Taking Care of Yourself During the Holidays

Teresa Barker

Let’s Talk About ~mental health~

Tonight we’re gonna get a little real. Christmas is only a few days away, which means lots of the following:

  • time spent with family
  • last-minute shopping
  • having to socialize a lot
  • usual holiday stress and maybe some anxieties
  • not having as much “you” time

I mostly want to focus on that last item on the list today:

Not Having as Much “You” Time

This is a recipe for disaster around the holidays. Around the holidays there’s such an emphasis on spending as much time with family as possible, being busy with parties and shopping, and doing lots & lots of festivities. And it can be exhausting.

*in my best Victoria Justice voice* I think we can ALL relate to feeling a little overwhelmed around the holidays, and like we slack on self-care around the holidays. But it’s sooo important to make taking care of yourself during the holidays as much a priority as everything else.

Your Family Will Understand

Your family isn’t going to think you love them any less because you need to step away from the family gathering to take a breather. This is something I used to always worry about, because I didn’t want them to think I didn’t want to be there or something like that. I did want to be there, it’s just that by being as introverted as I naturally am, alone time is how I re-charge my social battery.

Actually, the more time I have to re-charge, the more fun I am when I’m at a family party or any other social thing. I’m basically just flexing my AP Psych knowledge here but if you don’t know what an introvert is, check out this more science-y definition here or this urban dictionary (yet still v accurate) definition here.

But anyways, any misinterpretation can be avoided by communication. This goes for literally everything in life, but specifically, it applies to taking some you time without a loved one taking it personally.

I used to be so scared to speak up, because I was scared they’d take it the wrong way that I needed some space from all the festive festivities. But I learned a while ago that by just casually saying “hey I’ll be back in a few I just need some “me” time to relax for a sec,” literally all my worries are alleviated. Literally everyone I’ve ever said that too has had either one of two reactions. They either 1) didn’t care and we’re like “yeah, yeah go do your thing” or 2) were like “oh okay! take your time but come back soon so we can hang with you!”

It’s literally that simple.

But, What if it’s not so simple?

I understand that not everyone is in the most understanding environment for the holidays. Sometimes family or friends make it really hard to step away. And if that’s your situation, I still have some helpful advice.

If you can’t casually speak your truth and tell them what’s up, instead, do the best with what you have. If they need anyone to go out to the store really quickly to buy something, offer and say that you can, just so you can get out of the house. Or if they need someone to go clean the upstairs bathroom, say that you will (even if you don’t really want to), just so you can get some peace and quiet.

Or, if all else fails, tell a little white lie. Nothing crazy, obviously, but just something along the lines of ” Oh crap I forgot I have homework to do over break” or “I’ll be down soon I still have presents to wrap!” even if it’s not totally true. I’m not totally proud of this tactic, but I have used this before when I literally didn’t have another choice and needed a break from the craziness.

Like I said, sometimes, taking care of yourself means simply doing the best with what you have.

Taking a Break from the Holiday To-Do List

Christmas shopping, cookie baking, and family bonding time will still be there even after you take some time for yourself.

Make sure that when you do step away, you step into something useful. For me, I spend that time tidying my room, blogging, or working on some other personal goals I have like exercising, reading, or practicing Spanish. Or I literally just play Pokemon Go. I’m just being 100% honest here with you.

So, whatever it is that brings you peace and makes you feel recharged and like “you” again, please make that a priority for you this holiday season.

Christmas does only come one time each year, but above all else is your mental health. Take care of her first. ♡

And with that, I’ll leave you with a little quote.

“After a long day of taking care of everyone else’s needs, make sure to take care of your needs.” – Anonymous

Much love, Teresa

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