As we enter into the holiday season, it may feel like there are a million things to do, a million things pulling at our attention. With the days getting shorter and shorter, existing through the winter months can be especially challenging and rest can be hard to come by. But as we enter deeper into winter hibernating months, nature is letting us know that our bodies are in need of rest. As nature slows down and becomes still, we are allowed to do the same.
There can be a lot of expectations and pressure during the holidays to look, feel, or be a certain way. Try to release the pressure and allow yourself to just be who you are. Let go of self-criticism and guilt that may come from being less productive or having less energy during these winter months. Let the thinking, ruminating, problem-solving parts of yourself take a break. Allow yourself to rest. You are enough and there’s nothing you need to do.
Some practices that may help us tune into our natural states of rest are sleeping, breathing deeply, journaling, laughing, meditating, drawing, reading, lighting candles, drinking tea, moving mindfully and being in nature. Listen to your body as a sacred source of wisdom to understand what you might need in the moment, and engage in practices that are deeply restorative and replenishing for you. If resting feels like just another thing to do on a to-do list, remember there is nothing that you need to do or should do. I encourage you to engage from a place of care, joy and self-love.
During this season, allow yourself to feel joy, to feel loved, to feel rested - our natural states of being. It’s okay to slow down and tune into what your body, mind and spirit might need to replenish so that we can feel like our whole selves. We need rest and replenishment in order to be present and alive with our loved ones. Take care of yourself and give yourself the love, compassion and kindness that you deserve.
You’ve made it all the way to December. In the midst of all that might be going on this holiday season, try to give yourself rest as an act of self-love and self-care. You deserve it!
Debra Yan is currently a social work student in her final year at the Boston College School of Social Work. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Duke University. She has experience working with adolescents, children and survivors of domestic violence in education and non-profit settings.
Thank you for your interest in our Monday Mental Health Moments. Join our mailing list for a weekly newsletter on various mental health topics, and information about upcoming groups or workshops. No spam, we promise!