As the holiday season fast approaches, students are anticipating extensive time at home with their families. Some are looking forward to quality time, while others are dreading it due to tense or broken relationships in their home life.
Frank Scott is an adjunct professor at Lipscomb University and the director of the Counseling Center on campus. Scott recognizes that for many, being with family is not always happy or healthy. The ups and downs of life can be accentuated when around those who know us best, and Scott encourages students to find solace in the things they like to do.
“There’s a lot of emphasis on self-care now,” said Scott. “Even if you don’t particularly want to go somewhere for the holidays, figure out what part of that you can enjoy and take care of yourself during that time. It doesn’t all have to be negative, carve out your own little piece of the world that will be happy for you and try to make it so.”
Self-care means something different for everyone, but Scott said one of the best self-care practices is exercise. While not a cure-all, physical activity provides an excellent escape from seasonal drama, and it will help burn off the Christmas cookies.
Another tip Scott gives for a healthy holiday season is the practice of mindfulness; focus on the present, not the past or future. Scott said there are even some great apps to download that will promote this. A positive mindset and intentional presence will shape the season. If this is difficult, Scott advocates a “fake it ‘till you make it,” attitude.
“Sometimes we have to act in a way we don’t necessarily feel but it helps us to survive,” said Scott.
Finally, Scott recommends an emphasis on the relationships that do make us feel good. Even though many students will be separate from the friends they have gotten so close to over the semester, technology today allows communication to continue.
“Stay in contact with the people you know really care about you,” said Scott. “Holidays are a good time to let people know what they mean to us.”
He also encourages hard conversations with the people whose love may not be as evident. There is no perfect solution to being with family, but honest communication will help tense relationships.
As 2018 comes to a close and we look forward to the new year, Scott advises students to not worry so much about the future. Instead, focus on all of the good in life, and take the time now to learn and enjoy people.
“Just let God take care of the big picture,” said Scott.
Located on the second floor of the Student Activity Center, the Lipscomb University Counseling Center is a free resource and safe space for students to discuss personal or psychological concerns. The professional counseling staff offers confidential services to help students through any number of problems or issues. The Counseling Center emphasizes that seeking help does not imply weakness, but rather strength and a personal commitment to becoming a stronger person.