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If you’re anything like me, you can begin to feel slightly more overloaded during the holidays emotionally and physically. 

It’s like being stuck in a massive time warp + college finals + feeling like you’re constantly forgetting something and next time you look at the calendar (and have recovered from the shockingly fast passage of time), you might be left feeling anxious and overwhelmed.  As if that’s not enough, throw in a pandemic, and well…need I say more?

These days (thanks, 2020!) we have all become fairly well-practiced in pursuing a simpler, more flexible lifestyle.  Your mental health practice and daily care should be the same.  Instead of piling on the usual holiday stressors, I’d like to offer a different approach to this chaotic and frenetic time of the year.

Here are five tips that might help dilute the December rush:

  1. Before you get up and out of bed, make sure to breathe deeply and even stretch.  This will help to calibrate your mind and body for the day ahead.  It sounds simple, but it can have a big impact on how you respond and react to mental stress throughout your day.
  2. Stay grounded.  When you find yourself in a moment of panic or anxiety, try to find something (or someone) who can bring you back down to earth.  Walk around barefoot, take time to call a friend, make yourself a warming cup of tea.  Changing scenery for a bit (or your actions in the moment) can help you re-center and process whatever it is that’s bothering you.
  3. Remind yourself that this year is different and you have every right to approach it differently!  Don’t try to make this holiday season the same as every season before 2020.  Make some handmade gifts, give to charity a little more than you have in the past, and work toward a mantra that helps you remember that it’s ok to let go a little bit for the sake of your own mental health.
  4. Try something new.  Even before those silly NYE resolutions, choose a new hobby or project that you can return to in peace when you feel like you’ve had enough stress for one day (or one hour).  Because of the pandemic, there are so many of us who have decided to learn new skills (sourdough, anyone?).  Ease into something new not for the sake of the challenge, but for the love of the peace and calm it brings you.  I vote for knitting!
  5. Take a moment.  Look around you and put eyes (and ears) on what makes you happy and settled.  Examples of this could be your kids, your pets, your new favorite mug, a vase of fresh flowers during a dismal winter, the seed packets you plan on sowing in the spring, even your favorite mountain view.  Remember that taking time for yourself outweighs any deadline!  Even if just for a few minutes, allowing yourself to get centered mentally is a top priority and one that doesn’t take much bandwidth.


Don’t forget that VFT is here to help!  If you ever need counseling, we are here for you and would welcome the opportunity to get you feeling your best mentally.