The holidays are generally one of the most exciting times of the year, but they are also one of the most stressful. Between coordinating travel plans, buying gifts, managing work schedules, handling kids that are out of school, and more, it is easy to feel run down around the holidays instead of joyous. Feelings of loneliness, grief, and depression also tend to spike around the holidays as some feel isolated and are grieving lost loved ones who are no longer here to help celebrate. With the shorter days and colder weather, seasonal impacts to our mood may also be present. It is crucial throughout the year to care for ourselves, but it is especially important around the holiday season. Read on for ways to practice self-care this time of year:
We sometimes think about self-care being all about manicures, bubble baths, and massages, but this is a very narrow view of what self-care actually is. In fact, even saying “no” can be self-care. Does the thought of driving between three houses on Christmas Day to celebrate stress you out? Putting a boundary in place to better prioritize your time and protect your energy could benefit you. Feeling financially overwhelmed and aren’t feeling like buying presents for all of your sibling’s children is going to work this year? You can gracefully set a boundary around gift giving/receiving. Does all the talk about food and weight at the dinner table trigger you? Setting a boundary around conversation topics may be in order. Communicate your boundaries up front and stick to your guns, as we can often feel pulled in many directions over the holiday season.
We can fall into the trap of taking time off of work or school and using our time off to work around the house, run endless errands, or catch up on schoolwork. While we don’t want to neglect what needs to get done, we need to prioritize ourselves in the process. Rest is also productive.
Unhook from self-comparison
With all of the extra time on our hands, we may find ourselves scrolling through social media more often over the holidays. This often leads to self-comparison even around others posting their holiday gifts or experiences. It may be helpful to set a limit on your social media consumption at this time of year and turn your attention to other activities that help you be mindful and present.
Move your body
Movement impacts our mood and promotes neurotransmitters that make us feel energized and more content. Because the weather is colder, we often stay inside during the holidays and aren’t as motivated to move. Aim for 15-20 minutes of light movement this holiday season – this could be stretching, playing with a dog, yoga, lifting weights, the sky is the limit! If you notice yourself feeling sluggish or down, take a movement break.
No matter what your holiday season looks like, it’s important to take time to focus on yourself this season and beyond. Try out some of the tips above to prioritize your well-being during this time of year.