Updated: Mar 4
As the holiday season approaches, many of us are feeling the pressure of family approval. During this time, it is important to remember to practice self-care to have a gentle holiday. Self-care is the practice of taking time for yourself to rest and relax and to care for your physical and mental health. With this in mind, this blog post will discuss how to practice self-care amid family approval during the holiday season.
The holidays can be a stressful time for many people
Most people's favorite holiday memories are when they were a kid, so as adults, we get all wrapped up in stressful things. For many of my clients and myself, these carefully composed, sanitized, idealistic Instagram posts, ads, and movies are often painful reminders of what we lack, which in turn can trigger feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression.
It can be tough during the holidays when it comes to pleasing your family members, some of whom will often disagree with what they want and what you will want. A crucial element of holiday self-care is paying attention to familial validation.
Embrace compassion and mindful awareness. Remember that in these hectic holidays, it is important not to stretch yourself too thin. If you have any intention of being honest with yourself, it's just as important to practice self-care and keep boundaries with your family. Ask yourself what you need and take care of yourself. Listen to your gut feelings and place your needs above anything else.
It's important to practice self-care during the holiday season
Your self-care needs are likely to be different from others and could change over time. For some, this may include taking a break from certain people or activities. For others, it could consist of taking some extra time for yourself and engaging in activities that bring you joy. The holidays can be a stressful time for many people, so it’s essential to recognize what your individual needs are and work to prioritize them during this time.
One way to practice self-care is to set boundaries with your family
Setting boundaries can be difficult, especially during a holiday season that is meant to be a time for family and togetherness. To practice self-care, it is important to remember that setting boundaries are not selfish or disrespectful; it is simply a way to ensure your emotional well-being.
For example, it's easy to politely turn down physical gestures that make you feel uncomfortable, like hugs or kisses, or to turn down certain conversations at the dinner table. Additionally, remember that you're not responsible for how others may react when you draw these lines, as it may not always be as easy for them to say no. You have responsibility only for your delivery.
Be honest with yourself about what you need and then take action to get it. Don’t be afraid to take some time for yourself, even if that means taking a break from family obligations or activities. Doing things like getting enough rest, eating healthy, exercising, and spending quality time alone can all help to keep you feeling your best and give you the strength to tackle whatever comes your way. Whether it's reading a book, listening to music, or taking a walk, give yourself permission to take a break and focus on your own needs.
Give to yourself as you would others. Spend time meditating, practicing yoga, writing down your thoughts and dreams, journaling, and finding ways to get out of your head. Treat yourself like you are important because you are! If some people or activities fill up your cup, make sure that your time allows for them too. Make sure that the family dynamic is not taking away from your mental health and well-being. Remember, no matter what the season is, it's okay if you need a break or space from your family members. You are allowed to say no without guilt or shame.
Finally, it's important to be gentle with yourself during the holiday season
It's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to family approval during the holidays. Everyone’s family is unique and what works for one family may not work for another.
That being said, it's important to ensure that you set clear boundaries with your family and take care of yourself during the holidays. It's okay to say no if something feels too overwhelming, and it's okay to ask for help when you need it.
Remember to be gentle with yourself during the holiday season. You don't have to be perfect and there is no one way to make your family happy. Do your best, but don't beat yourself up if it doesn't go as planned. As long as you're doing your best and treating yourself with kindness and respect, that's all that matters.