As we move into the holiday season, you can feel the speed pick up and the energy around us become more and more frenetic.
What I notice most of all is how easily people succumb to the idea that the holidays will be stressful and that there is just no way around that. Folks throw their hands up in the air and declare stressful holidays to be the norm. There is a sense of powerlessness about it as if they don’t have a say. That then leads to feeling overwhelmed, annoyed and frustrated. The stress and intensity take away from the holidays and instead can create resentment rather than enjoyment. Bah! humbug!
What’s worse, the first thing to go out the window is self-care. It’s as if you and your needs become irrelevant or unimportant. You promise yourself you’ll take better care of yourself AFTER the holidays but for now you just need to push through. The stress continues to build up and you and your body pay the price for it.
What if I told you there’s another way to enter the holiday season? One in which you can keep your stress at a minimum and find some enjoyment in your holiday season and have it be more purposeful and meaningful?
When someone is moving towards a potentially stressful time, the first question I ask is, what is your mental wellbeing plan?
What is a Mental Wellbeing Plan?
A mental wellbeing plan is an intention you set to prioritize your mental and emotional health during a specific life event or time frame. In this case, the holidays. It means to purposely decide to put your mental wellbeing first and create a plan to successfully execute that. And, if in this moment what’s running through your mind is “I don’t have time for that!”, then I really want you to think about that statement. There’s only one you and you only have one body, You can’t do all the things you want to do without a healthy YOU.
Strategically creating a plan to care for yourself in this way will help you feel empowered
Ways to Care for your Mental Wellbeing
1. Decide that you and your mental and emotional health matter and remind yourself that you have the power to influence the flow of your holidays. Set an intention to prioritize caring for your mental wellness and create space for it.
2. Strengthen your morning rituals. Start your day off by moving slowly and connecting with your breath. Move your body, journal, meditate. Set an intention for yourself and your day. You are in charge of your life. You have the power to set the tone.
3. Calibrate and re-calibrate your “to-do” list. Is it realistic? Do you have the band-with to get it done without pushing yourself to unhealthy limits? Is there anything that can be delegated or broken down into more realistic chunks. Feel your power in managing your to-do’s vs. your to-do’s managing you.
4. Manage your social obligations. ‘Tis the season for endless invitations. You don’t have to attend them all. You can take charge of your social calendar and attend social events as you are able. If doing too many events in a row is going to drain you, then readjust the plan and instead and give yourself permission to attend less events.
5. Have realistic expectations of yourself and others. When stress starts to kick in, you can lose clarity very quickly and end up expecting more than is realistic. Make sure that what you are asking of yourself and others is reasonable, deliverable, and realistic.
6. Listen to your body. Keep an eye on your breathing. Is it regulated or is it moving too fast? What about your heart rate? What is the tension level in your muscles? Shoulders? Jaw? Staying connected to your body’s needs will help you keep stress levels down and give you more energy. Avoid draining your body at all costs.
7. Remember your “why”. There aren't any “shoulds” or “have to’s”. Whatever you decide you want to do, why is what you are doing important? Stay connected to your why and that your decision is coming from the powerful place of YOU being the one who decides what you will or won’t do.
Putting these tips into practice will help make the holiday season feel more purposeful, pleasant and enjoyable. It will also help you and your body feel cared for and nurtured because you have prioritized your mental wellbeing.
WILD Woman Art Tip: Grounding Circles
Tempera Paint sticks, crayons or markers
Take a moment to connect to your breath and connect to your body. Notice how it’s doing. If it feels stressed, tired, disconnected, etc.
Allow your intuition to choose colors that call to you. (If you only want to use one color, that’s ok too.) Take a writing tool in each hand and begin to create swirly circles.
Experiment with how it feels to do small circles and movements vs. larger circles and movements. Notice what happens when you create the circles slowly vs. quickly.
Connecting to your body, trusting your intuition and inner wisdom, and then moving according to your body’s needs is a great way to:
· Stay attuned to yourself
· Decrease stress
· Process emotions
· Feel more grounded and calm
Remember that you matter just as much as any holiday to do’s and that prioritizing you and your mental wellbeing will make your holidays more fun, relaxing and enjoyable!
Myriam Martinez is a Women's Mental Wellbeing Coach, Creativity Mentor, Art Therapist, and stick figure artist based out of Northern California. She gently guides women to embrace their Woman-ity© and love themselves fiercely through the power of the creative process. Her calling in this life is to teach women the power and importance of putting themselves first, loving themselves fiercely, and tapping into their creativity in order to bring more happiness, success, and ease into their lives.
To learn more about Myriam click here: https://www.myriammartinezcoaching.com/
mental health, self-care, art