Taking Care of You: MFP’s Holiday Survival Guide

mittens coffeeNo matter which of the many winter holidays you do (or do not) celebrate, chances are that you’ll spend some amount of time traveling, celebrating, or visiting with friends and family. While this can be a joyful time of year, it can also be a difficult, stressful, or just plain hectic season for many.

Our expertise is in sexual and reproductive health, but the overall health and well-being of Mainers is ultimately our highest priority. There are lots of ways to take care of yourself and your loved ones during the holidays—here are just a few tips from us.

If you are traveling and forgot to pack your birth control:

If you’re traveling (almost) anywhere in Maine and need to refill your birth control, pick up emergency contraception, or stock up on condoms, we can help. With 18 clinics across the state (plus our partners at Planned Parenthood), there’s likely a Family Planning center near you. Most clinics offer same-day and next-day appointments, and you don’t have to be a current patient to use our services. Let there be peace on Earth AND peace of mind this season!

If you are LGBTQ and not out to (or supported by) your family:

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The holidays can be a stressful time for LGBTQ people whose families either don’t know about or don’t respect their identities. Take care of yourself by staying in touch with friends or other supportive people who respect your identity. Remember that it’s okay to take time and space for yourself–escaping to a quiet room or going for a walk can be good ways to remove yourself from stressful situations. You may also want to practice answering questions from family and friends–“I don’t really want to talk about that right now—is there any more pie?” is a perfectly acceptable answer!  If you’re a parent or caring adult in an LGBTQ person’s life, check out The Parents Project for information and resources.

If you feel alone and need someone to talk to: 

There’s no way around it—winter in general and the holidays specifically can be tough. Fortunately, no one has to go it alone. We always encourage people to reach out to someone they trust—a friend, partner, family member, counselor, or other support—and we hope you’ll ask for help if you need it. Of course, there are times when others aren’t around or when it would feel better to talk to someone you don’t know. No matter what you’re going through, there’s likely a hotline on this list that can be helpful.

If you or someone you know doesn’t have what they need this season:

Not having the food, heating fuel, healthcare, safe shelter, or other resources you need is devastating all year. If you or others you care about are in need this season, search 211 Maine (or call 2-1-1, toll free) for information on resources in your area. Have everything you need and want to give, instead? Consider volunteering in your community, reaching out to friends and neighbors, or donating to Maine Family Planning.

If you just can’t bring yourself to go shopping:

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Okay, so this one’s not a matter of survival—but if you are avoiding the crowds and doing your shopping (and shipping) online using Amazon, please consider using this link to shop. It doesn’t cost you a single extra cent, but a portion of your purchase will benefit Maine Family Planning. What an easy gift to send to the thousands of patients we serve every year!

What are your tips for taking care of yourself and others during the holidays? Please share in the comments section!

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