by Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D
When we think of the holidays, we generally think of happy times. At least that is the image that is projected in the media. But for many of us, navigating the holiday season is anything but pleasant. If you are one of those people, you may not even know what is troubling you. I have made a decision to make my holidays as joyful as possible. And I know it is up to me to do that. No one else can do it for me.
My trick is this: Like many of you, I have a Wellness Toolbox that has over 100 Wellness Tools. At this time of year, I review that list. Then I develop from that list, a short list of quick and easy things I can do to lift my mood in this season. My list has only 12 tools. And I have it posted on my refrigerator door. You can post yours wherever it is most convenient for you. I refer to that list for ideas whenever I need a quick holiday pick-me-up.
Following is my list. What will be on your list?
1. Have a glass of carbonated water with a little fruit juice added (my personal soda)
2. Treat myself to a piece of dark chocolate (once a day only)
3. 15 minutes or more of yummy yoga stretches that make me feel good
4. Call my friend Jeanne who always makes me laugh
5. Call Patti who always makes me feel good about myself
6. Listen to my favorite holiday songs
7. Play holiday tunes on the piano
8. Make something good to eat and share it with a family member
9. Spend 10 minutes looking at pictures of people I love on my computer
10. Send a letter, card or e-mail to someone I am thinking of
11. Call an old friend who will be surprised to hear from me
12. Clean up an area of clutter in my house
13. Wear something festive that makes me feel good
14. Offer to babysit for a grandchild.
Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, developed Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) with a group of people with lived experience who were attending a mental health recovery workshop in 1997. She is the original author of the WRAP Red Book, as well as dozens of other WRAP books and materials. She has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to learning from people who have mental health issues; discovering the simple, safe, non-invasive ways they get well, stay well, and move forward in their lives; and then sharing what she has learned with others through keynote addresses, trainings, and the development of books, curriculums, and other resources. Now that she is retired, and that, as she intended, others are continuing to share what she has learned, she continues to learn from those who have mental health issues and those who support them. She is a frequent contributor to this site.