Listen, with Christmas and the New Year upon us and the stress that comes with both of these things, it’s normal to put self-care on the backburner. After all, you’ve got decorations to hang, presents to buy and holiday dinners to prepare.
It’s a lot to handle, and that’s without a pandemic going on. By the time you add in all the COVID precautions you have to consider in addition to everything else, it’s no wonder your self-care is virtually non-existent.
Plus, during this time of year, did you know that some people also experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? SAD is a type of depression that’s related to the changing of seasons and often gets lumped into a case of the “winter blues,” but it can be much more severe than that and, in some cases, it affects a person’s daily life.
Symptoms include sadness, anxiety, fatigue and lack of energy, irritability and the inability to concentrate, feeling hopeless and withdrawn and changes in sleep or appetite. So, if you think you’re suffering from SAD, please make an appointment with a healthcare professional.
And even though self-care can’t “cure” SAD, it can help.
Here are three tips for maintaining mental self-care in the new year:
Tip #1: Give Gratitude and Be Kind to Yourself
Give thanks to the people, places and opportunities you’ve shared and experienced this year and for what you hope to journey through in the new year. Gratitude sharing is a great practice to get in the habit of doing.
Whether you sit down with your journal and list out the things you’re grateful for or you type out a note on your phone, the act of practicing gratitude can shift you out of most funks.
Also, as part of this practice make a point to be kind to yourself and recognize there will be highs and lows. Honor where you are – always.
Tip #2: Make Yourself a Priority
I know, I know, this one can be tough, especially when you’ve got a family and kids to consider. But, as I’m sure you know, you’ve got to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.
It’s like when you’re on an airplane and they tell you to put on your oxygen mask first, then help those next to you, in the case of an emergency.
Bottom line: You have to make yourself a priority – it’s not selfish to do so.
As we enter 2022, give yourself some much-needed alone time and start to focus more on your health and mindset.
Tip #3: Schedule Your Self-Care
You know the saying, “If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist.” Well, for most of us, this is true. That’s why one of the best ways to make your self-care a habit is to mark your calendar with future self-care times.
Schedule these times in advance and practice slowing down, recharging and having some time for you to think or enjoy a walk outside or a bubble bath. Just make sure that you’re pre-planning downtime for you to relax and reflect.
With all that comes with the holidays and the end of the year crunch, it’s easy to put yourself and your self-care on hold. But here’s the thing, even though you’re busy and more stressed than normal, it doesn’t help your mental health or mindset when you don’t take time for you. That’s why as we head into 2022, I want you to make mental self-care a priority and stick to it.
If you need additional support or accountability or you believe you might be suffering from SAD, the team at Affinity Health is here to support you. Book your free therapy session here and let us help you put your self-care at the top of your Christmas list.