Self-Care Tips and Wellness During the Holidays

Take care of yourself!
11 Common examples of self-care activities

Self-care is simply a variety of activities that improve your sense of well-being, good mental health and keeping emotions and stress under control.

Taking care of yourself is an important part of building your personal resilience, bouncing back from stress, trauma, and burnout.

By taking care of yourself, you will gain improvement in your physical health, self-esteem, protect your mental health and all of this will lead to enhancing better relationships.

Common examples of self-care activities include:

  • Creating and maintaining a regular sleeping routine
  • Healthy eating practices
  • Finding a hobby you enjoy
  • Spending time in nature
  • Exercise/dance/physical activity
  • Expressing gratitude

So, why is self-care and maintaining wellness a concern during the holidays?

Holidays tend to be a time for gathering with friends and family, and are portrayed as a merry, cheerful time, but not everyone feels that way. Although many are filled with joy, anticipation and excitement, others may feel alone and isolated.

Crisis hotlines experience an increase in number of calls. There is an increase in domestic violence and prevalence of depression and sadness.

The holidays may bring forth memories of better times, loss of loved ones, financial hardships, job instability, or overall sadness. Many of us feel guilty thinking about caring for ourselves during the “season of giving.”

This is a common feeling! However, caring for yourself is vital during times that bring stress and increase demands on us both physically and emotionally.

The added demands of the holidays wreak havoc on diets, sleep, finances, and normal routines. This is why it is imperative that we recognize and identify those holiday demands that stress us out and find ways to avoid the stress and strife.

The holidays are a time for giving, and we must remember to include ourselves so that we maintain balance. We must intentionally give to ourselves so that we have the emotional and physical reserve to give to others.

Give yourself permission. Take care of your personal needs, decline certain events, refuse to feel pressured to host events, and give yourself permission not to overspend.

So, how do we do this?

  1. Give yourself permission. Take care of your personal needs, decline certain events, refuse to feel pressured to host events, and give yourself permission not to overspend.
  2. Ask yourself what would help you to enjoy the holidays the most. What do you value the most about the holidays? What traditions are important for you? Getting together with friends and family versus going to an office party may best meet your personal needs. Do those things that help you to feel joy and keep stress at bay.
  3. Make a plan. When you plan ahead of time what you will do and how much time and energy you will commit to, you remain in control of your circumstance and will be less prone to anxiety and regret. You can also plan how to incorporate healthy eating and to maintain your sleep routine by eating a small snack before you go and leaving at a scheduled time.
  4. Give yourself realistic boundaries and limits. Limits and boundaries help you to stay engaged but will lessen any pressure you may feel. Make a schedule of events and work on your calendar, then accept those invitations that you want to attend and declining others. This also applies to financial limits and boundaries…spend within your means and remember that it is truly the thought that counts the most.
  5. Schedule some personal time for yourself. Grant yourself some time each day… even 15 minutes to relax over a cup of coffee or tea, take a relaxing bath, do some yoga poses, or go for a walk.
  6. Pay attention to your senses. Take a few seconds to breathe in the season, smell the scents of the holidays. Listen to the carolers in the mall, pay attention to the soft feel of a scarf that is warming your neck, relish in the taste of homemade cookies and pay attention to your surroundings. Be mindful of what your senses are offering you.
  7. Do something for others. Be kind to someone who needs it—hold a door, carry a package, introduce yourself to someone standing alone, volunteer service. The possibilities are endless!
  8. Make a budget and stick to it. One of the most stressful aspects of the holidays is the increased costs associated with gifts and get-togethers. Set a budget and stick to it. You will thank yourself after the first of the year when the bills start to roll in (or not!).
  9. Limit expectations of yourself and others. Release yourself from expectations of perfection—the perfect tree, the perfect meal, the perfect gift, etc. Give with your heart and it will be awesome!
  10. Communicate. Enlist help from friends and family if you need it. People love helping you as much as you love helping them.
  11. Look forward to the future. Don’t get let down when the flurry of activity of the holidays is complete. Give yourself something to look forward to after the holidays. This could be a concert or event in late January, or an outing with a friend in February. The idea is to shift your perspective and keep looking forward.

Take care of yourself during the holidays. It is perhaps the best gift that you can give yourself and everyone you love.

Please contact us with any questions you may have about Publications.

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