8 Self Care Tips for the Holiday Season
“The most wonderful time of year!”—Yes, this is hands down my favorite time of year. In the past, I found myself getting easily overwhelmed and stressed during the holiday season. I previously put too much on my plate, was not taking time for myself and found that one of the most wonderful times of the year turned into the most stressful time of the year.
Self-Care is important all year round and is especially important over the holidays. Do you find yourself getting caught up in the holiday madness? Does your body physically feel tension and tightness? Are you quick to become irritable? Check out these eight tips for self-care over the holidays.
1. Take time for yourself - Do something you love to do and give yourself some extra love. Bake those cookies you like, take 20 minutes of alone time and do something specifically for you. It could be something like buying yourself something extra, taking a bath, going for a walk, or spending time reading and catching up on your favorite books.
2. Say “No” - We cannot, nor do we have to do it all, and that is okay. One of the hardest things is saying no to someone we care about. Give yourself permission to set some boundaries this holiday season and say no to something that you do not want to do or do not have the energy to do.
3. Honor Grief - The holidays can be a very painful time when grieving. Spend some time honoring your loved ones over the holidays; create a special keepsake or carry something with you that is a physical reminder of your loved one. Take the time to grieve and speak with loved ones about your feelings or spend some time with yourself honoring those feelings.
4. Unplug - Spend time away from your technology, take time away from your devices in a way that works for you. Go to the grocery store or run an errand without technology or take scheduled breaks to be fully present with your family and friends this season.
5. Connect with your breath - Do you ever notice when you’re stressed or anxious it is hard to breathe? Diaphragmatic breathing is my “go to fix” during the holidays. Sit in a comfortable position and place one hand on your chest and the other right below your rib cage. Breathe in slowly through your nose and notice your stomach moving out against your hand slightly. Tighten your stomach muscles and exhale out of your mouth slowly, keep your abdomen level as your ribs return to neutral position. The hand on your chest remains as still as possible. If you notice your chest rising and falling, work towards taking a deeper breath from your diaphragm which is located near your lower ribs. Do this exercise once a day for 60 seconds and then gradually increase the amount of time you spend doing this exercise.
6. Mindful Movements - Mindfulness is paying attention to one thing at a time, on purpose, non-judgmentally. Mindful movements are a way to connect with your inner self and can be done in many different ways. Stretch before bed, go for a walk outside, sit and engage in meditative relaxation activities. Move your body in whatever way feels natural to you; this can be neck rolls, circling your hips, reaching up with your arms up. Take the time while engaging in these exercises to focus inward.
7. Gratitude - Take a few minutes each day and reflect on what you are grateful for. Write down in a journal 2 things that you are grateful for each day or show your respect to someone in person. Sometimes it can be difficult to show and express gratitude towards someone, even small gestures of holding the door for someone or helping them with their groceries can be a way to express appreciation.
8. Welcome Emotions - Recognize what you are feeling non-judgmentally and allow yourself to fully be present with these feelings just for a moment. The holidays can bring up a lot of mixed emotions, acknowledge and honor whatever feelings may come up during this time of year.