Self-care isn’t all about baths or reading a book. Some of the following may feel good; some may not apply. Whatever self-care means to you, take the time you need this holiday season for yourself.
And if you have friends and family that you know won’t take care of themselves, send them the gift of self-care for a bit of a nudge!
☑ Focus your holiday spirit. Pick one thing and go all in.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the things around the holidays—decorating, shopping, family parties, work functions, family activities, wrapping, baking, the list goes on.
But if that’s overwhelming and you still want to feel the holiday spirit. Just pick one and go all in. Bake all the cookies, wrap all the presents in some unique way, create a calendar of activities for the family.
The key is just to pick one. Let the rest go.
☑ If giving back feels good, volunteer.
Doing something for someone else is a great way to feel good about yourself. Feeling a sense of purpose in donating some items, adopting a senior, or volunteering at a food bank could help alleviate the stress of getting caught up in it all.
☑ If money stresses you out, set boundaries.
Create a budget, so you decide what to spend in advance for gifts, decorations, food, and all the other expenses that creep up on us over the holidays. Have “no spending days” where you don’t spend any money all day long.
☑ Set aside at least one (maybe two or three) nights every week where you don’t do anything.
No outings. No wrapping. No shopping. No baking. No helping others. Just stay in and do nothing or spend a relaxing evening with your family. Protect this time.
☑ Make room for grief.
Sometimes the holidays are a reminder of who we’ve lost. Take time to remember loved ones by creating time with photos, stories, or sharing memories. Everyone experiences grief differently, so feel your feelings the way that feels best to you.
☑ Have an escape plan at events.
Family gatherings, work parties, and even kids’ parties can be overwhelming. So when you walk in, find a space where you can escape for a few minutes. An escape could be a quiet corner or a bathroom where you can recenter. You may even want to have a code word when you’re ready to leave. And you don’t have to stay the whole time!
☑ Make a “done” list.
If you feel like you’re never doing enough, a “done” list could help. At the end of your day, write down everything you did—even the small stuff like “picked up more tape” or “returned cake pan to a neighbor.” You’ll be surprised how much you’re getting done, and it helps tell your brain so it can relax.
☑ Involve all of your senses.
Take a moment and think about what makes the holidays feel good for you. What do they smell like? How do they taste? What do they sound like? What do they feel like to your fingertips? What do they look like? Surround yourself with those things.
☑ Take a break from giving advice.
It can be stressful to know when to try to help others. And even our best intentions may fall on deaf ears if the person just isn’t ready to hear it. So, don’t. Alleviate the stress of handling situations by not giving advice this time of year. If someone asks, decide if you think you can be truly helpful. And if not, let them know.
☑ Let go of the expectations of others.
You know your Aunt’s going to be drunk at the family party. You know your Uncle’s going to say something racist. You know, you know, you know. But what if you don’t know? Just let your expectations of others go. They’re what stress you out. Deal with things at the moment. And when you don’t have expectations of others, they can’t let you down as much.
☑ Wind down before sleep.
You know what relaxes you. Prioritize relaxation for a half-hour or so before you go to sleep. Hopefully, winding down will set you up for a restful sleep, so you wake up ready to take over the holidays the next day.
Ultimately, you know what’s best for you. To successfully feel great through the holiday season, take the time YOU need to feel good about yourself.
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