Ah, the holiday season … lights, presents, carols, treats, parties, family, goodwill and – for some of us – loads of stress! Do you ever feel like you’re running a sprint between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day? If you usually feel like crawling under the covers by January instead of boldly facing the new year, maybe it’s time to add a little self-care to your holiday routine.
“Self-care” means making choices that help mitigate the effects of both physical and emotional stress on our bodies. It means treating your own body kindly, so you can better cope. Self-care also means learning to self-soothe in tough moments. This is not just a skill for infants, but one many adults need to learn as well.
Not sure where to begin? Consider one or more of the following routines this season to better take care of you.
6 Tips for Self Care
1. Sleep more. Instead of staying up late to catch all those holiday movies on the Hallmark channel, follow nature’s lead and turn in earlier. I know. It’s really hard to do when the house is finally quiet, but give yourself the gift of rest. Longer nights this time of year are perfect for extra sleep, even if just an extra 15 to 30 minutes a night.
2. Go for a walk outside. Fresh air and exercise is a cure for whatever ails you. Commit to a daily walk around the block to boost your body’s defenses and combat stress. Need some support or comradarie? Join a Hike it Baby hike or walk.
3. Eat something nourishing. Choose to snack on foods that give your body real food. At that Christmas party, go for the fruit and cheese instead of the fudge and cookies. Commit to adding greens to dinner every night in December or starting every day with a green smoothie.
4. Take time for tea. On busy days, make it a point to stop for 15 minutes in the afternoon and sip on a warm beverage of choice (herbal teas make an excellent choice). This will not only slow your body down, but mindfully sipping while noticing details around you, or making a list of things you are grateful for, will give you a mental break as well.
5. Unplug. The holidays are the perfect time for a social media/internet break, even if just for a few hours. Drop the nonstop demands and the temptation to compare and feel unnecessary stress melt away.
6. Plan for stressful situations. We all have them during the holidays … those gatherings and parties that stress us out just thinking about them. When you can’t opt out, make a plan. Think of the particular person or situation that causes the most grief and plan out your responses ahead of time. Maybe you need to set an alarm reminding you to step outside every hour for 10 minutes for some quiet. Maybe coming with a list of conversation starters would ease the discomfort of making small talk with work colleagues. Or how about a 15-minute yoga session before heading to that family dinner to mentally prepare for what’s ahead?
During the busy holiday season, it’s so easy to forget about the little things – so remember, be kind to yourself and take small acts of self care. The little acts do make a difference.
Photos by Tais Kulish.