For many, in addition to celebration and joy, the Christmas season means a season of hustle and bustle. From holiday parties to catching up with friends and family, sometimes it seems that the holidays are a constant go-go-go without a moment to truly enjoy the season, so we thought we’d give you twelve ways you can care for yourself during this busy and often stressful time of year.
1. If time allows, keep to your routine to the best of your abilities. If you exercise regularly, or tend to get a certain number of hours of sleep each night, don’t give that up for the sake of a busy week. And if your body is telling you to exercise a little less and sleep a little more as a result of stress, that’s okay! Your body knows what you need, so listen to it!
2. Plan ahead. If you know the things you need to do or the places you need to be, make sure to know when those things are happening, and when they need to be done by, and plan accordingly. The events will go much more smoothly when you’re prepared and aren’t stressing until the very last minute.
3. Use your support system and ask for help if you need it. If the holidays tend to be a difficult time, reach out to loved ones, whether that be family or close friends. You don’t have to do anything alone if you don’t feel you are able.
4. Get in touch with gratitude. When you take the time to be intentional and thankful about what you do have, rather than focusing on what’s missing and what’s going wrong, you’ll be able to be thankful for what’s in your life, and isn’t that what the winter holidays are all about?
5. Remember that it’s not your responsibility to make everybody happy. It is impossible and exhausting to try to please everyone, and it’s okay if you don’t.
6. Nourish your body. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some holiday treats, and do not feel guilty about indulging, but also make sure to nourish your body with good foods in between big meals and seasonal delicacies.
7. Wear compression. With so much activity, keeping your blood flowing will do you a lot of good, and at the end of the day your legs will thank you.
8. Allow yourself to be present. We know that for many, the holidays consist of many traditions, but don’t just mindlessly partake. Take the time to experience the little things that make this time of year special, and experience them with all of your senses. Watch your favorite holiday movie, enjoy the taste of Christmas dinner, smell your favorite holiday dessert – it will surprise you the difference it makes when you pay attention.
9. Accept your feelings. Do you feel stressed? Anxious? Sad? Just because it’s that time of year doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to feel emotions. Acknowledge the things you are feeling, and even if you aren’t in the right situation to deal with them with proper care right now amongst all the activity, acknowledging that they exist is an important step.
10. Only decorate with your favorite things. Think about the holiday decorations you put up every year. Do you use them just because they are sentimental, traditional, or beautiful? Your space should be a place that brings you peace and enjoyment, not something to stress over, so this year, try only decorating your space with the things that make you happiest.
11. Do something fun or relaxing (with a friend or yourself) that has nothing to do with food or the holidays. See that movie you’ve been dying to see, or do that craft that’s been sitting on your Pinterest board for months. Take advantage of a little free time and use it to enjoy yourself.
12. Give yourself permission to say no. Whether this means leaving a social event early or not going at all, you have the power to decide how to spend your time. If it seems that there are so many people to do and so many places to be and not enough time for them all, consider this: what do you value most? Think about what you want and don’t worry so much about obligations. If these are people who care about you, they’ll understand.