Holiday Season and the Importance of Self Care.

As we embark on this 2020 holiday season, we must first acknowledge how different this season is from previous seasons due to the stressors of the 2020 election, COVID-19 pandemic and our country’s racial reckoning. With all these added stressors we need to make sure to care for ourselves to prevent burnout and cracks in our mental health.

Self care often seems out of reach for BIPOC people and allies as we continue to deal with the daily stressors of fighting, teaching and engaging in social justice for our communities and the communities we love. But sometimes self-care is as simple as saying “no”. Although our society says that this is a time for giving, sharing, and over-extending ourselves in an attempt to show love; this could be the down fall for many who no longer have the emotional reserves from such a stressful year.

Here are a few steps:

Assess burn out. Burn out occurs when people who are usually passionate, and committed become disillusioned. When we think burn out we typically think work, but burn out can impact multiple areas of our life including home. So take a moment to assess.

Assess your boundaries. Boundaries are standards that we set for ourselves that help keep us safe and more importantly help us care for ourselves. Often times during holidays we over-extend ourselves and let go of our boundaries which may initially seem like a thoughtful thing to do but can ultimately leave you worse off. Here are a few types of boundaries:

  1. Physical boundaries
  2. Emotional boundaries
  3. Material boundaries
  4. Time boundaries
  5. Intellectual boundaries
  6. Sexual boundaries
  7. Spiritual boundaries

Assess your budget. Maintaining a budget is a major part of self-care. When we think of how we can become unraveled with the lack of physical, mental, emotional self-care one should expect the same outcome when we do not practice financial self-care. During the holidays, gift giving not only feels good but it also reinforces and occasionally strengthens relationships. However, falling into debt can leave one with a holiday hangover that may be hard to recuperate from.

Although this is just a small list of ways that you can keep self-care front and center this holiday season there are many other forms of self-care that you can say yes to including exercise, quality time with friends and family, reading, listening to music and checking in with a licensed mental health counselor for support.

Wishing you the best and safest of holiday seasons!

About Stephanie Williams, PhD

Stephanie Williams, PhD, is the founder and clinical director of Integrated Psychological Assessment Services which is licensed in the state of California. IPAS staff are an group of inclusive therapists that focuses on the connection between what we think, feel and do, and how changes can improve one’s life. IPAS believes in empowering people to help them grow, change, or just deal with the daily demands of life. Call IPAS today to see how the right therapist can help you : 408-359-6700.

Parenting during COVID-19: The use of grounding techniques to calm your children (or yourself)

It is not an exaggeration to say that every aspect of our lives is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Faced with these challenges, maintaining  positive coping skills during this stressful time can be invaluable. Research has shown that practicing meditation and mindfulness may help us take on these challenges by significantly reducing symptoms of distress and anxiety based disorders like obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

The study by Williams et. al  (2019) examined the effects of “a meditation, mindfulness, and mantra intervention on youth” who were detained. The all male participants ages between 16 to 18, engaged in a four-week mindfulness intervention. The youth attended the facilitator-led intervention for one hour per week, and were asked to practice the mindfulness techniques for ten minutes per day.

Assessments taken before, during, and after the intervention show that it was undisputedly beneficial. Participants showed statistically significant reductions in mental illness severity, distress over mental illness symptoms, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, paranoia, and psychoticism.

What does this mean for our mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic? It means that daily practice of meditation, even just ten minutes per day, may significantly improve our ability to cope with and respond to our current challenges. By creating inner strengths such as calmness within ourselves, may allow us to be able to handle even the most challenging situations.

Questions? Please post them in the “Comments” section below.

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References: Williams, S.N., Parkins, M.M., Benedict, B., & Waelde, L.C. (2020). A Pilot Study of a Meditation Program with Detained Juveniles: An Adaptation of Inner Resources for Teens (IRT). Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice, 2 (1), 1-14.

About Stephanie Williams, PhD

Stephanie Williams, PhD, is the founder of Integrated Psychological Assessment Services. Her practice focuses on the connection between what we think, feel and do, and how changes can improve one’s life. Dr. Williams believes in empowering people to help them grow, change, or just deal with the daily demands of life.

Call Dr. Williams today for a free consultation: 408-317-0687.

In Challenging Situations, Use Inner Strengths

It is not an exaggeration to say that every aspect of our lives is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Faced with these challenges, maintaining  positive coping skills during this stressful time can be invaluable. Research has shown that practicing meditation and mindfulness may help us take on these challenges by significantly reducing symptoms of distress and anxiety based disorders like obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

The study by Williams et. al  (2019) examined the effects of “a meditation, mindfulness, and mantra intervention on youth” who were detained. The all male participants ages between 16 to 18, engaged in a four-week mindfulness intervention. The youth attended the facilitator-led intervention for one hour per week, and were asked to practice the mindfulness techniques for ten minutes per day.

Assessments taken before, during, and after the intervention show that it was undisputedly beneficial. Participants showed statistically significant reductions in mental illness severity, distress over mental illness symptoms, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, paranoia, and psychoticism.

What does this mean for our mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic? It means that daily practice of meditation, even just ten minutes per day, may significantly improve our ability to cope with and respond to our current challenges. By creating inner strengths such as calmness within ourselves, may allow us to be able to handle even the most challenging situations.

Questions? Please post them “Comments” section below.

——

References: Williams, S.N., Parkins, M.M., Benedict, B., & Waelde, L.C. (2020). A Pilot Study of a Meditation Program with Detained Juveniles: An Adaptation of Inner Resources for Teens (IRT). Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice, 2 (1), 1-14.

About Stephanie Williams, PhD

Stephanie Williams, PhD, is the founder of Integrated Psychological Assessment Services. Her practice focuses on the connection between what we think, feel and do, and how changes can improve one’s life. Dr. Williams believes in empowering people to help them grow, change, or just deal with the daily demands of life.

Call Dr. Williams today for a free consultation: 408-317-0687.