candle-432813_1280While marketing began weeks ago, the holidays are closing in (really). It is a special time of year, yet one that can bring a good bit of stress, too. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you support clients between now and New Year’s:

This time of year includes extra events, activities and demands on your time and energy. Pause before saying yes to commitments and evaluate your overall schedule and obligations. Be realistic about what you can do. Not overcommitting will help reduce stress and mean less to juggle.

Create back-up plans for events and responsibilities. Having more on your plate means needing a wider safety net than usual, whether that’s extra child care support, backup doula arrangements or even a plan B for getting those cupcakes to your child’s school event. Ask for help where you need it. Everyone needs a hand now and then, and doulas are no exception!

Increase your communication with doula partners or back-up. This can be incredibly helpful in alleviating stress and providing support to one another. Coordinate client check-ins or follow-ups and adjust on-call schedules, if needed.

Make time for self-care. Give yourself what you need to manage your own stress and wellbeing, whether its downtime, connection with others, exercise or quiet. Support your own health and remember that this is the beginning of cold and flu season. Eat well, sleep, stay hydrated and be mindful of sugar and alcohol consumption.

This is a busier and more demanding time of year for our clients, as well. They may be pushing themselves too hard or may be too distracted with activities, shopping, cooking, visitors and travel to pay attention to how they are feeling. Self care declines for clients also during November and December. Be sure to check in and encourage rest, hydration and healthy eating.

Be compassionate with yourself and others. We’re all busier and more distracted this time of year. This is a season of giving and gratitude, so don’t forget to extend that to yourself! We’d love to hear your tips for supporting clients during the busy holiday season. Share in the comments. Enjoy the season!

— Adrianne Gordon, MBA, CD(DONA)