The holiday season is such a wonderful time of year, and it can be so fun and exciting. But it can also take a lot of our time and energy. We often have more on our calendars and our commitments grow throughout this season. And for those of us who are really ambitious, there’s also the added pressure we put on ourselves to meet our year-end goals. As this happens, our self care gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.
I think we can agree – this time of year can be exhausting and stressful, and it can add to our sense of overwhelm. That means self care is so much more important than most of us realize.
I want to be clear that when I talk about self care, I’m not referring to baths, massages, or manicures and pedicures. While those are nice every once in a while, I’m talking about deeply caring for your mental, physical, and emotional health.
Taking care of yourself in this way requires you to know yourself and be really clear about what you need and what you can do for yourself right now that will benefit your future self most.
When you pay attention to what you need and you show up today giving your future self what she needs (and not just what she wants in this moment) that’s true self care. Making a commitment to caring for yourself in this way will change the way you live your life.
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Journaling increases your awareness of how you’re doing right now and what you need. When you don’t know what you need, you don’t know what to do to help yourself feel better.
Comparing your holiday experience with someone else’s or with your past experiences can suck the joy out of the holidays. Allow for flexibility in what this holiday season is and allow the holidays to be exactly what they are. Leaving the expectations and judgements behind will allow you to be present and find true joy in what this holiday season brings.
Holiday traditions can be followed if you really truly enjoy them and want to focus your time and energy on continuing them. But if you have your own ideas for how you want to celebrate the holidays, there’s no better time than 2020 to begin creating new memories for you and your family.
Purposely plan time to move your body throughout the holiday season. There’s no need to wait until the new year to begin taking care of yourself. Schedule this time in your calendar now and make it a regular commitment to care for yourself. Remember, moving your body can be enjoyable. Focusing on doing exercises you really like doing will not only make this time more fun, but it’ll likely make it something you do more consistently too.
I recently heard that the average American sleeps only 5 hours a night! During the holidays, or during times of added stress, that number is likely even lower. This season, choose to make getting enough sleep a regular habit. Creating this time for yourself helps your body and mind rest and recover so you can tackle the holidays with a clearer focus and more energy. Doing this will also help you find more joy in all the things this holiday season brings.
Being thankful for what you have is so refreshing, especially during a season that’s focused on getting more. You can do this easily each day by beginning or ending your day by focusing on three things you’re grateful for.
You can also journal about what you’re grateful for. Getting into the habit of seeing the things in your life that you want but already have is such an uplifting and powerful activity. Doing this is one of my favorite exercises.
When I do this exercise, I like to keep it really simple. I start by asking myself what I want. But the trick is that I make my brain focus on what I already have. So, I create a list of 20 – 25 things I want that I already have in my life. For example I might write that I want a daughter that’s independent, strong, thoughtful, and confident in who she is. I have a daughter who I think is all of those things and I love her so much. I want her in my life and I’m so grateful to be her mom.
Try this and notice how it makes you feel. I swear I can not do this activity without smiling and feeling completely fulfilled by the time I complete my list.
While I know this one might sound ridiculous because obviously you’re breathing regularly or you wouldn’t be alive. But here I’m talking about breathing deeply and with true intention.
When you notice your heart rate begin to rise, your thoughts begin to race, or your body tense up, give yourself a few minutes to do nothing but focus on your breath. Put your hand on your chest, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Try to focus on breathing in and out through your nose and try to slow down your breathing a bit more with each breath.
Doing this helps your body relax, your mind slow down, and your heart rate decrease. Then you can begin again from a calmer and much more relaxed place which is not only healthier but so much more enjoyable too.
There’s no doubt that for many of us the holiday season increases levels of stress and feelings of overwhelm. And if you’re someone who puts everyone else before yourself, you likely put added pressure on yourself to make the holidays extra special for everyone. But for you, they’re often exhausting.
Taking time to prioritize self care isn’t selfish. Actually, it’s extremely important.
There are so many things that happen during the holidays that are out of your control. But caring for yourself isn’t one of them.
So, this holiday season choose to put yourself at the top of your list.
Prioritizing your wellbeing will help you feel better and it’ll allow you and your family to be more present so you can truly enjoy this season.
If you struggle to prioritize yourself and feel guilty saying no, grab my done for you scripts for saying no by filling in the form below. These scripts will help you say no without being rude or feeling guilty, and they’ll help you have more time for the things you really want to do.
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