A guide to holiday self-care


Self-care is a significant element to life. It is currently a term thrown around a lot in the workplace setting. One may say it is the new buzz term for the past few years.

But what is self-care really? Also, how does one exercise self-care during the holiday season?

I define self-care as the process one takes in pursuing a level of health mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. This means a way of conducting oneself to produce the best possible outcomes.

There are a lot of pressures and expectations that are socially forced on each and every one of us during this holiday time. These expectations and pressures cause stress, and this is toxic to our functions individually, on a family level, and on a community level.

The holiday season is a time for families to come together and embrace one another. However, if we were honest about how many of us have spent the holiday season in the past, there are many examples of anger, frustration, confusion, and non-constructive behaviors.

This is one of the silent killers in the Black community. As quiet as it is kept, this is the highest season of depression for Black people. One may well ask, “Why is this?”

The short answer is that Black people have been conditioned to have conflict with one another, regardless of the time of year. All Black people carry this poison. This is a difficult dose of reality to swallow. However, for your self-care and my own, we must face it. The long answer will have to be a future article.

In terms of wellness, if one of us is not well, then we are all not well. Which means we must conduct ourselves in a way to get better. We often hear we need healing. However, two questions come to mind when I hear this: 1) what do we mean by healing? And 2) are we, as individuals, willing to do what it takes to heal?

Healing is a painful sport. It is a long-enduring process that requires us to not lie to ourselves. It requires that we face the realities of what is, not what we have been conditioned to believe. This is self-care.

I define healing as a consistent process of efforts to create peace, balance and justice. As Black persons, if we wish to have self-care we must engage in healing. Socially, politically, mentally and spiritually we must move in a direction of healing. This means discovering a place for balance. When we have balance within ourselves, we are approaching a place for wellness.

Here are a few basic suggestions for your own self-care during the holiday season. I call these the ABCs of life.

A) Awareness: Be aware of what and who is activating you. Do not ignore your emotions.

B) Balance and Boundaries: Seek to have compassion and accountability in the things you occupy yourself with.

C) Consistent Constructive Choices: Do things that will have the best possible outcome for you and do not cause mistreatment or harm to anyone else or yourself, and stick to it.

Do not let the holidays become something you dread. That is not what this season is supposed to be. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can appear during the holidays.

With a little planning, some constructive thinking, and being able to stop doing many of the things you do on a daily basis, you may find that you enjoy the holidays this year more than you thought you could. Make the holidays work for you. Do not work for the holidays!

So, do not just have happy holidays this year — have healthy holidays.

Healthy Holidays Everyone!


Brandon Jones M.A. is a mental health practitioner. He welcomes reader responses to openeyesopenmind@ymail.com or follow him on twitter@UniversalJones.