Well, here we are. It’s already mid-November! What was once a leisurely stroll through the year has now become a full on sprint with the finish line being December 31st at the stroke of Midnight. As I’ve gotten older (and perhaps a tiny bit wiser) I’ve come to realize the great importance of good self care throughout the year. But I like to focus a little bit more on self care especially around the holidays. It’s really easy to burn out, otherwise. There is so much demanded of all of us around this time of year but I truly believe the burden we place on ourselves is the biggest demand of all.
Self Care Ideas to Help Survive The Holiday Season
Let me start by saying that I’m not going to be the one who tells you that if you complete all of your holiday shopping before September your season will be much less stressful because I can’t even do that myself. I’m sure it would be amazing to have it all done months beforehand but for most people that’s not realistic. I’ve simply put together a list of things that I actually do that have helped me. I hope that one or two of these ideas may help you, too!
Learn how to say “no” – having the courage to say no to people (in the kindest way, of course) is powerful. A total game changer. Not only at the festive season but all year round, really. This year, try attending only the events that will nourish your soul in some way, if you can. I realize that there are certain social obligations that everyone has that are less than life enriching but if you can weed out the events that you really don’t have to or don’t want to do, the one’s that you do have to do won’t be quite as taxing.
Sleep – don’t skimp on getting rest. Its so important that your body gets what it needs. Its easy to get into the habit of trying to squeeze in as much as you can around this time of year and that can lead to exhaustion. And no one is any good when they’re exhausted.
Spa day – I am a huge believer in spa days. Even escaping for just a couple of hours can make a difference. While it won’t physically remove the stresses of the season it could help make coping with them a wee bit easier if your mind and body are relaxed. I already have a massage on the books at my favorite place in London. You can even have a spa day at home. Light some candles, draw a bath and soak some of your stress away.
Take time each day for yourself – do something that you love just for you. Go out for a coffee. Read a book. Even if its just for 15 minutes. Put yourself first. Schedule it on your calendar if you have to.
Watch what you eat – tis the season for overindulgence. But this lifestyle can leave you feeling bloated and miserable. Especially if you add in alcohol. After all, we are what we eat…and drink! Try mindful eating. Sit at a table. Put the phone down. Take your time chewing. It makes a difference in how much food is consumed when a little bit of awareness is used.
Exercise – it doesn’t have to be anything strenuous. Even a walk can be beneficial and it’s great for clearing the mind. It’s even better if you can do this with a friend or partner. I attend a weekly boot camp session with some fantastic people in a park up the street from me. I look forward to it all week because I know I’ll be having a laugh along with my lunges.
Keep a gratitude journal – I have one that I like to write in on a daily basis, and not just around the holidays. It’s so easy to get caught up in others’ seemingly perfect lives thanks to social media that one can easily forget just how good their own life is. I love to read over my journal on New Year’s Eve to help set the tone for the upcoming new year.
Know that its 100% ok if you cannot do it all – just recognizing that will lift a major weight off of your shoulders.
Ask for help – hire a cleaning service. Order your holiday meal. I actually order all of my side dishes for the large Thanksgiving dinner we throw for my husbands co-workers every year and I make the turkey. I even have the food delivered. How’s that for lazy? But it feels great and I know the food will be delicious. The added bonus is less clean up for after the event.
Volunteer – this is great for a dose of perspective. Get involved in a holiday charity of some kind. Every year for the past 13 or so years my family and I have participated in adopt a child programs, and we make certain to include our almost 10 year old son. We know how fortunate we are and realize that we all belong to each other at the end of the day. Being able to help a family have a nicer holiday feels really good and much better than anything we could purchase for each other, to be honest.
Have a plan – this may sound crazy, but around late September / early October, I like to put together an extremely detailed list of every holiday and event that I know will be happening in my family’s social life and what I need to do for each event. That way it’s all in front of me and I can somewhat see the big picture. After that, I create my plan of action – food to I need to order, gifts to purchase, cards to send, etc. To me, it seems a bit less overwhelming knowing that I have a list of what I need to do and that I can start chipping away it in manageable chunks.
Breathe – don’t forget to breathe! Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth to help lower your heart rate, blood pressure and just to relax.
The holidays can be hard. They are full of variables that we can’t control. But having coping mechanisms can help make a difference in how you handle whatever comes your way. I hope my list will provide you with some inspiration to incorporate some self care into your upcoming holidays.
Do you have any special self care tips to share that help you get through the festive season? Share them with me in the comments box below!
Thanks for reading! Cheers!