This time of year, take time for yourself and your family. Unplug and recharge over the holidays to stay healthy, reduce stress and recharge to start the new year rejuvenated.
“The greatest gift we can give to ourselves and those we love is to be intentional about where and how we spend our precious energy. You are allowed to focus on the things that bring the most joy and support yours and others’ physical, mental and financial well-being rather than deplete it.”Krista Jarvis, LPC, clinical case manager, WashU Psychiatry
Check out the below tips to focus on finding joy, peace and reducing some of the stress or anxiety the holiday season can bring.
- Focus on your relationships. Talk to your friends and family and find new ways to connect. Share stories, prepare a meal or make holiday crafts together to feel less isolated or alone during the holiday season. You can also utilize Work-Life Solutions, WashU’s employee assistance program, for additional support.
- Practice gratitude. Take time to recognize and appreciate those around you. Write or verbally tell others thanks for how they bring you joy. WashU faculty and staff have access to Awardco, our digital recognition platform, to send WashU kudos to colleagues to recognize them for their contributions and support.
- Calm your mind. Take a break from listening to the news or scrolling through social media. Try reading a new book or doing a puzzle instead of watching TV. You can also consider engaging in a mindfulness practice, such as meditation. Check out WashU’s Move into Mindfulness program available to employees and their family members. Many apps are available to try at no cost.
- Move your body. It’s easy when deadlines loom or you’re preparing for time off to get stuck sitting for hours at work. Schedule time to go for a walk before work, during lunch or at the end of the day. You can also take the stairs instead of the elevator. Try to stand-up every 15 to 30 minutes if you can, too. Get started with tips from WashU’s 8ight Ways to Wellness.
- Create a sleep schedule. It’s important to aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Set strict boundaries, especially for children and young adults, and remove to turn off technology two hours before bedtime. Learn more with the 8ight Ways to Wellness.
- Disconnect from work. Create boundaries and set time for work and time for other activities. Schedule hobbies or activities that you enjoy to take focus away from checking emails outside of work hours. You can even add an out-of-office message or note to your signature with your normal work hours.
- Fuel yourself with food. Use your free time to create and try new healthy recipes that fill your body with healthy nutrients. When you eat better, you’ll feel better, too. As a WashU employee, schedule time with the MyWay to Health consultants to help you stay on track throughout the holidays.
- Learn to say no. The holidays come with obligations and expectations that you may not be comfortable with. The people in your life will understand if you can’t participate in every holiday commitment. Your mental and physical health are important, too, and you need time for yourself to recharge. If you need some tips to start saying no, visit PsychCentral.
- Help others. Schedule time to give back to your community. Often times, giving back can provide you with fulfillment and joy. It can also be a fun activity to do together as a family or with a group of friends. The Gephardt Institute offers ways you can get involved in the St. Louis community.
- Remember your loved ones. The holidays are a time for celebration and time with the special people you love, which can make it even more difficult when you’ve lost someone and dealing with grief. Find a way to remember and appreciate them, such as setting a place at the table with their picture, cooking their favorite holiday dish or donating to an organization in their honor.
- Celebrate your accomplishments from the past year and moments you were proud of yourself. Reflect on the previous 12 months. List habits or activities that you enjoyed or you would like to change for the next year. It’s a good time to make a plan for the coming year ahead.