Practicing Self Care During The Holidays
I remember as a child, watching my mom work endlessly and way beyond exhaustion so that we could all enjoy the Holidays. In my family, we celebrated Christmas and I think she was up until at least 3 am on Christmas eve and up by 7am on Christmas Day. She would be doing the last minute things that the rest of us hadn’t thought about or didn’t pay attention. I’m not sure if it’s like that in every family, but I know there have been a few Christmas’s that I’ve been up a little bit too late wrapping presents and what not.
As the holiday season approaches, the obligations and activities you engage in likely increases. For many people they need to prepare their own home, prepare some food for at least one event, and grab some gifts. That doesn’t include multiple family get togethers, work holiday parties, and other activities. If you have children the list of things you need to do likely increases, and includes: school holiday parties, school music programs, and gifts for the teachers.
Regardless of the expectations, obligations, or activities that you are engaging in during this holiday season I want to empower you to be able to engage in some very realistic and healing self-care. I have watched for decades as people just toss their self-care aside in an effort to be able to show up for other people. (I’m not going to address the inherent difficulties with that philosophy in this blog.)
Please also understand that in my experience, anything CAN be self-care. Sometimes for me, self-care is taking a nice hot bath and just letting go of all the stress. Sometimes self-care is eating that cookie that my body has been begging for. And sometimes self-care just means not having to explain or answer to anyone. My recommendations are as follows:
Prepare things in advance: I literally have all of my Christmas cookies baked (and have had them cooked since before Thanksgiving). I picked nights when my pain was way down, my energy was up, and I had the time to dedicate to baking. And I did that for several nights in a row until we had enough to achieve my goals. I literally use this philosophy a lot. I make bigger meals for my family on nights I don’t see clients because I have more energy.
Outsource What You Don’t Enjoy: Last year at Christmas time my daughter had most of her gifts wrapped at Amazon. I loved that concept! I really enjoy wrapping presents even though they don’t always look perfect. Can you even imagine how freeing it would be if you just outsourced things you don’t enjoy? If you don’t enjoy baking cookies, then buy some or pay someone to cook them for you. If you don’t enjoy shopping for gifts use Amazon. We need to stop engaging in things that don’t bring us joy.
Breathe: This is one I would love to encourage you to begin experiencing very regularly. Set the timer on your phone (microwave, desktop, etc.) for 45 seconds. During this time simply focus on how it feels to experience the air coming in through your nose and out through your mouth. That’s all I want you to do, just experience yourself breathing.
Check In With Your Body: I think this one is more difficult for those of us who are busy people or have experienced trauma. It’s important to just check in with your body and notice where you are holding stress. My recommendation to my clients is to just take 15 seconds and scan their body and notice how their body is feeling. It’s about making yourself a priority.
Stretch: I understand that we are all very busy, but you are worth it. I’m not talking about doing Pilates or yoga (although I do recommend both of those activities regularly). My recommendation is to just move your muscles, let the blood flow through them, and (again) check in with them.
Doing Your Best IS Enough: You can NOT be all things to all people. Realistically speaking, you cannot do it all alone, no matter how often you play a superhero in your head! It’s okay to say no, it’s encouraged to set limits, and you are better served by taking care of yourself first! When we take care of our self first, it helps us to be able to take care of others.
Hydration: I know so many people that only drink enough water so that they don’t develop migraines. Many doctors recommend we drink half our body weight in ounces of water each day. Drinking enough water helps us with so much in so many areas: hydration, energizes muscles, moisturizes the skin, and helps your kidneys.
Sleep: This is such an important one, specifically around the holidays! I can’t even begin to count the amount of times I have personally skipped sleep in the attempt to “get stuff done.” The reality is that when I do stay up late and try to get some stuff done, it is never done with the same quality as when I’m fully rested. Sleep has amazing healing benefits such as: decreased inflammation, increased mental clarity, improved clarity, and increased creativity.
I love being able to empower people to take better care of themselves. I think it’s a conversation we need to start while people are still in elementary school. That way, by the time we are in adulthood, it’s become a habit. I’m curious to know what your self-care habits are.
In the meantime check out my Self-Care Initiative. It’s designed to empower you
to establish the habit of Self-Care. Learn more about the Initiative here: