If I know one thing, it is that the holidays can be an extremely stressful time of year. However, the thought of not being able to celebrate the holidays and do all of the traditional things we know and love is extremely gut wrenching to most, bringing up intense emotions because things are just different right now and we have to embrace this season the best way we know how. As I always say, it’s most important that we fill our cup up first.
I think most of these are important every day of the year, but with all the added stress of 2020, they seem to be just an extra bit more relevant than usual. Also, sometimes you just need to be reminded of simple things like these.
1. Take Some Time For Yourself
I love my morning routine and enjoy how peaceful it makes me feel. I try to do most of my non-negotiables in the morning so that no matter how the day progresses, I have done the things that are important to me, and that I know will make me feel good.
Whether it is in the morning, evening or afternoon, try to take some time for yourself. Do some things you enjoy and that calm you down. Preferably without a screen. I’d suggest having a warm drink, a book, a walk around the block, a bath, shower, face mask, painting or yoga. Whatever helps you calm down, do that. This might be the most important part of your holiday self-care.
2. Eat Like You Care
The holidays are the easiest time to get caught up in food. However, a big part of holiday self-care is paying attention to what you eat. It is so easy to get lost in the copious amounts of grease, salt and sugar and even though it tastes amazing, our bodies don’t love it as much. It takes quite a toll on our bodies to eat that way. Of course, you can eat the food you love, but keep in mind how much of it you are eating. Try to also eat some fruits and veggies. Drink plenty of water or tea. Eat like you care about your body.
3. Move & Rest
Try to move every day. Whether that is a home workout, going for a walk or going to the gym doesn’t matter. Move your body, give it a chance to process the food you put in it. Exercise is also proven to help with mental health and especially feelings of anxiety and stress. It is the perfect way to get out of your head and switch your head off for a bit.
Also, sleep. Be sure that you take the rest you need. It is too easy to be overwhelmed and think you have to stay up every night to finish all the things but really you don’t. Things will turn out fine, I promise. Aim for at least 7 but ideally 8 hours of sleep. Make sure you are well-rested so you can actually enjoy the holidays.
I am not saying you should meditate for an hour every day, because that is really hard. But try to meditate for 3-5 minutes, focusing on your breathing. I think that even taking 3 deep breaths every now and then can make an impact. It is about feeling into your body and getting out of your head, no matter how short that may be. Being mindful allows us to live in the present.
So often with the holidays so many things are going on that it is more of a blur than a nice day. By meditating and doing breathwork, we can get out of that whirlwind and be focused on what is happening right now. The people that are around you, the love, laughter, joy. That is really what Christmas is about.
6. Less Is More
You don’t have to go to everything you are invited to. You don’t have to make every single recipe in your collection. You don’t have to invite those toxic people if you don’t want to. You don’t have to check all the items off your Christmas bucket list. You don’t have to do it all.
Focus on what’s most important. Make the recipes you love the most. Invite people you love the most. Use only the decorations you absolutely love. It is the season for love and joy, not the season of overdoing everything and burning yourself out. 2020 just may have made this one a bit easier.
5. Let Go Of Expectations
If you’re anything like me, managing expectations should be a huge part of your holiday self-care. Expectations are the root of disappointment. We build up such beautiful images in our head. Of our Christmas dinner, the table settings, the tree, how everyone is going to be pleasant and get along, basically we build a fairytale Christmas in our heads.But then, guess what?
It doesn’t happen. There is always at least one thing that doesn’t go like we expected or wanted, and that is absolutely normal. Therefore, it is easier to let go of those expectations. Let things be what they are. Let people be who they are. Enjoy the holidays however it comes, and don’t try to force things.
6. Set Boundaries
During the holidays it is more important than ever to say no. As I said with point 6, you don’t have to do everything or be everywhere. Be aware of what you want and what makes you happy. If other people start demanding things from you, decide whether you are willing to comply or not. Speak up and protect your energy. ‘No’ is a complete sentence.
7. Be Grateful
While everyone is thinking about gratitude on Thanksgiving, it is no less important any other day of the year. Be thankful for what you have. For the people around you, the roof over your head, your health and the food on the table. Take a minute to be grateful for your life and everything in it. You can write it down, but it is a good start to just think about it in your head.
So there they are: my 7 best tips for holiday self-care. Take good care of yourself during the holidays, and remember self-care is not selfish. You cannot pour from an empty cup, and if you don’t take care of yourself you cannot take care of others. You won’t enjoy the holidays if you’re constantly tired, cranky and on the edge of a breakdown. Take that time for yourself, you are important too.