Self-Care During the Holiday Season

If there is one thing that I’ve learned about this time of year, it’s that its easy to burn yourself out on holiday cheer. There are so many things on the to-do list… The holiday season can be overwhelming in the extreme. It’s the end of the year, the beginning of winter. The days are short, the nights are long. That is why it is more important than ever to practice self-care around the end of December. By taking care of yourself, you can better enjoy the season and come out on the other side happy, rested, and ready for the new year!

Here are four ways you can better practice self-care during the holiday season:

1)   Be Aware of Your Health

Some might say that the holiday season is the unhealthiest time of the year. With holiday dinners and lots of sweets about, it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind and enjoy every bite. But this can really come back to bite you in the new year. Unhealthy eating can drain your energy level, something you need lots of during the holidays. Try to stick to your regular, healthy diet when you can, choosing the moments when you enjoy a little bit of holiday excess. The holidays can also consume a lot of your time, and things like exercise can take a backseat to gift shopping. Make sure that you stay active during the holidays. Exercise definitively helps to moderate your mood and stress level. In other words, active living keeps you jolly!

2)   Eliminate Unnecessary Stresses

When it comes to potentially stressful situations, the holiday season is jammed packed! Some of the old favorites are dinner with the family, going to the mall to buy gifts, and attending a staggering number of holiday parties. It can all be very exhausting and stressful. Instead of just plowing through the stress and coming out on the other side of the holidays exhausted, figure out what you can avoid. Holidays parties can be fun, but try to keep them to a manageable amount. If you decide that you can’t go to one, just be polite and say that you have other plans that night. Don’t worry, they won’t take offence. Last minute gift shopping at the mall can be overwhelming, with hundreds of parents and screaming children. So why not cut it out entirely and buy most of your gifts online? And then there are family dinners… Never be pressured into hosting the dinner unless you feel like you are prepared for it. If someone brings up something controversial over dinner, like politics, don’t be afraid to steer the conversation back to happier topics. By taking care of yourself and eliminating these sources of stress, you can greatly improve the chances that you will enjoy the holidays.

3)   Don’t Go Overboard on Gifts

We all know the pressures of trying to find that perfect gift to express how we feel. The search for one can actually be a lot of fun! But please, remember to keep your gifts to a budget. It can be easy to think “Oh, this just costs a few dollars more than what I was planning to buy,” but after you finish shopping, you might find that philosophy results in you going WAY over-budget. This can have a pretty big impact on your finances, especially in the new year. When you are planning your gift-buying, come up with an overall amount that you can spend. Then divide that amount among your friends and family and stick to it. Yes, the KitchenAid Stand Mixer might make for an incredible gift, but is it worth the overall hit to your wallet? Think about your favorite gifts that received in the past. Were they all incredibly expensive? Or were they all thoughtful? Keep that in mind when finishing up your shopping.

4)   Release Your Expectations of the Season

Christmas movies can be wonderful holiday traditions. You might have fond memories of sitting with your family and watching all of the holiday classics! It can be easy to forget that holiday films are just like any other kind of movie: fantasy. They can easily create unrealistic expectations of the season, that every single holiday season has to be magical. The reality is that every year, it will be different. You might have an amazing holiday one year, a blah one the next. Just because the holiday season isn’t “Christmas movie perfect” doesn’t mean that it’s a failure. Instead of wishing things were going better, look to what is going right. Enjoy the season in the moment, rather than wondering what might happen next. Think of the holiday season as gifts under the tree. They might not all be amazing (Plain underwear again? Thanks Grandma!), but take them as they come and don’t worry about what comes next. Be in the moment, and you can enjoy the holiday season as it truly is.

Contact Kathleen Joy, CEO of Lumiere Work to learn more.