Self-Care for the Holiday Season

“I’m exhausted” appears to be the universal mantra as we wind down 2016 and gear up for 2017. As I speak with friends, family, and even strangers everyone seems to be at a consensus that we are in need of naps and possibly a week of nothing but Netflix binging. Especially right now. The holidays, though wonderful, can be draining. Let’s change this mantra!

The holiday season at its best is joyful and full of memories; at its worst it is chaotic, stressful, and even lonely or painful, for some. During such a busy and emotionally taxing time of year, it is extra important to keep on top of self-care so that you don’t feel run down! Here’s a little list of what I recommend.

Self care for the Holiday Season

  • Keep your self-care rituals. For 5 minutes, forget the shopping, the baking, the house that is a mess, the relatives coming, instead take care of you. Whatever your ritual is, keep it. This is your gift to you this holiday season. If you are alone this holiday or if a special someone is departed from you this year, this is incredibly important, as is the next self-care tip.
  • Keep (or make) your traditions. Traditions are one of the things that make holidays special to me. They have fond memories intertwined in them and always leave room to make new ones, spreading joy by the bucket loads. So, I find it important to keep them. If you can’t keep them? Make new ones! That’s the wonderful thing about holiday traditions… anything can be one at any time! Whether its curling up with a mug of cocoa to watch a favorite movie, reading a special book, listening to music while baking, volunteering somewhere instead of celebrating, or anything else that works for you, embrace it and make it yours.
  • Stay grounded and in the moment. How many times have I misplaced me wallet or keys in the past few weeks? I’ve lost count! Absent-minded (and tired) I have dropped them down somewhere numerous times. Cue a volcano of anxiety and a lot of wasted time spent searching. Staying grounded and making sure you are very purposeful in your actions, like reminding yourself as you place your keys down, “I’m putting my keys ___,” may seem silly in the moment, but guards against later stress.
  • Stay hydrated. Whether you are on the go-go-go, sipping on peppermint mocha, or you are enjoying your time celebrating, drink your water! Your body will thank you later. The easiest way for me to stay on top of this is by drinking a large glass of water first thing in the morning and then making sure I refill my water bottle several times a day.
  • Prioritize. Okay, so, I know you want to do everything, but do you need to? Organize what needs to be done first, starting with the most pressing. Do those first – then turn to the wants. Rank those by priority as well and start with what is most important to you. This will gradually decrease the stress and anxiety by helping you feel more accomplished, organized, and in control. Even if you don’t get to cross off all the wants, at least your must-be-dones are done.
  • Balance Sweet Treats with Veggie Delights. It is easy to be led down the Holiday Treat rabbit hole into the land of Pies with candy cane lined streets of cookies. Balance is key here. With a sweet tooth myself, I never skimp on holiday goodies. My strategy is to A). make them healthier when I can and B). eat everything in moderation. I limit myself to only a few sweets a day, usually one or two, which allows me to indulge but not regret it later. I also limit when I can eat them – while sweets are easy to grab first thing in the morning when I am being a lazy arse, a substantial breakfast it does not make. Usually afternoon after lunch is when I will eat my sweet treat, so that I don’t have a sugar spike first thing in the morning (which will spell energy crash in neon letters for me in the afternoon) or at night (which will make restful sleep impossible). At meals or snack time, eat lots of vegetables and whole foods that are nutritious and delicious, to give your body the fuel it needs to get through this hectic time. Balance, balance, balance. Nourish, nourish, nourish.
  • Get your rest. This year everyone seems to be feeling very run down. Make sure you get plenty of rest. You need it! Give yourself some down time. If your mind is reeling with what still needs to be done, write down these things before bed so they are off your mind. (It also helps you jump right into what you need to do in the morning)  Use relaxing essential oils on your bed pillow, read a book, meditate or deep breathe, journal – do whatever you have to do for your self-care ritual prior to bed to ensure you get rest. And if you still aren’t getting enough rest, my personal favorite recommendation: nap! You are never too old for a good cat nap.

Do you have any other self-care tips for the holidays?