As the festive cheer fades away, many of us find ourselves entangled in a web of anxiety. According to the American Psychological Association, 44% of women experience increased stress during the holiday season (https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/12/holiday-stress) , often due to the pressure of managing multiple responsibilities and expectations. Some of us are coming off of a whirlwind of handling countless tasks and ensuring every tradition was upheld and every moment was magical. For some of us, the holiday season, is the opposite. It's the loneliest time of year because maybe it's a reminder of what was lost or what we lack. Wherever you are on that spectrum, your journey deserves acknowledgment and compassion. In this article, we will discuss a three essential things to help you navigate the holiday aftermath.
Give yourself permission to slow down. You've spent the entire holiday season stressed with one thing or another. It's time to slow down. There is no shame in taking a break after the craziness of the season. The National Alliance on Mental Illness actually emphasizes the importance of self-care for mental health (https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Family-Members-and-Caregivers/Taking-Care-of-Yourself ). Taking moments to slow down and practice self-care, even for a few minutes each day, can significantly alleviate stress levels, improve overall well-being, and enhance resilience.
Offer yourself gratitude for making it through. Take a minute right now and just thank yourself for all of your efforts during this time. Appreciate what you accomplished and how you handled the situations you encountered. Studies published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, show that gratitude has a significant influence on our mental health. Gratitude can help us release toxic emotions, reduce pain, improve our sleep quality, regulate stress, and reduce anxiety and depression (https://positivepsychology.com/neuroscience-of-gratitude/ ). Taking time to express gratitude for your efforts, even amidst challenges, fosters a sense of positivity and resilience.
Reflect on your capacity. It's important for you to recognize what you are capable of. Reflecting on the chaos and challenges faced during the holidays allows you to recognize your capabilities. Maybe things didn't go according to plan, or perhaps you felt like a 'hot mess,' but remember, getting through it all signifies your strength. Even if it felt like a failure, there's purpose within that experience. It has equipped you with resilience and valuable lessons for the future. Embrace the notion that each challenge, every stumble, is a building block for greater strength and wisdom in the journey ahead.
To the mom who wore multiple hats during the holidays, juggling responsibilities, and ensuring joy for her loved ones: acknowledge the weight you carried and the love you spread. And to the one feeling lonely, void of bustling traditions: your feelings are valid. Embrace self-care, practice gratitude for your efforts, and find strength in reflecting on your journey. Allow yourself the grace to heal, grow, and embrace the new beginnings that await. Even with these tools, if you find yourself in need of more support post-holiday, connect with our incredible team of therapists and get connected with the different programs available to you. You can learn more by going to www.anewviewcounseling.net.