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Prioritizing Your Mental Health This Holiday Season

December 13, 2021

By:

Dr Kelly Ray

If there’s one thing we’ve been adamant about here at LIY this year, it’s been prioritizing our mental health. And that holds true even more so as we head into the Christmas season. Sometimes we focus so much on the never ending list of things to do, places to go, things to buy, that our mental health gets put to the wayside. 

And while we’re doing everything we can to celebrate the season, it’s important to remember that with all the holly jolly going around, this time is actually really hard on a lot of us. Whether it’s the overwhelm of making sure everyone else is taken care of, the first holiday without a loved one, or the onset of wintertime blues, the reasons are endless as to why we might not be feeling our best! 

While we know that prioritizing our mental health is important, we’re not the professionals in this area, so we’re calling in an expert! You all loved our recent Q&A blog post with Dr Kelly Ray, so she was gracious enough to come back and help out the LIY Community with her advice on this topic!

Dr. Kelly Ray is a clinical psychologist and owner of a group private practice in the greater Chicago area.  Kelly holds a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology and has 20 years of experience as a provider of psychotherapy.  She specializes in anxiety, eating/body image concerns, mood issues, the challenges of busy working parents, and parenting dilemmas. Off the “clock,” Kelly lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and two middle-school aged daughters, who have learned to make use of one of her other talents…as a chauffeur.

Delegate

1. Delegate.  The holiday season brings many social opportunities.  Hosting an event can be overwhelming to do single-handedly.  Practice delegating.  Ask guests to contribute various parts of the meal or drinks for the bar.  Request that someone even be in charge of bringing the centerpiece, leaving you with a more manageable event to coordinate and enjoy yourself.

Treat Yourself

2.  Treat yourself.  For many of us, the holiday season means looking after the wants and needs of others.  How can we make this holiday special for our loved ones?  This year, I challenge you to make the holiday special for yourself.  Treat yourself to a little something that is wrapped and ready for you on Christmas morning or give yourself the gift of time—for a bubble bath, manicure, or time to unwind.

Honor Lost Loved Ones

3.  Honor lost loved ones.  The first holiday season without a cherished loved one can shed darkness over this otherwise bright time.  Find a way to honor your loved one.  Serve one of their favorite foods at your holiday meal, find an ornament that reminds you of them for your tree, or reminisce about one of your favorite memories with them, bringing you in touch with the goodness they brought to life.

Recharge

4.  Recharge.  For even the most extroverted among us, the holiday season can be draining.  Make sure to take time to recharge, however that looks for you.  Time with a good book, a brisk walk, or the best of what Netflix has to offer.  Even with house guests present (or as a house guest yourself), you will be more equipped to enjoy time with others when you take a little time to recharge. 

Schedule Some Fun For After the Holidays

5.  Schedule some fun for after the holidays.  The end of the holiday season can bring with it a sudden crash in mood and energy.  Think ahead by scheduling enjoyable activities for after the holidays wrap, giving you reason to anticipate joy all winter long.

Wishing you and yours hope, peace, and joy this holiday season!

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