You don’t need me to tell you that during the holidays, we have a LOT going on. We always have something that needs to get done, we do more socializing, we’re spending tons of money, and we’re more likely to be indulging in unhealthy foods.
Christmas can be the happiest time of the year, but at the same time, it can be the most stressful.
When we have so little time and so much to do, we usually let our self-care practice go – at least temporarily. I mean, we just need to power through until things settle down and THEN we can worry about taking care of ourselves, right?
The problem is, when you aren’t taking care of yourself, you’ll just feel worse. You’ll get less done, you’ll feel more overwhelmed, you’ll be more grumpy, and things will probably get messy.
So here are some ways to make sure you’re practicing self-care during the holidays!
1.) Pamper yourself. We need a little extra love and relaxation during the holidays. So it’s a good idea to plan ahead and make time for some pampering. Get a mani/pedi, take a bubble bath, light some candles, or do something else that will make you feel good.
2.) Say “no” when you need to. So many of us have difficulty saying “no” to people because we don’t want to disappoint anyone. We don’t like conflict. But if you have too much on your plate or don’t want to do something/go somewhere that will cause you unnecessary stress or anxiety, saying no is okay.
3.) Pause and be grateful. I’ve talked many times before about how amazing gratitude is. And the holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and gratitude, so it’s especially important. It’s a good time to try not to get swept up into the commercialism of the season and remember the blessings that you already have around you.
4.) Give back to the world. Christmas is also a time of giving. Almost nothing can make you feel as good as doing something kind for somebody. Now is the perfect time to donate your time or money to help those who need it. Doing something like volunteering at a local soup kitchen or donating toys to those less fortunate can give you a new perspective on your problems and spread some joy to others at the same time.
5.) Just breathe. Our breathing is super important when it comes to stress and anxiety. So make sure you’re breathing properly. Take deep, calming breaths throughout the day – especially if you’re getting worked up or overwhelmed about something. This can do a lot to clear your mind and relax your body.
6.) Get enough sleep. Stress, anxiety, and depression can make it tough to sleep – and not getting enough sleep can worsen those problems. So make sure that you’re making sleep a priority. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule and take a nap if you feel like your body needs it. Problems and to-do lists can wait; your mental health is more important.
7.) Keep realistic expectations. We all have unrealistic expectations sometimes, especially around Christmas. We all want the “magical” and “perfect” holiday. On top of that, some people are struggling with personal problems – the loss of a loved one, financial difficulties, and other struggles. This can cause so much pain. So make sure that you’re having realistic expectations of Christmas. Celebrate the moment. Be present. Focus on the reason for the season instead of the “perfect” holiday.
8.) Laugh as much as you can. I truly believe that laughter is the greatest medicine. When we’re overwhelmed or feeling like a complete mess, laughing can help ease the biggest burden. So watch a funny holiday movie, be silly, spend time with someone who makes you laugh, and try to have some fun.
9.) Get creative. Make something with your hands. Write a poem, make a last minute gift, make Christmas cards, or do something else to express yourself. Enjoy the process and let out some of your stress. You’ll feel so much better, I promise.
10.) Remember the basics. Don’t forget the basics: exercise, water, and healthy eating. Try to do the best you can to keep up with your healthy habits. Find small ways to move throughout the day, try not to over-indulge in the unhealthy treats, and make sure you’re drinking enough water. Don’t restrict yourself during the holiday parties, but don’t overdo it either.
11.) Ask for help if you need it. Sometimes I have trouble asking for help, because I feel like I should be able to “do it all.” But that’s not a healthy mentality to have all the time, especially around the holidays. If you’re struggling with something or you need help, then ask for help. Nobody can wear all the hats, all the time. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
How do you practice self-care during the holidays?