DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Wellness Wednesday: A wellness guide to surviving the holiday season

Wellness Wednesday: A wellness guide to surviving the holiday season

The holidays can be a wonderful time of year for many. This season also can be a time of sadness and grief, and can leave many feeling overwhelmed. Traditionally, the holidays are a time to spend with family and loved ones. Keep in mind we don’t all come from traditional families and not everyone has a family who understands and accepts who they are. This year especially, the holidays will look different for many as some of us decide to avoid traveling and large gatherings.

Below is a guide to remind us no matter how we celebrate this holiday season, remember to make time for yourself every day.

1. Create a plan or schedule

Do you have to buy presents, plan the holiday meals, bake cookies or decorate? As with any project, create a timeline of when and how you will get everything done. This not only ensures you won’t forget to do something, but also it allows you to focus on the list in front of you rather than the list swirling in your head. Share this list with others to divvy up responsibilities. Maybe make others the lead of some tasks so you don’t have to lead everything.

2. Decide what you will and won’t discuss with others

You get to choose who you want to tell and share your story with. Don’t feel obligated to share everything. Only share what you want to share with others. If they pressure you, try saying “I don’t want to share this, please respect my privacy and choice.”

3. Reflect on what the holiday season means to you

Whether you have an identified spiritual practice or not, the holidays have some sort of meaning for all of us. Think about this year and what you want to focus on as you move through the holiday season. Decide how you will celebrate and remember this year.
4. Identify your own needs

We all have daily basic, as well as other unique, needs that help us thrive, and feel secure and happy. What do you need to feel secure and happy, and to thrive this holiday season? Whatever it is, write it down and remind yourself of those needs every day. If you need to share them with others, do that, too.
5. Give yourself what you need

After you have identified what you need to thrive, and feel satisfied, secure and happy, give that to yourself every day. It’s not selfish, but rather, essential.

6. Create an escape plan

Knowing your boundaries and understanding what is and is not acceptable will help you voice your needs and maintain your own balance. What will you do if you are pushed to your tipping point? How will you know when you’ve reached this point? Create a plan that includes how you might know when you reach this point and who you will call for help and support. Finally, think about how you will recuperate and restore yourself.

7. Practice kindness and gratitude

Whether it’s giving it to yourself every day or to others, w​e can all use more kindness and gratitude. Take a deep breath and share what you are most grateful for and spread that kindness forward each day.

8. Find Joy

Challenge yourself to find the joy in each day. Whether that’s a smile, a laugh or even a cry. There is joy to be found everywhere. Sometimes we just have to reframe our vision. Sometimes we will find it in unexpected ways.

The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness wishes you a very healthy, safe and joyous holiday season. Take Care of yourself, Take Care of each other, Take Care DePaul.