The holidays are overwhelming for many reasons. For one thing, we may believe that during these next few months we must forgo our independence, freedom and self-growth and transform back into vulnerable little kids. Of course, a mere party or get together couldn’t undo the years of therapy you invested in. But being in the presence of those who think otherwise can give you temporary amnesia. You may find yourself, for example, doing what your parents want you to do or being uncomfortably accommodating. Worst yet, you can’t stop yourself.

It happens to me every year when visiting relatives. My husband asks, “What happened to my wife and who is this little girl you replaced her with?”

Thankfully, I’ve learned that while it’s tempting to fall back into familiar ways, I always have a choice to take care of myself. This means doing a self check-in, setting boundaries where I see fit, and saying, “No” when I’ve reached my limit. It’s an important tool to learn not just during the holidays, but every day of the year.

And it’s also applicable whether you’re preparing for Thanksgiving next week, learning to be a better parent or making a decision to seek the help you need. It’s all about being aware of the choices you do have and realizing that no matter what situation you are in currently, you do have a choice. You can let others/fear dictate your life or you can finally choose to take care of yourself.

STOP: Creating a Mindful Pause
(Mindful Parenting) – No one wants to be that grumpy parent snapping at their kids all the time. But how else do you deal with the stress and challenges of parenting? This post offers an alternative solution that will help you regulate emotions, change behavior and make better choices.

Depression after Superstorm Sandy
(Depression On My Mind) – Natural disasters wreak havoc on homes, buildings and the community. But it can also tear apart our sense of safety. For many, it can lead to depression. This is a reminder that we all need help when pushed past our limits and that there is no shame in seeking it.

Completing My Education while Managing Mental Illness
(Be the Change) – This blogger courageously shares her personal experience and struggle with managing mental illness and a college education. If you’re in the same boat or have been in the past, you’ll find her post and vlog real, honest, and very inspiring.

5 Ironies that Keep Addicts Sick Over the Holidays
(Addiction Recovery) – The holidays should be the season of joy, love and peace. But that’s not always the case. Take this post, for example. It’s all the things you may be buying into that could end up hurting you this season.

Mental Health Professionals Should Use Social Media! #NHBPM
(Mental Health Humor) – You can’t do much these days without talking about or partaking in social media. Here, Chato shares in his humorous post, a seldom talked about benefit of social media for mental health professionals.