5 Simple Self-Care Practices for the Holidays

by Auriel

The holidays can get a little crazy. With all the shopping, decorating, planning and celebrating, it’s easy to put yourself on the back burner.  This season is all about giving, but that doesn’t mean you have to neglect yourself and your wellbeing in the process. 

Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.  We want to make time for everyone and everything on our list.  But we can’t be present and give to those around us when we ourselves are not whole. 

Lately, I’ve been feeling more than a little stressed and overwhelmed, thinking about my schedule and all that I have to get done before Christmas. If you can relate, it may be time to add a little self-care to your to-do list. Pencil in some time to reconnect with yourself and recharge so that you can fully enjoy the holidays.

What is Self-Care?

Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.  This doesn’t necessarily mean creating an elaborate beauty routine or scheduling a costly trip to the spa.

Anything that allows you to turn your mind off, relax, and relieve stress is a form self-care.  It’s a way to be good to ourselves and practice self-love.

There are so many benefits to self-care, especially during this busy season when we tend to over-extend ourselves and our resources. 

This Christmas time let’s make our own wellbeing a priority. Here are 5 ways you can practice self-care over the holidays.

1. Check in with yourself

With so much going on it’s easy to push our feelings to the side and lose touch with ourselves and our emotions.  It’s the holidays and we’re supposed to be happy and cheerful.  You may feel like you have to be in the Christmas spirit all month long, but that’s just not realistic.

How are you really feeling?  Listen to your body. Allow yourself to feel your feelings, good or bad, instead of masking them under a guise of holiday cheer.

Consider journaling or even writing letters to loved ones if something is on your heart.  Writing is a great way to acknowledge our emotions and process them in healthy ways. 

2. Exercise

Get your endorphins flowing with a little physical activity. It’s a great way to relieve stress, energize your body and clear your head.  Whatever form of exercise you enjoy, whether it’s lifting weights, yoga or going for a walk, make the time to do it. 

Along with its many other benefits, exercise is a proven mood-booster.  This is something we could all use. Whenever I work out, I feel much more positive and less stressed out afterward. It’s never something I regret.

I haven’t had as much time as usual to get to the gym, but I still try to get a little exercise in by doing workout videos at home.  That’s been a great way to stay active during this hectic season. There are tons of free videos on Youtube for almost any type of exercise you can think of!

3. Eat well

As someone who loves egg nog and hot chocolate, I would never suggest you abstain from all holiday goodies.  But it’s important to take care of your body and find a healthy balance.

There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself!  Enjoy the dinners, parties and other gatherings, but in between those events go for lighter, healthier options.  Over indulging on unhealthy foods can cause not only weight gain, but also affect your mood and energy levels.

Treat your body well by balancing the unavoidable treats with nutritious meals to off-set any negative effects and keep you feeling your best all month long.

4. Cultivate gratitude

Everywhere you look there are reminders of all the things you don’t have. Commercials and billboards showcase the latest and greatest of everything. There’s an underlying spirit of materialism that is easy to get caught up in.

Instead of getting bummed out by what you feel you may be lacking, change your perspective.  Focus on those things that you’re grateful for and you’ll start to see a positive shift in your mindset and attitude.

Cultivating gratitude improves overall wellbeing. We feel happier, more content and at peace in our daily lives. It’s been shown to improve mental, emotional and even physical health.

Do this as often as you can.  Try creating a gratitude list. Write down all the things in your life you’re grateful for. You may be surprised to see the many blessings you’ve overlooked.

5. Schedule Downtime

It may seem odd to schedule time to do the activities you enjoy.  But as your calendar fills up, it’s easy to neglect doing the things that bring us happiness and allow us to unwind. Activities like hobbies, reading, meditating, or even catching up on a favorite tv show are great ways to de-stress. And this is an essential part of self-care.

With all the social events going on, it’s a good idea to schedule regular time to slow down and take it easy. Aim for a little ‘me time’ at least once a week to make sure you’re able to recharge from all the revelry and socializing.

If you find yourself overcommitted, don’t be afraid to say no!  You’re not obligated to go to every holiday dinner or ugly sweater party.  Prioritize yourself and make time for the activities that will bring you peace and tranquility even if just for a little while.

The holidays don’t have to be a crazy time.  Keep things in perspective and be kind to yourself if and when things don’t go according to plan.  Combat stress by incorporating a little self-care into your routine whenever possible and have a happier, more enjoyable holiday season.

How do you practice self-care during the holidays (or any time of year)?

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