The holidays can be a time of joy and fun but they can also be stressful, especially if we’re not taking care of ourselves. Here are a few tips to encourage you to make the most of this season without sacrificing your health and well-being.
- Be in the moment – Buying gifts, going to parties, hosting family gatherings, baking, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, writing cards…the holiday to-do’s can go on and on. It’s important to be present and enjoy each moment even in the midst of the holiday hustle. When you’re feeling frazzled or stressed, try to take a moment to observe what’s going on around you. Involve all of your senses: the smell of cookies coming out of the oven, the warmth of a bonfire on your face, the sound of laughter around a dinner table, the taste of your favorite dish. By bringing your awareness to your senses, you’re grounding yourself in the present moment and experiencing everything to its fullest.
- Be ok with saying “no” – This may sound somewhat grinch-ish but it’s ok to say “no” – even during the holidays. You don’t have to go to every party, overspend on every gift, or exhaust yourself by decorating every inch of everything. Ask yourself what traditions and values are most important to you and your family. Allow yourself to say “no” to things that don’t promote those traditions and values. It can be freeing and bring you more peace during this season.
- Plan Ahead – When I say this, please know I’m fully aware that things do not always go according to plan. When this happens, take a deep breath, bring yourself back into the present and enjoy the moment. However, planning ahead can significantly decrease stress and allow you to spend more time doing the things you actually want to do! Shop online for gifts instead of fighting holiday traffic, prep dishes in advance, schedule time for family and yourself. Find small ways to plan ahead and avoid stress!
- Let go of being perfect – This can be especially difficult during a time when everything is suppose to be “magical!” But giving yourself permission to be human can release you from anxiety, allowing you to truly enjoy each moment. Despite my best efforts and countless tutorials from my mom, I am the WORST at wrapping presents. Yesterday I was struggling with gift wrapping when my cat decided to sit in the middle of the paper. She then decided to unleash her claws on all my hopes and dreams of producing pinterest-worthy gift-wrapping. Instead of my usual post-gift-wrapping-meltdown, I decided to laugh. This present was going to look hideous. I just accepted it. After all, these gifts are for people who love me and I doubt that their love is contingent upon my gift-wrapping abilities. In that moment of permission and acceptance I found a bit of peace. I slapped some paper and tape on that box and called it a day. My hope is that we can all maintain this level of acceptance of imperfections throughout the holiday season. Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree wouldn’t have been half as memorable or adorable if it had been perfect!
Many of these suggestions aren’t just helpful for the holiday season. They can help you maintain self-care year-round. I hope they serve as a reminder to take special care of yourself during the months to come.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!