Self Care During Winter

It is unfortunately that time of year again when it is cold outside and that stuff called snow falls.  For those that love this time of year, make sure you are safe about it.  But for those of us that don’t enjoy this time of year, make sure you take an extra few minutes to focus on self-care.  I can’t seem to say enough about self-care, especially with the holidays just around the corner and the cold weather and temperatures.  The holidays themselves are a hectic time of year for all of us, whether we are getting together with loved ones, going shopping, trying to stay warm, trying to get the motivation to stay productive, and the list goes on.

If we have experienced any loss throughout the year, this time of year makes it feel like the loss comes back more intensely.  Thinking about the past holidays we spent with the loved one, the things they have missed since they have passed the many traditions that will seem different now with their loss and so on.  Everyone grieves at their own pace, so don’t let anyone tell you “you should be over it by now.”  Also keep in mind the first year of grief is the hardest part and as time goes by, it will get easier.

Financial stressors can also be related to this time of year, where we feel obligated to buy everyone a certain amount of presents or presents with the same monetary value.  Certain families draw names out of a hat so one person is only buying a gift for one individual instead of everyone buying for everyone.   There is no harm in telling family you just cannot do that this year.  There is no point in stressing yourself out financially buying gifts for others when that is at the cost of being able to pay your bills or having food in the home.  The Holidays were meant to be a giving time of year and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with gifts, it can also be giving of emotion and time.  Spend time with your loved ones, that will go the extra mile than the gift or gifts you buy them.

For others, it will be stressful because it is colder, not as much sun, lots of snow, stuck in the house because of the temperature/weather; and we fall into a seasonal depression during this time. The above mentioned does not help the seasonal depression any, rather makes it worse.  If you know that you experience seasonal depression, take a few minutes to make a list of things you can do to help you feel better.

Self-care is always important.  Some people say I cannot focus on myself because I have to be there for my family.  I understand that completely, but self-care does not equate to selfishness.  Self-care means you take the time for yourself a few minutes a day or once a week, to do something that makes you feel better.  I always use the example of a water pitcher in my sessions, where we are the pitcher and when we take care of others and their needs we are pouring from the pitcher, but what happens when the pitcher becomes empty?  Instead of taking a few minutes to fill up the pitcher for ourselves, we tend to keep pouring, waiting for that last drop or two to come out.  If you have something in your pitcher then that will allow you to give to others, but if you don’t it will make it much more difficult to take care of the loved ones around you.  If you are not okay emotionally, physically, and mentally, then how are you going to be there to take care of your loved ones?

This holiday season and winter of 2014-2015, take a few minutes to be nice to yourself.  If you are struggling with any of the above problems or need help getting through your trying moments, please call a HealthNet location near you to make an appointment with a Behavioral Health Therapist.

Post by Bhumi Bhavsar

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