With the holiday season underway, my to-do list is about to become unmanageable. I can’t afford to slack off with my work, and I don’t want to miss all the wonderful things about the season. In order to stay healthy and productive, I have to take charge of my mental health in a very active way. Every year around this time, I make a list (because lists are a thing for me) of go-to reminders that help me mind my mental health. Maybe these will be helpful to you too?
Recognize and honor your natural rhythm.
There are times when we need to power through, like during a good workout when we know we can go for a few more reps or dig for that last burst of speed. Sometimes, though, we deserve a kinder approach, or a softer motivation. Sometimes, self-care needs to be our priority. If we recognize our own rhythms and work with them, we may find equilibrium more quickly, and the dark days may not seem quite as long. I wrote a whole article about working effectively with our natural rhythms last week. You can check out that post here: Work With Your Writing Rhythm.
Not everything is urgent. Some things really can wait. Edit the to-do list. The non-essentials will be there when the hectic holiday season is over or you’re feeling more energized.
Do a manageable amount every day.
I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that I may have an OCD-level organizational system. But, when I take the time to use my calendar and plan ahead, I feel in control of my time. I’m proactive instead of reactive. This time of year, it’s especially important. It’s also important that I’m realistic. I simplify first, and then try to tackle a little something every day.
Remember you aren’t alone.
Writing is a solitary endeavor, but we aren’t really alone. Reach out to fellow creative types. Get together at the coffee shop, or meet up for a glass of wine.
Ask for help.
This is probably a hard one for most of us, but other people can contribute. I host most holidays, but the guests bring nearly all the food. My husband and I make our shopping list together and then divide it up. The kids all pitch in to catch up on laundry, get the guest rooms ready, etc.
As the saying goes, there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing. A brisk walk can be just the thing to lift our spirits or give us a refreshing burst of energy. A few moments in nature to clear our heads can hit the reset button.
Whether the darker days of the coming winter have you down, or the busy holiday season stresses you out, making self-care a priority will help. We have things to do, deadlines to meet, parties to plan, and we don’t want to miss out on all the good things the season has to offer, so remember to mind your mental health!