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  • Writer's pictureJess Barrows

The Happiest Time of the Year…

The holiday season may not always be merry and bright... and that's ok.

2021 has been another chaotic and stressful year for many; Another year living in the pandemic, which by itself has been a trauma for our entire population. Racial and political tensions continue to remain high. And now as we are in the midst of the holiday season, we are expected to be merry and bright.

The most important message I am reminding myself and others this year is that if you’re not feeling it, THAT IS OKAY! These past nearly 2 years have been unlike any other we have experienced. It seems that beyond the general stress of the world, additional stressors and emotions have been high. It makes sense that with all we have had to carry, that we may not be feeling our most happy this holiday season.

According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 64% of people with mental illness report the holidays make their condition or symptoms worse. In addition to this number, high percentages of people reported that the holidays contribute to feeling sad or dissatisfied, financial strain, feelings of loneliness, unrealistic expectations, among others.

While the holiday blues, as NAMI refers to it, remains very different from mental illness, it is not to be ignored.

Here is my list of 10 self-care tips to practice this holiday season:

1. Be patient

Practice patience with yourself.

2. Allow your feelings & don’t be hard on yourself

Feelings are not right or wrong, they just are. If you are not feeling joyous this holiday season, remind yourself this is valid.

3. Connect with others

Being expected to spend time with family may not always be — ; In another breath, some may crave to spend time with family but are unable to for various reasons. Connect with those around you when you can. Connect with those you feel comfortable around.

4. Set boundaries

It’s okay to say no, leave early, and limit conversations.

5. Take some time for Y-O-U

Carve out time for yourself and do something you want to do.

6. It’s okay to stick to a budget

The holidays should not be a financial burden.

7. Be mindful of your general self-care

Keep a regular sleeping, eating, and exercise schedule. Changes in your routine can greatly impact your mood.

8. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol is often a part of many celebrations, however, it is a depressant and best to avoid when feeling down.

9. Keep your mental health appointments

Although you may be busy, maintaining your mental health appointments is important.

10. Be realistic

Remind yourself that what we see from others is oftentimes what they want us to see. Gatherings cannot always be all fun all of the time.

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