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‘Start on the inside:’ Nurture your resilience this holiday season

During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in seemingly never-ending to-do lists.

Before you dive head-first into the decorating, shopping, baking, wrapping and entertaining, Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC) Director Susan Damico, M.A., suggests you take time to focus on your social and emotional health and well-being.

“Nurturing our resilience can help us better cope with stressful situations, not only during the holidays, but all year long,” said Damico. “By starting on the inside, and building upon our strengths, we can establish a solid foundation for personal growth and happiness.”

Coping with holiday stress

Damico says there are “small and ordinary things” each of us can do this time of year to help us feel more connected to ourselves and those around us, and better equipped to cope with life’s challenges.

Nurture a relationship:

  • Reach out: Connect with someone in your life who you may not talk to as often as you’d like. “Call them or meet in person,” Damico recommended. “The holiday season is one of the best times to reunite with family and friends.”
  • Get personal: Instead of sending a standard holiday card with a generic message, write a short, personalized note to your loved ones. “Let them know how much they mean to you,” Damico suggested. “Tell them how grateful you are to have them in your life.”

Grow a sense of initiative:

  • Just say “no:” Don’t hesitate to say “no” to certain things. “There is so much we want – or feel – we need to do during the holiday season, but there are only 24 hours in a day,” Damico noted. “Remember, you don’t have to do everything or be everywhere.”
  • Plan ahead: Make a New Year’s resolution to start a new hobby. “Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, but for whatever reason, you haven’t yet? Go for it,” Damico encouraged. “You might discover that your new hobby brings you great joy.”

Enhance emotional coping skills:

  • Rest up: Without enough rest, you may have a hard time dealing with stress. Damico said, “If you’re taking time off from work during the holidays, make sure your plans include some rest and relaxation.”
  • Belt it out: Express your emotions by listening to, and singing along, with music. “The holiday season comes with many different styles of music,” Damico noted. “Pick your favorite songs and sing – or dance – your heart out!”

Celebrate beliefs/values:

  • Revisit old photos: Look through old photos and videos. Chances are, you will see people and things that make you happy. “Reflect on those memories,” Damico recommended. “Then think about what you can do to bring more memorable moments into your daily life.”
  • Make a list: List your accomplishments from the past year. “The accomplishments can be big or small,” Damico explained. “Take time to celebrate yourself and all of your achievements.”

Additional DCRC resource

To further improve your social and emotional health and well-being, take the DCRC’s Devereux Adult Resilience Survey (DARS). The DARS is a free resource that is designed to help adults gain insights into the four key areas mentioned above: 1) relationships; 2) initiative; 3) self-control (coping skills); and 4) internal beliefs.

Learn more about the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.

  

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