By Angie Comer
The holidays…family parties, endless shopping, a myriad of social events and a source of stress and anxiety for many. Because your schedule can quickly become filled at this time of year, it is important to take the time for balanced self-care. Self-care is not just focusing on your physical body with a massage, manicure or a yoga session. More importantly, it means paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, expectations and interactions. It means you will function at your best in all areas of your life. Use these six tips to help you carve out more time for yourself and get your mind and body ready for this busy holiday season.
Schedule Time for Self-Care
If you have never focused on personal time, you may feel incredibly guilty scheduling self-care. If you can schedule shopping sessions, doctor appointments and parties for all of your family members, you can schedule guilt-free time for yourself. Give yourself permission to relax. Consider self-care as a way to safeguard your mental and physical health. Become your best self so that you can give your best to others.
Set Your Intention
The holiday season often passes in a blur of hectic activity that leaves us feeling exhausted and out of sorts. Set your intention. What is most meaningful, and what do you value most during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays? First, make a list of your priorities so that you can enjoy those things that are most important to you and avoid those that will cause stress. This will increase your pleasure in those activities, and you will feel more refreshed than exhausted. Your intention might be to enjoy the spiritual side of the holiday or to spend time with friends. Perhaps you love the music of the holiday season or the hours spent carefully decorating the tree and your home. Take the time to savor these experiences; you will find the holidays are more pleasurable.
Stick to a Normal Routine
Staying up late to wrap presents, cooking and attending parties is exhausting and leaves you feeling out of sorts. Try to maintain a normal routine as much as possible. Eat at your regular meal times, continue your usual exercise program and make sure you get sufficient sleep. Take time to read, relax or enjoy your hobbies. You will find sticking with a normal routine gives you a sense of organization and can help prevent fatigue during the hectic holiday season.
Nourish Your Body
Over-indulging in the tempting holiday cookies, cakes, drinks and festive dinners can lead to digestive upsets and leave you feeling sluggish. Passing up the special treats can be difficult, but it will help you to stay energized during the holiday season. Eat lightly and focus on foods that provide proper nutrition to fuel your body, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats and healthy oils. This will require discipline, but you will feel lighter, more cheerful and thankful come January 1.
Learn When to Say No
With the increased demands on your time and energy during the holiday season, be prepared to say no to some activities to prevent “holiday burnout.” You may be invited to a number of get-togethers, asked to contribute food or time or may be expected to travel for family events. Keep your intentions in mind, and know your priorities. However, know your limits, and set boundaries accordingly.
Tighten Your Circle
There is a saying that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If you want to be peaceful and happy, surround yourself with peaceful, happy people. This is especially important during the holidays, where activities often necessitate spending time with toxic people who, for whatever reason, can steal your joy, drain your energy and put you in a negative frame of mind. While it may be impossible to get away completely from family members or friends who leave you feeling anxious, take every opportunity to spend time with people who lift your spirit and bring you joy.
As you are shopping for gifts for your family and friends this holiday season, be sure to give yourself the gift of self-care along with a healthy mind and body. By being proactive in caring for yourself, you can avoid the stress and busyness that would otherwise feel overwhelming. Instead of dreading the holidays this year, celebrate them with pure joy by keeping your focus on what is healthiest for you.