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How to Prioritize Self-Care During the Busy Holiday Season

Happy December to all! I can hardly believe that we are rounding the corner to the end of the year! I'm not sure where 2023 went, though I feel like I'm saying that every year!

December can be a month when we experience all kinds of emotions. Taking the time to acknowledge that this time of year can be celebratory and difficult at the same time is an important step for some of us. While I mostly enjoy this time of year, it can also be difficult for me as a "recovering perfectionist". I place a lot of pressure on myself to "get it right" and to make the holiday "perfect". Couple this with the shorter days and some Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this time of year can be a real challenge.

One thing I find helpful is to make a self-care plan at the beginning of the month. I always argued that I didn't have time, but when I started challenging those thoughts and doing it anyway I realized that life flows much easier when I take care of myself. Putting time on my calendar and giving myself a little time and space makes a big difference in how I show up for myself and the people I care about. This year I have a massage, some yoga classes, and a sound meditation on the calendar, and scheduled a few fun events with my dear family and friends. These things, coupled with getting out into the woods as much as possible for walks and hikes, help to keep me somewhat balanced during a season that can throw me off.

It's so easy to feel depleted this time of year whether it's because of too much or not enough activity. Sometimes we struggle with guilt if we need to say "no" to an opportunity or event. We may find that we are saying "yes" to things that we don't want to do. Take a moment to ask yourself the "why" of the opportunity or event - "Why am I doing this?" This question can help bring awareness to whether or not you will say "yes" or "no". If we are doing too much, chances are that we (and maybe our family members) may end up being cranky and not enjoying the events anyway. Are there ways you can simplify your life this month?

If you feel like there is not much going on for you this time of year, taking time to do some things for yourself can also help you feel more connected with other people and the community. This time can be challenging and lonely when we don't have friends and family around and as hard as it can be, getting out and connecting with others can help with feelings of isolation.

Taking some time for self-care and assessing your priorities can go a long way as we navigate this month which can be full of a variety of emotions.

Wishing you health and peace this month and into the new year!

(If you need help with feelings of being overwhelmed, loneliness, or depression, please reach out to 211 to find help.)

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