Self Care for the Holidays

It’s the most “wonderful time of the year,” and yet even amidst all the twinkle lights, laughter, and connecting with loved ones, we can succumb to the stress of the holidays. Overcrowded shopping malls and long airport lines can have us feeling harried. Amidst all the craziness, take some time out for self-care to stay happy and healthy:

Here are ten tips to take care of yourself this holiday season:

  1. Start the day off right with meditation: Taking time to breathe and relax is important, but if you wait until later in the day, it may never happen. Try out a phone app like Calm or 10% Happier with some guided meditations that start the minute you wake up. 5 minutes is all you need.
  2. Stop trying to make everything “perfect:” Therapist Ricks Warren suggests to let yourself off the hook in trying to be perfect and let go of meeting other people’s expectations, as well as your own. Do the best you can and enjoy the rest.
  3. Take the time to take it all in: When you find yourself racing around, you may miss out on all the joy that is in the air. Take a moment to look at the holiday decorations, to smell the pine trees in the air, and to listen to the laughter of children around you. Take a moment to pause and enjoy what is.
  4. Practice moderation: Just because there’s a stocked holiday buffet with cookies, and candy, and all the adult beverages a cocktail party can hold, it doesn’t mean you have to overindulge. If you want to have a treat, enjoy it thoroughly, but be mindful, don’t overdo, and make sure to drink plenty of water and fresh veggies along the way.
  5. Be aware of your stress levels: If you find yourself feeling crabby, tired, or “hangry,” don’t ignore what your body is telling you. Take a breath, take a nap, or have a snack. Don’t unleash your stress on your loved ones or yourself. No one wants you at their holiday gathering if you’ll just be grumpy when you get there. You owe it to yourself to do what you need.
  6. Get your body moving:¬†Take your family, or your dog, out for a walk and enjoy the crisp winter air. Get on a treadmill or do some pushups if the weather is keeping you from going outdoors. You’ll be amazed at how much more clear, more calm, and more energized you’ll feel after getting up your heart rate and making exercise a priority.
  7. Be aware of your sleep habits: If you are a person who needs their 8 hours every night, and too much indulging, reveling, and travel¬†get you off of your schedule, get yourself back on track. If you didn’t get enough rest the night before, a 20-minute nap could work wonders. A sleep mask also helps.
  8. Allow yourself to say “no:” You don’t have to feel obligated to attend every party you are invited to, to drink every drink, or to engage in every conversation. You’ve got permission to say no to any family drama that may be ensuing. Don’t get sucked in, and take care of you first.
  9. Go easy on yourself: The holidays can bring up lots of emotions. You may be going through a breakup or loss, and feel the nostalgia and sadness creeping in. Let yourself feel what you’re feeling without making it wrong. Talk to others about it if you need to, or retreat if you need to.
  10. Snuggle up and get cozy: Sometimes the best way to enjoy the season is by putting on some comfortable clothes, snuggling up in a blanket and enjoying a favorite holiday movie, fire, or a book you’ve been longing to read.

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