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24 Self-Care Tips for When the Holidays Feel Like Too Much

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With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to put self-care on the back burner. But mental illnesses or mental health challenges don’t take a break during the holidays, and neither should your well-being. Self-care should be a habit 365 days a year, seven days a week. To find out how our community practices self-care around the holidays, we asked: What’s one self-care tip you would give people struggling with their mental health this holiday season?

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “Deactivate Facebook and focus on real world relationships. If you are alone, then attend your nearest church, mosque, library, community building and ask for help if you need it.” — Craig T.

2. “Don’t feel obligated to go see family. Take care of you first, and if that means saying no to a crowded holiday dinner at mom’s, then so be it.” — Amelia H.

3. “Keep up with your small acts of daily self-care — brush teeth, take vitamins, wash hair. It’s easy to let these little routines drop over a season with a different routine or no routine.” — Selina C.

4. “As silly as it sounds, just breathe! Take a moment to yourself and concentrate on your breathing. Feel the slow rise as the breath comes in and gentle puff as the breath goes out. Once in a rhythm, feel the gentle relaxing wave flow through your body.” — Rouanne C.

5. “Understand it’s OK to not be OK. Thinking you have to be happy throughout the holidays make them harder.” — Beth F.

6. “Don’t let negativity get to you. I know it’s hard, but try to stay with people who understand what you’re going through.” — Chris M.

7. “Remember to open up to at least one person… the one you dare to share every detail of your thought process with. Then, tell them what you need.” — Dayna G.

8. “Make lists, a list just for things you want to accomplish that week, that day or even that morning. Even if only one thing is on the list and you do it, you’ve just accomplished something you may have felt was too difficult or exhausting. You can replace those feelings of being overwhelmed with feelings of accomplishment.” — Wendy W.

9. “Be around people even if you can’t talk. Ask for hugs.” — Jessica W.

10. “If you need time and space, then take it. Be kind, but firm. Tell your relatives you need to step out for a minute, and you’ll be back in a little while.” — Elisa Z.

11. “Every time you think of something negative, remind yourself (with post-it notes perhaps) to write one good thing that has happened today.” — Rachel C.

12. “You don’t have to attend every holiday event.” — Jessica R.W.

13. “Get grounded. Stand with your knees ever so slightly bent and hip width apart and just breathe.” — Robin G.

14. “Stand a few minutes in the sun, especially in the cold months.” — Kasie G.

15. “Don’t let other people’s opinions get to you. Just be you and relax.” — Arianna A.

16. “Remember we’re here for you. You will never be alone. Even on your darkest days, you have us. We care about you….You matter.” — Adella S.

17. “Make your bed in the morning. Starting your day like this can help you feel productive, which can lead to a productive day overall.” — Amanda K.

18. “Leave a sticky note in the bathroom. Write whatever you want on it that will help you calm down.” — Ashley E.

19. “I am currently sitting in the parking lot waiting to get a mani/pedi. I think it is important to remember to take care of yourself in some way special.” — Carmen O.

20. “You’re entitled to leave any gathering whenever you want, and just because you might feel guilty about it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.” — Mimi G.

21. “Put yourself first.” — Mariana C.

22. “If you have a pet, then be with them as much as possible.” — Lisa B.

23. “Create a gratitude journal. Reflect back on happy times. Go out of your way to be kind to someone.” — Brooke W.

24. “Sleep and water. Overtired and full of sugar is a nightmare for your mental health.” — Jody P.

What would you add?

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 16, 2016
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