Leave Time for Self-Care During Holidays

The holiday season is full of joy, giving and togetherness — and all of the work that comes with making that happen. Demands on your time pile up and don’t leave much left over for the self-care that helps you feel whole and more able to fulfill those demands.

Here are a few ideas for taking care of you:

Start a morning ritual or strengthen the one you have
It’s easier to carve out time for yourself early in the morning before family, business and overall busyness really begin. Choose one or two activities you find especially nourishing for your mind and soul, and they will give you that boost of body and brain energy you need to tackle the day. Yoga, walking, journaling, meditation and reading spiritual texts are just a few of the possibilities. Even if you can only manage 10 or 15 minutes, it will do you so much good! 

Set your intentions
Take a little time to reflect on what is most important for you and those around you this season and let that be your guide for prioritizing your activities and commitments. Consider particular needs everyone (including you!) has this year and meet them as best you can. 

Don’t expect perfection
You may be competing with childhood memories that have grown a little blurry with time, and you don’t know all the machinations that might have been necessary to pull them off. Understand that everything from that perfect turkey’s preorders being sold out to last-minute travel changes can put what appears to be a “dent” in your festivities, but understand that you did the best you could. 

Practice gratitude
This can be done in the middle of almost anything else. While you’re making breakfast for family, doing a trail run, baking those same treats you do every year, you can think about what you’re thankful for in life. Many of those thoughts may be related to your Christmas and New Year’s chores, others may have nothing to do with that but are just as important.

Regulate your stress and emotions
A journal can really come in handy here, but it’s not essential. Observe the situations that make you feel more stressed out and negative, and what is fueling these reactions. Are you worrying about things beyond your control, or setting an impossible holiday standard? Are you required to spend more time around people with whom you have toxic relationships? These are good things to know and work with as you move through the season. 

Eliminate as many triggers as you can
Some stressful situations can’t be avoided no matter what time of year it is, but you have control over more than you may think. Online news and social media promote “doomscrolling” and conflict you probably don’t need to be dealing with right now, so don’t let yourself get sucked into it. Use your spare time for a walk, warm bath or other relaxant instead. 

Immerse yourself in the moment
Practice mindfulness, especially during the occasions you’ve worked so hard to create. Be present for the presents, for the songs, for talking to those cousins you haven’t seen in a couple of years. These are the moments you’ll want to remember, and recording them in your mind is more effective than any phone can be.