December is such a weird month for me. It’s always been full of new beginnings and sometimes, terrifying endings. I know that the holidays bring out a lot of emotions for everyone, no matter what’s going on in your life.
I’ve come a long way since I ran away to a new life when I packed my car and drove to Seattle four years ago. 21 years ago, my family and I made a similar journey when we moved from Turkey to the U.S.
At 31 years old, I’m finally feeling like I’ve got a good handle on life. I’ve got a solid career path, a group of friends I can finally trust to be there but also know when I need to be alone. I’m in a healthy relationship (we just passed the 9-month mark, what!). Most importantly, my baby brother and his girlfriend are now living in Seattle.
Life is good.
Life is emotional.
It’s the constant struggle, isn’t it – to feel sad even though you’ve got a lot of things right in your life? “Things could be worse,” we tell ourselves. I tell myself that all the time.
I also allow myself to feel the sadness and anxiety that comes up because they are part of who I am. I need to process feelings to understand where they come from, and maybe, help me become a better person.
That’s the beauty of being human. We can feel conflicting feelings all at once, defining who we are at a given moment by choosing to embrace the positive ones as the negative ones run their course.
I know I’m not alone in this.
We feel guilty at this time of year if we personally cannot live up to the standard to be ever-cheerful and happy and joyful. — Dr. Arthur Hayward, Kaiser Permanente
Whether you’re spending your holidays surrounded by family and friends, or not – remember that self-care doesn’t take a holiday. In fact, it’s more important than ever. What you’re going through matters, whether it’s good or sad. I want you to remember that too.
Here are a few tips for practicing self-care this holiday season.
- Give yourself permission. To take a walk. To take a break. To be a bit selfish. To feel happy. To feel anxious. To feel – period.
- Take your time. If you’re going home for the holidays, everything can feel rushed. You have to see everyone. You have to rush from house to house, event to event. Where and when you can, take a breather. Maybe spend a little extra time getting ready. Take the longer route from one house to the other. And yes, cancel on events if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You don’t have to be everywhere, all the time. (I know this applies more to social activities versus family obligations.)
- Hydrate. No, seriously. Water. Don’t forget about it – especially between those glasses of wine at family functions.
- Laugh. Even if it’s through tears sometimes.
- Take a walk. Put on your coat (or light jacket), put away your phone, and take a walk around the neighborhood. Don’t forget to take deep breaths.
- Indulge. Listen to your favorite songs. Put on your favorite holiday movie. Make your favorite treats.
- Give up expectations. Nothing will be perfect. Something will always go wrong. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself (and others) and try to enjoy the moments.
- Breathe. This is the most important one. No matter what, remember to breathe.
What are some ways you get through the holiday blues?