The weather outside can be frightful this time of year, and between crowded stores and boisterous family members, inside isn’t always more delightful. You feel rushed, frantic, exhausted, broke, and perhaps even a little blue. Time for self-care is limited, so what can you possibly do to end those racing thoughts that haunt you like lords a leaping?
Self-care is always important, but it becomes a critical part of surviving the holidays. Without meeting our basic needs and carving out time for ourselves, we become worn down, emotional, and even physically ill.
So, in the spirit of giving, I bestow onto you 6 self-care tips that you need to put into practice this holiday season.
Maintain Your Sleep Routine
When we get busy, one of the first things to go is our sleep. We try to burn the candle at both ends, but the truth is that never really works. Work as hard as possible to keep your typical bedtime, and even if you do stay out late for a company party, maintain all of your typical nightly routines. Sleep hygiene is vital to getting restful slumber.
Nourish Your Body
This is an especially difficult one for me, as I often get so wrapped up in tasks or errands that I forget to stop and feed myself. Keeping healthy eating habits, especially eating regular meals and snacks, is an essential part of caring for your body. Popcorn and a soda from Target’s “Food Avenue” does not count as lunch. Keep your belly from rumbling, and you will actually increase productivity and your brain power: guaranteed.
Make Time For Mindfulness
There’s something about the hustle and bustle of holiday prep and partying that throws our thoughts and feelings out of whack. We lose focus of the moment and often lose touch with ourselves when we become stressed and anxious. By practicing mindfulness, though, we can recenter and refocus internally. Whether you meditate, pray, or simply take a moment to breathe and take in your surroundings, being mindful of the present and taking a moment to clear your head is one of the best ways to manage stress anytime, not just during the holidays.
Maintain Your Boundaries
This is another tricky one for so many people (myself included!), but an essential self-care practice during this “wonderful” time of the year. Holidays mean spending extra time around family, and for many that can be a difficult task that evokes strong emotions. Depending on your needs and individual circumstances, maintaining boundaries during the holidays may come in the form of limiting time spent at gatherings, saying “no” to certain requests or suggestions, or setting parameters on gift giving or other holly jolly plans. Stick to your guns on what you need to feel most comfortable, and those who truly care about you will understand.
Nourish Your Mind
Watching football games and making small talk while standing around the desserts is not a great way to feel mentally well during this cold and cloudy season. So, read a book. Play a card game. Build puzzles. Dabble in holiday crafts. Find ways to add some sort of brain stimulation into the holidays for you and your loved ones, and everyone will feel lighter and happier for it.
Make Time For What Really Matters
Just like the Grinch, we all could use the revelation that maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, but instead means something more than shelling out the big bucks on material goods. So, instead of standing in lengthy check out lines or wasting time making sure every gift is perfectly wrapped, try to set aside time for what is actually important to you this holiday season. The simplest way to practice self-care is to surround yourself with what genuinely makes your heart happy.
When we hear the word “holidays,” most of our bodies tense as we think of all the spending and stress that one simple word creates. The reality is, if you take time to take care of yourself, the holidays don’t have to be all bah humbug and ball-busting. The little things like remembering to eat, sleep, and breathe really do wonders for your body, mind, and spirit. Remember that no matter how much you spend or what kind of a feast you slave over, the most important part of the holiday season is your presence.