Happy Holidays! The holiday season can be a joyful and happy time but can also come with a ton of stress and anxiety (even if you welcome and enjoy the holiday season). This time of year can also be a dark time for some especially for those who have lost someone. Managing our mental health is important regardless of the time of year, but it is also essential during the holidays. Being around family or not being around family, triggers surrounding food, not having enough food, and a packed holiday schedule can be stressful and sometimes harmful. The stress and pressure to have a picture perfect social media worthy holiday and if you have children ensuring they have great holiday memories can take a toll on your mental health. This time of year can also be stressful for the children in our lives with a change in their routine, being overscheduled, and potentially spending time with people they don’t typically see. The NSVRC/PCAR Libraries have many useful resources held within the collections to help get us through this time of the year and guide us into the brand-new year to come. From children through adulthood, the books below can help.
Bee Calm: The Buzz on Yoga was written for children aged 4 to 8 by Frank J. Sileo. It introduces the reader to Bentley the bee who loves flying around visiting his friends in the garden. One day, he notices all of them in what looks like strange poses. Bentley soon learns several beginning yoga poses including Mountain, Chair, Airplane, Cobra, and more. The book includes notes to parents and caregivers with suggestions and instructions for introducing kids to yoga. This book is a wonderful resource that will help even some of our youngest children decompress and navigate through their feelings of stress and anxiety.
Calm: Mindfulness for Kids is a wonderful resource for children ages 6 to 9 years old by Wynne Kinder. This book is an excellent tool for teaching children how to focus their thoughts and notice the world around them. With many meaningful mindfulness activities, kids learn about their thoughts and feelings and how to understand them. The book is packed with fun activities, including making a mindfulness jar, food appreciation for mindful eating, and ways to explore nature. The book also includes an illustrated journal section which encourages children to make note of their thoughts and feelings.
The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time is an excellent tool for youth 13 to 18 by Dzung X Vo. Written by a pediatrician specializing in teen and adolescent medicine, this resource offers a program to help teens deal with stress, improve communication, and reduce conflicts. The tips in this book can be used daily to help teens get through difficult situations more effectively. Anyone who is ready to uncover their inner strength and resilience through mindful awareness should check out this book.
The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse edited by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis is a guide that offers hope and a map of the healing journey to every woman who was sexually abused as a child and to those who are in their lives. The book weaves together personal experiences and professional knowledge. The authors provide clear explanations, practical suggestions, and support throughout the healing process. Readers will be encouraged by many moving first-person stories drawn from interviews and the authors’ work with survivors.
Homecoming: Overcome Fear and Trauma to Reclaim Your Whole, Authentic Self by Thema Bryant shows the reader how to reconnect with your authentic self and reclaim your life. Written by a sexual assault survivor, someone who has experienced racism, and an evacuee from civil war in Liberia, Bryant knows firsthand the work involved in healing. Those who read through this book discover that healing starts with recognizing and expressing emotions in an honest way and reconnecting with the neglected parts of one’s life. Dr. Thema offers therapeutic approaches and spiritual practices to live a life full of empowerment, healthier relationships, gratitude, and a deeper sense of purpose.
A Year of Self-Care: Daily Practices and Inspiration for Caring for Yourself by Zoe Shaw will lead the reader through 365 simple, thought-provoking exercises that were created to help a person stay committed to caring for themselves. The book gives small 15-minute motivational exercises that make it easy to stick to a routine no matter how hectic life gets. These exercises are research-based, and include writing down thoughts of gratitude as well as nourishing the heart and soul by creating a meaningful playlist of music. The book allows for personal growth by enhancing knowledge and providing tools to boost empowerment.
Being kind and compassionate to ourselves is always important. The holidays certainly add another layer to our everyday struggles. The books highlighted here are wonderful resources that can aid our minds as we continue to move throughout the season. Folks might also be interested in the tips highlighted within Psychology Today’s article Minding Your Mental Health This Holiday Season. Whatever this season brings, I wish you kindness and peace. As always, have a wonderful day and happy reading!