by: Dr. Brianna Jaris, C.Psych.
The holiday season is an incredibly stressful time for many people. There are some things that we may not be able to avoid – congested malls, traffic and travel, holiday gatherings and parties, buying gifts, etc… but, throughout it all, the best thing that we can do is to give ourselves the gift of self-care. Here are a few things that we can do to make the best out of this holiday season:
1) Make a plan – Be prepared by making a plan. For example, make a grocery list or plan out when you can do your holiday shopping. Having a plan is the first step in preventing the added stress of forgetting something or having to do things last minute.
2) Be proactive – Don’t wait until the last minute to shop for groceries for a holiday dinner or shop for gifts. Getting things done ahead of time can give you a great sense of accomplishment and can help avoid the stress of overwhelming yourself with having to do too much at once.
3) Be realistic – For example, plan for there to be traffic or for the shopping centres to be busy. Also, set a budget and don’t go overboard. It’s important to realize that you may not be able to do it all yourself, so don’t be afraid to enlist help if you need to as well.
4) Set up appropriate boundaries – Establish a timeline for visitation – don’t let guests overstay their welcome. Do certain topics of conversation need to be set as “off-limits”? Don’t forget that setting up healthy boundaries also means being able to say “no” to people or demands. Remember that in order to be healthy, sometimes you have to risk disappointing other people.
5) Build time in for yourself – The most important thing of all this holiday season is to take care of you. Take breaks and build in time to relax as necessary. Self-Care is the best gift you can give.
Stay ahead of stress this holiday season by sticking to a plan, recognizing your limits, and not letting others dictate your holiday. We all want to make the holiday season special for the ones we love, but don’t forget to take care of YOU this holiday season!
Dr. Brianna Jaris, C.Psych. is a clinical psychologist at CFIR. She has extensive experience in psychological assessment and diagnosis and the treatment of a wide range of psychological issues, including trauma, depression, anxiety. She is currently the head of CFIR’s Trauma and PTSD service. You can visit www.cfir.ca to find out more about Dr. Jaris.