As November winds down and the holiday season ramps up, I decided I would make a list for myself and share it for those who need a little extra care to get through to the end of the year.
- Gratitude – I listed this first because gratitude sets a lot of emotions back on course. Stopping to be thankful can change your focus. It’s not to pretend that what you’re feeling doesn’t matter but it does give you a break from the sadness, anger, grief, etc.
- Sleep – Coming from someone who used to run on very little sleep, I’ve realized how important it is for my health.
- Food/exercise – If you can’t do both, pick the one you can do marginally well and stick to it. When I’m struggling, I have a hard time with the exercise part so I focus on what I eat instead.
- Say no – I am terrible at saying no. As in, I have a sign on my body somewhere (haven’t found it yet) that advertises this. I have really been working on this though and it is making a big difference. Plus I feel better about the things I say “yes” to because I wanted to say yes.
- Ask for help – My husband fusses at me about this one all the time. I don’t ask for help until I’m imploding or exploding. Asking for help, with even mundane tasks, has helped me tremendously.
- See a therapist – See all of the above because I basically ripped off all this from him. But seriously, my therapist has been invaluable. Finding a good one can be a bit of trial and error so don’t give up if you don’t click with the first one.
- Quiet moments – Plant some flowers. Turn off the TV/the noise. Pray, meditate, etc. One of the best things I do for myself in the fall is planting pansies. I get an afternoon outside, in the quiet, and add some color to the dying leaves.
- Read – obviously. I have been on a nonfiction binge this month which is strange for me. But I think this goes back to #1 – everyone has a story and reading nonfiction has let me look at life from other perspectives.
- Write – It doesn’t matter what or where. Writing has helped me a lot this fall.
- Social media – Comparison is the thief of joy. If all the perfect table settings and Christmas trees in your feed are leaving you feeling inadequate, cut back or take a break. This also frees up time for # 1-9. Win/Win.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to look beyond this list.
One of my biggest pet-peeves are the quotes about “running is my therapy” or “I knit so I don’t kill people”. Those things and the activities on this list are not a cure-all and I will be the first to admit this. In the past I have ended up in real trouble with depression believing that running, diet changes, crafting, etc were enough. These things help but please ask a doctor for help if you’re still struggling. There is no shame in taking medication or getting intensive help.
And please, if find yourself in a really bad space where you feel like hurting yourself there is help 24/7:
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Now I’m going to go back and read this list to myself another 50 times. Happy Holidays!