The Holidays are here and in full swing. This can be a festive and cozy time to share with friends and family but I think we all know it can be pretty stressful, too.

You might find that taking care of your mental health right now seems really far down on the to do list. Because of extra questions and decisions this year, possibly seeing family we didn’t see last year, you may even feel more pressure to make up for lost time (what?! More pressure?) Here are my top five suggestions for self care during the last month of 2021 that will hopefully stick long past the Holidays and become habits in 2022.

Plan ahead:

You may think you want to be alone until you are alone. Before the Holiday consider some options for ways you want to spend it. Maybe this means joining a friend’s family or volunteering at a charitable organization. Choose what will bring you joy.

Let go of rigid traditions:

Be flexible. Stay present. Remain open minded about where you are right now rather than what happened last year, years ago, when you were a kid, what televisions tell you it should be like, etc. or what may happen in the future.

Temper expectations:

Because you are the one creating your expectations, you have the power to adjust them. Sounds simple but it is actually true. Ask yourself if you have build something up to an unrealistic level and then blamed yourself or “failed”. That can all go away.

Drop the comparisons:

Comparisons can really have you doubt yourself or lower your self esteem. Feelings of dissatisfaction grow and bloom in environments of less than or “not enough”. Don’t go there.

And lastly and most importantly- SAY NO:

It is ok to politely decline invitations in an effort to be more mindful of your needs. You are allowed time to make decisions. You can wait to answer a request, you can debate the pros and cons for you and you do not have to have an explanation ready to discuss as to why you made your decision.

Melissa M. Montgomery MA., Ed. LPCC-SUPV

Melissa Montgomery MA, Ed., LPCC-SUPV is a Licensed Independent Clinical Counselor practicing at Greentree Counseling Center, Inc. She believes you are entitled to create your own narrative and can unlearn anything that doesn’t serve you.

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