The holidays are festive and fun, but they also come with a lot of stress. Between social evenings, family gatherings, and all of the indulgences with food and alcohol, not to mention taking time for your normal daily obligations, this time of year can take a toll on your health. Which is why it’s so important to carve out time to take care of your own needs, too.
It’s not selfish to practice self-care. In fact, it’s the best thing you can do for your physical, mental and emotional health. And it has a positive effect on your family and how you approach each day. When you are taking care and pursuing ways to release or let go of stress, it will make your holiday season that much more rewarding. (Plus, it doesn’t have to take up much of your time if you plan correctly.)
Following are some easy ways to take care of yourself this holiday season:
Meditation / Breathing exercises.
When you first wake up, instead of allowing your mind to race because of your jam-packed day, take a moment to center. Set your intention for the day, whether it’s to slow down, enjoy more of what is going on around you, or to refrain from being reactive – this is how to begin each day. Focus on the intention, and take several deep breaths, concentrating on the flow of your breath for two to three minutes (or more if you like to meditate). This one step can alter your frame of mind for the rest of the day, and is well worth the effort.
You might not have time to attend a yoga class, but there are plenty of options, depending on how many minutes you can spare. There are several online tutorials on YouTube and in online fitness magazines to help you strike the right poses for calming your body, or stretching tight muscles, or just getting your circulation going. You can also try out fitness video streaming services like Daily Burn which includes many types of yoga videos. Yoga helps sync your mind with your body, so that you can be more mindful and patient going through your day.
There’s nothing like writing down your thoughts on paper to get them out of your head. Too often, we let things percolate and lead to stress and worry. Journaling is a good way to help give you perspective, and to release those fears and stresses. Pick up a pen this holiday season, and take a little notebook or treat yourself to a beautiful journal that you can tuck in your purse.
Nourish your body.
When you are rushing around, it’s far too easy to settle for fast food or unhealthy indulgences (like a double pumpkin spiced latte)! Instead of giving in to your cravings, which can also trigger stress in the body, opt for nourishment instead. Buy healthy snacks to keep on hand, like nuts or yogurt, and if you don’t have time to go to the store, check out meal kit services like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, which provide recipes and ingredients straight to your door – cutting out the grocery shopping.
There’s nothing like getting a massage or an acupuncture session to help alleviate stress in the body. If you are feeling run down, or need a little extra lift, book a treatment as a gift to yourself. It will boost your immune system in the long run so you can enjoy the holidays without feeling overwhelmed.
Bottom line: take steps to take care of yourself this holiday season. It’s the best gift you can give.