We’ve all been there – excited, stressed, over-tired, over-stuffed, over-extended. The Holiday Season is a time of joy, giving, family, and reflecting on feelings of gratitude, but it can also be highly stressful. When we focus our energies on housekeeping for our guests, cooking, gift buying, logistics, family dynamics, and all of the other holiday intricacies, we lose sight of caring for ourselves. Spending the time upfront on a plan to care for and love ourselves through the holidays has huge payoff.
Have you ever stopped to ponder why so many people use the New Year as a time to reset? Why so many of our yearly resolutions center on being healthier, more active, happier versions of ourselves? We’d argue that it’s because we are just coming off of a season where we tend to get burnt out by putting ourselves last. The New Year offers a definitive point in time in which we can be intentional about our desires to be our best selves. What if we could use that resolution for something bigger because we are able to recognize that our self-care is a year-round and never-ending process that we prioritize no matter what is happening around us?
In no particular order, but all with equal importance, our tips for caring for yourself this holiday season and always:
- Set time aside for yourself every day for doing what makes you feel good. This could be as simple as getting up a little bit earlier than normal so that you can enjoy your usual coffee and newspaper by yourself before your guests wake up. This may mean that you schedule your workout or meditation practice into your day and stick to it, or stay up a little later to have time to journal. Whatever you do to care for you, do it with gusto and without apology.
- Let others know about your plan for self-care. Say it out loud: “I’m going to have a tough time saying ‘no’ to all of the yummy food at the party, so I am going to eat beforehand. Please know that it’s not because I don’t think what you’ve made is so yummy, but I need to stick to my plan,” or “I’d so love to participate in everything you have scheduled, but I am busy everyday from 8-10am as it’s my time to get my workout in.”
- Focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t. Sometimes the holidays feel stressful because there are so many moving parts. Knowing that many of those moving parts will move as they do no matter your actions or feelings helps us to let go of that stress and use our energy for more productive matters.
- Cry if you need to. Often times the Holiday Season reminds us of loved ones we are missing, of places we’d rather be, of things we wish we had. There is no rule that says you must be filled with cheer at all times. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling. Holding it in can affect your sleep, appetite, stress and cortisol levels, and cause you undue additional stress.
- Be YOU. Give yourself permission to be you in all of your “you-ness.” You are beautiful. You are worth it. You are strong. You are who you are and that is an amazing thing. You do not need to be who you think anyone else wants you to be. This is the Holiday Season that you deserve to enjoy as your full and wonderful self.