holidays are upon us, and it is a stressful time for some. As a mental health professional, I have gathered some resources I hope you can benefit from.
Time for self-care!
Be good to yourself
Show yourself compassion no matter what you went through this year, or are going through right now. Treat yourself kindly. Self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff explains that compassion includes an understanding of one’s problem and allowing for mistakes, instead of looking for perfection. If you have failed, you have failed. One behavior does not determine who you are. Allow yourself to make mistakes and understand why you have made them. Instead of dwelling on the difficulty of your problems and feeling stuck, try taking care of yourself in a gentle way. Studies from Lisa Yarnell and Kristin Neff have shown that there is a positive relationship between self-care and wellbeing. Stanford University Professor Carol Dweck proposes that a growth mindset can help people be more flexible, to learn from mistakes, take feedback as a gift, and see setbacks as an opportunity for development. Social Psychologist Serena Chen adds that self-compassion allows people to adopt a growth-mindset. You can test your self-compassion here with a very short survey: https://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/
Implement a new self-care routine
It doesn’t matter how small or big it is, implementing a new treatment for yourself can be nourishing Whether it be a foot massage, going to a comedy show, or doing meditation at home, try to do something you have never done before, or that you’ve been postponing due to your busy schedule. If you normally relax with yoga or similar slow exercises, try the opposite and observe the new physiological effects. How about boxing, or krav maga? Self-care does not mean that you have to follow whatever everybody else is doing; find out what works best for you. If you tend to run or do fast-paced exercises, try walking slowly in the park and notice how your thoughts change.
Take time off from whatever you are doing
New York is a demanding, stressful city, and holidays can be a time where you allow yourself to slow down, relax and tune into your feelings. Pick a nice notebook that you’d enjoy writing in, and start writing your thoughts and emotions; buy yourself a book you’ve been postponing reading, or try baking yourself a cake! Slow yourself down and get a good night’s sleep. Break your routine of binge-watching on Netflix to unwind. Studies show that screen time is associated negatively with psychological wellbeing.
No matter how busy or stressed you feel this holiday season, self-care is always just a deep breath away. So take care of yourself, remember, you have multiple resources at your fingertips that can help you get through, and enjoy the season!
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House.
Wang, T. L., & Vella-Brodrick, D. A. (2018). Examining Screen Time, Screen Use Experiences, and Well-Being in Adults.
Yarnell, L. M., & Neff, K. D. (2013). Self-compassion, interpersonal conflict resolutions, and well-being. Self and Identity, 12(2), 146-159.