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Holiday Season

B. Stratton, LCSW
Brain Injury Services Counseling Program

The holiday season, for some, is viewed more as a stressful versus joyous time of year. If you find yourself to be one of those individuals, below are a couple of tips to help you enjoy this holiday season instead.

Tip number one: Be mindful to show yourself some GRACE this holiday. GRACE is an acronym that stands for Gratitude, Rest/Relaxation, Affirm Boundaries, (self) Compassion, and Exercise.

G stands for Gratitude. There are so many benefits to developing a daily practice of gratitude. Gratitude allows for celebrating the present moment, helps block toxic emotions, improves self-worth and one’s connection to community, and provides perspective.

R stands for Rest/Relaxation. It’s important to slow down and allow yourself to rest. Sleep is essential and helps our bodies maintain balance, as is relaxing and engaging in leisure activities. Make sure to take time to do things that bring you joy. Take time to read the book you’ve been putting off, crochet the hat you saw on Pinterest, or call a friend.  

A stands for Affirm boundaries. It is okay to say “no.” Be mindful of your commitments this holiday season, review what’s on your plate, and do not be afraid to remove the things that do not add value or bring you joy. Remember, you don’t need a major obligation to say “no” to others – your self-care is reason enough. Remind yourself that your needs are as important as anyone else’s.

C stands for (self) Compassion. Be kind to yourself. You deserve the same respect, love, and friendship you extend to others. Take time out to be a friend to YOU. You can be a friend to yourself by – being fair with yourself (with words and actions), accepting yourself (know you are enough, just as you are), and taking care of yourself (self-care, self-care, self-care).

E stands for Exercise. Exercise looks different for every individual. Another way to view exercise is as engagement in meaningful movement. Move your body in a way that feels good to you, and do so with intention and purpose. There are so many great health benefits to mindful movement as it helps develop an exercise practice and deepens your awareness and appreciation for your body and its abilities.

Tip number two: practicing all or a combination of daily activities will help you develop a self-care practice. Self-care is defined as things that help maintain good health and improve well-being. Self-care is NOT selfish; it is kind and considerate, and you are worth it!  

This holiday season, extend yourself GRACE and give yourself the gift of a much needed and well-deserved self-care practice. Happy holidays! 


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