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How to Thrive this Holiday Season

Updated: Oct 19, 2019


By: Nicole Bentley, LCSW


This time of year can bring joy and fun, and it can also bring stress and fatigue if we aren’t careful. Here are 4 tips to thriving this holiday season:

1. Engage in Self-Care

I know, I know…we hear this all the time and it feels impossible to put into practice. But honestly, self-care doesn’t have to be anything you don’t want it to be. Self-care is about taking some time for yourself to engage in an activity that is fun or relaxing, and shows that you value yourself. With that definition in mind, almost anything that fits into your lifestyle and meets your individual needs can qualify as self-care. Whatever you choose, tell yourself “I’m going to engage in my self-care activity now” or even add it to your planner or schedule as “self-care”. This will make it feel more intentional and special, which will increase the benefits.

2. Flexible Eating and Exercise

There is a lot of negative talk around the topics of food, exercise and body image this time of year. Food is a big part of the holiday season, and hearing the constant fat talk, diet talk, and exercise pressure can be mentally exhausting and even dangerous. Flexible eating and exercise is a healthy way to combat those unhealthy messages. Treat your body with love by listening to it. Go ahead and eat the wonderful food that surrounds you, and stop when you are full. Make sure to eat throughout the day, every day, because your body still needs fuel regardless of the time of year. Avoid using exercise as a punishment or compensation for eating. Exercise can be a very healthy activity if it is done flexibly and intentionally, and if your medical and mental health professionals recommend it. Focus on enjoyable activities for exercise this time of year, and avoid being too harsh with yourself if you exercise less than usual or not at all…that’s where the flexibility comes in to play! The ultimate goal here is to be kind to yourself, and give yourself permission to enjoy the holiday season in a way that feels good for you, without judgment or self-criticism.

3. Make Mindful Choices with Money

Money can be tight this time of year between hosting parties, attending parties, and buying presents. Before the season gets into full swing, go ahead and jot down a list of each financial responsibility you will have this holiday season. Make sure to include gifts, cards, food, beverages, and new outfits…anything that is specific to this time of year. Then, next to each item on the list write an estimate for what you would like to spend on that item. As you go along, come back to this list, and write how much you actually spent on the item after you purchased it. This way, even if you don’t always meet your estimated budget, you are still more mindful about how this time of year effects you financially, and you can make effective choices for yourself accordingly.

4. Set Goals for Yourself

You absolutely cannot be everything to everyone this holiday season, it just isn’t possible. As you are looking at your schedule, make sure to prioritize what you want to do, and who you want to see. By setting your own goals you will make sure to strive towards what is most important to you, and will then feel more satisfied with your holiday experience.


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