Home for the Holidays: Taking Good Care of Yourself
by Audrey Stone, based on resources created by Dr. Stephanie Langston
When we think of the holiday season, many of us think of a time to celebrate with family and friends. This can be fun and relaxing, AND it can be stressful. Many of us may feel pressure to reconnect with lots of people, spend money on gifts, and feel joyful all the time, but in reality, we may feel our emotional, physical, and financial resources being stretched thin.
Breaks from school give us the chance to take some much-needed time away from academics, but they may also mean we are taking a break from the healthy routines we have worked to establish while at school. We may find ourselves eating, drinking, or spending too much, while sleeping, exercising, and relaxing too little. Colder temperatures and less daylight may also impact our moods and energy levels.
With all of this in mind, here are some tips to consider as we approach Winter Break:
1. Take some time to check in with yourself and your needs daily while at home:
• What kind of foods are best for you? Are you drinking enough water?
• How much sleep do you need?
• Do you need to connect with others, or would you benefit from some quiet time to yourself?
2. Aim for balance:
• Remember that you don't have to do everything and see everyone every day that you are home.
• Remember that it is okay to disconnect, and okay to say no.
• Allow yourself to indulge and celebrate, while also keeping limits in mind.
• When you are feeling stressed, frenzied, or frustrated, pause and take some deep breaths. Apps like Calm can help remind us to pause and breathe rather than reacting immediately.
• STOP: Stop what you are doing. Take a break. Observe what is happening objectively. Proceed.
• Emotionally: know your limits and think ahead of time about multiple strategies for managing your stress levels. Consider self-help resources or writing out your self-care plan.
• Financially: decide what you want and how much you want to spend before going out, then stick to your plan.
• Socially: identify manageable ways of connecting with the people that are important to you (whether in person, over the phone, or otherwise.)
• Physically: If exercise is important to you, find ways to incorporate it into your break. Take the stairs at the mall instead of the elevator, go for walks with family/friends after big meals, or consider attending some drop-in classes at your local gym or yoga studio.
Audrey Stone, MA, NCC, LPCA
Staff Counselor and Diversity Outreach Coordinator
Counseling & Psychological Services Center
(828) 262-3180 (828) 262-3182 (FAX)
Appalachian State University
Boone, North Carolina 28608