6 Ways to take care of YOU during the holidays
Each year we work hard to make the Holiday season special for our loved ones. Although this is done out of love, often it’s at the expense of ourselves. So, this year make yourself a priority also! (Your family will reap the rewards of a happier you as well). Here are some ways to make your experience of the holidays a joyful one.
- First, give yourself permission to take care of you. It’s okay to say no if you want to. Or maybe you deserve a night out and never take it…if that’s the case then say YES! What’s important is to create healthy boundaries and create great experiences that make you happy instead of ones that make you angry or miserable. There are so many “shoulds” around the holidays and they can keep us from doing what we value most.
- Take 5 minutes to calm down and let the stress go. We get so busy this time of year that we can easily get overwhelmed. Taking 5 minutes, even at our busiest time, can help us be more productive. Just take a few deep breaths. You will be surprised how this helps you to regroup and relieve stress. Here is an exercise to try: Sit down in a comfortable chair with your legs uncrossed and arms at your sides. Take 3 deep breathes and hold each one for 3 seconds before exhaling slowly. As you let out each breath imagine that you are releasing stress from your body. Continue for up to 5 minutes. You’ll feel calmer and more focused to tackle the next thing on your holiday to-do list.
- Make sure that you are taking care of your body. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising and getting plenty of sleep – all of which impacts how we handle stress. Try to stick to your normal routines if possible. It’s ok to make a few exceptions, but making you a priority can make all the difference in how you experience the holidays.
- Show gratitude to those around you for an instant “feel good” energy boost. You can make your day as well as someone else’s by thanking them for something that they did. This random act of kindness will fill your heart and shift your perspective for a little stress relief. Who doesn’t love to make someone else feel loved and appreciated?
- Respect your budget. Of course, you want everyone to be happy and everything to be perfect but overspending is stressful at holiday time (and sometimes way after). By setting a budget before the holidays, you are respecting yourself and your limits. This frees you up for more joy now and later.
- Set realistic expectations and enjoy the moment. We work hard to make the holidays perfect and often beat ourselves up if we don’t get it all done. We also have expectations of others, events or circumstances that we don’t have control over, and that can bring us down. Instead, work on enjoying the moment and being present with what is happening right now. Try to let go of expectations and pay attention to the fun holiday music that is playing, the smell of the treats that are baking in the oven or the laughter of friends and/or family around you. You can notice the softness of the blanket that you are wrapped up in as you watch a holiday movie or feel the excitement of finding the perfect gift for someone. Set the intention that you are going to enjoy the moment.
You do such a great job of making the holidays special for others. It is your turn to feel the magic of the season and be a priority on your list too. Tis the season to be jolly!