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Ways to Take Care of Yourself During the Holiday Season

Jeff Wax, Director, Baker Family Emotional Health and Wellness Center

Jeff Wax, LCSW-R

The holidays are certainly upon us with all of the stresses, strains, hopes and joys that the season brings. How we relate to holidays, the people and activities, is up to each of us and the choices we make.

Truth be told, we often have uneasy relationships to the holidays. The myths and realities of past experiences—because of difficult childhood memories, uncomfortable experiences related to communication, not being seen and heard for who we are—can be emotionally challenging. Of course for many, the past few years have been especially difficult dealing with illness, loss and change.

It is always important to take care of yourself, and here are some ideas that may be of help. Some may resonate for you, some not. See what feels right for you.

Remind Yourself of What You Value

When anticipating or finding yourself in challenging situations, in that moment, remind yourself of what you value. Mostly, we do not have the power to change people or situations, but we can encourage ourselves to respond emotionally in self-supportive means, for ourselves. Values remind us of what is good. Values are our guideposts, paving the way toward the manner we aspire to live and be. Thoughts like I cherish, or I am so grateful, I trust and feel safe, Now I am healthy, I respect myself to do what is good for me.

Take Control and Plan Ahead

Take control for yourself and plan ahead. Envision events and interactions and create how you plan to cope. Be realistic in setting positive boundaries. Allow yourself to say no, have realistic expectations and find time to allow compassion and humor to emerge, for yourself and others. Know that whenever we want, we have or can create choice.

Embrace Opportunities to Learn and Grow

It is also very important to keep practicing the emotionally healthy habits you have learned. Try adopting the idea that each circumstance supports learning and growing. Remember that each circumstance is an opportunity to remind and become grounded in the practice of being present for experience. Look for being in this moment. Look for being curious and present for whatever experience becomes offered. This is a step in creating that different and more supportive emotional response for our lives. This is the opportunity to make that energetic emotional shift where we may find greater appreciation and acceptance for ourselves, how we relate to the people and the world around us.

About the Author

Jeffrey Wax, LCSW-R, is the Director of the Baker Family Emotional Health and Wellness Center and has worked at CHC since 2002. Mr. Wax has provided counseling services to people who are deaf or hard of hearing for over 20 years and has worked with clients of all ages, gender, sexual orientation and hearing ability. He received his Master’s Degree in Social Work from Hunter College in 1994 and has been certified by the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

Contact Jeff Wax at or 917-305-7739.

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