By: Ally Hoffman, MA, LPC-Associate
Supervised by Melissa Barton, LPC-S
The holiday season is near, which means fall and all of the great things that tend to come with it: cooler weather, seasonal treats, seasonal self-care, and family time! Then again, there is also the stressful part of this season: physical changes in response to colder weather, food-focused events, and (you guessed it) family time. Let’s face it, all of these things are just a little bittersweet during this season because of the side effects that come with all of the good! As a means to help alleviate the stress so you can be fully present to enjoy the good, it can help to incorporate some self-care and coping ahead!
Tis the season for seasonal self-care
We have all been there, coordinating the schedules, planning the meals, and dealing with the emotional roller coaster that comes with the logistics of getting a group of people together all in one place. While holidays are meant for celebrating, sometimes we can lose track of the fun and connection in the process of trying to manage it all. That’s why it is essential to take care of yourself before, during, and after to the holiday season! Self-care during this season might seem a little selfish at first. However, in order to be selfless, we’ve got to acquire the resources for ourselves to then be able to share! Come on, you know the cliché – you can’t pour from an empty cup!
Seasonal self-care is NOT selfish
Sometimes the seasons just have a way of hitting us a little differently. Some individuals might even suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours.” That is why it is absolutely essential to take extra care of yourself during this time! Self-care in the holiday season can look like scheduling in and prioritizing doing the things you enjoy, setting healthy boundaries with loved ones, creating moments for movement, and fueling your body!
Place yourself at the top of your priority list with seasonal self-care
Fall is notorious for spending time thinking about how we can connect, celebrate, and cherish one another. It is not often that we think about serving ourselves during this season! By increasing our self-awareness and honing in on how to meet our needs, we will be better able to attend to others and help to meet some of their needs. In offering ourselves compassion, we can then pass more of it to others as that act of self-kindness inherently breeds patience within ourselves. In fact, in doing so, will likely improve relationships and communication patterns with our loved ones! Consider making a list of what you would like to accomplish this holiday season and try to adjust your planning accordingly.
Respect your own limits
Once we evaluate what it is that we are wanting or needing and setting it as a priority, we are able to move forward in asking others to respect the limitations to which we can meet their requests of us! Prentis Hemphill defines boundaries as “…the distance at which I can love you [others] and me [myself] simultaneously.” During the holiday season, boundaries might look like setting time limits for how long you are able to stay somewhere, limiting how many events you might be able to realistically attend, limiting time in stressful situations, redirecting unproductive conversations, and more! Some of these limits protect us and our loved ones from being disappointed due to unmet expectations. By sharing our limits with our loved ones, we are kindly letting them know what we are capable of given the circumstances.
Mindfulness surrounding movement & mealtime
Due to the fact that we often focus on our own needs last during this time, we might run into some abnormal eating patterns – especially, in that the winter is heavily flooded with food- focused events. Our in-house eating disorder specialist put it best, “When life feels unmanageable, we often use food as a tool to distract us, or soothe us, or sometimes even both.” By practicing mindfulness, we can make it a point to prioritize nourishing ourselves in a healthy manner and incorporating movement into our memories! We can put these ideas into practice by taking a moment to thoughtfully consider whether you are plating well-balanced meals, getting out for a walk, playing in the yard during downtime, responding appropriately to hunger cues, considering where your food is being sourced from, and listening to our body when it says we are full!
Begin Parenting Counseling at Our Center in Katy, TX!
Looking to learn more about how to care for yourself during the holiday season, one of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! To begin counseling in Katy, Texas, follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or get more about self-care.
- Meet with one of our relatable therapists
- Start thriving this holiday season!
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Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. To learn more about our therapists and counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!