BLOG: Take care of yourself this holiday season

Categories: Blog

11-23-16_thanksgiving-turkeyI think it is wonderful that last week, November 14-20, was designated Self-Care Week.

Why? With Thanksgiving kicking off the winter holiday season tomorrow, the timing is perfect. Regardless of how you plan to spend Thanksgiving weekend – whether going through the woods to grandmother’s house or hanging out at a lowkey “Friendsgiving” as my college daughter refers to it – remember to take time to care for your physical and mental health this holiday season.

I read a recent article from Screening for Mental Health, Inc. outlining some helpful tips for taking care of yourself this weekend. I want to share those with you, along with a few of my own hard-won recommendations.

“Put aside time for yourself.” It doesn’t matter if you’re in a room full of aunts and uncles or out to dinner with your significant other, remember to make time to rest and recharge. Pack your knitting kit or an adult coloring book. Go for a walk and enjoy the leaves.

“Allow yourself to indulge.” By all means, enjoy the pumpkin pie and stuffing, but remember that moderation is key to a balanced diet. Eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep will go a long way to reduce holiday (and family) stress.

“Put down your phone!” Use this weekend as an opportunity to decrease your screen time. What if conversation with family starts to lag? Remember there’s the parade, the dog show and football; use screen time as a mutual activity for friends and family.

“Do not talk politics at the dinner table.” This should go without saying, but in light of the recent election, be considerate of others’ opinions and beliefs that may be different than yours. Focus on commonalities. Give thanks for the freedoms our country enjoys.

If this weekend you find yourself feeling sad or empty, constantly worried or anxious, concerned about drinking habits or substance use or experiencing mood swings from very high to very low, take a short screening and learn more about local resources. Click the below button to take a confidential, mental health screening in English or in Spanish.


Lastly, from all of us at Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

About John R. Aller

John R. Aller serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery (StarkMHAR). He guides the administrative, clerical, fiscal and Heartland East Administrative Service Center (HEASC) of the organization. StarkMHAR, under his leadership, has been reorganized for delivery of a wide range of cutting-edge services to Stark County residents as well as its partner organizations. John has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, masters in community counseling and is currently enrolled at Kent State University in their Public Health PHD program with a concentration in Health Policy and Management. He is an active member in various state and local boards and committees and is a federal behavioral health reviewer. John is currently the chair of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Managed Care Committee. John has been involved with building an array of organizational, clerical and workforce improvement initiatives. He, along with other ADAMH Board Directors in the region, have grown and expanded the Administrative Service Center department of StarkMHAR to be recognized as a leader of IT, Electronic Health Records (EHR) and technical support within the region and state. John resides in Green, Ohio with his wife, Loretta, and children, Kelsey and Sean.