9 Tips for Caring for Yourself During the Holidays
Congratulations- you have made it through the first week of December! How are you doing with setting reasonable expectations for yourself this month? At a time when many folks get caught up in the no-win cycle of creating the “perfect” holidays, we hope you have figured out what is most important for you and your family over the next few weeks. We also hope you have been remembering to take care of yourself.
For many people, it is often easier to focus on giving to others than to ourselves, but we want to remind you how important it is to make sure you are in a good space. Holidays evoke lots of different memories and emotions for people, some of which can be stressful. Taking time to nurture yourself will help you feel grounded when others around you may be amped up and intense.
Here are nine (9) suggestions to take care of yourself as the holiday season builds:
- Remind yourself each morning what your goal is for the upcoming holidays. Whether it is to spend less money, attend fewer events, or to spend more time with family and friends (or all of the above!) giving voice to your vision each day will help you stay focused on what it is you truly want.
- Make a list of the things you need to do over the next week weeks, then use a backward planning strategy to figure out what needs to be done when. Planning ahead will save you lots of headaches, and will allow you to do a little bit at a time instead of getting overwhelmed with everything at the last minute.
- Go over your schedule and put in times each day just for you. Go for a walk, connect with friends, hit an exercise class, or just relax. The time is yours- use it however you want. Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself. You work hard and deserve it.
- Remember the basics: make sure you get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and do your best to maintain healthy eating habits. Plan your meals and snacks in advance. Spend some time slicing and dicing so you have healthy ready-to-grab snacks when you are in a hurry. Good choices include cut up veggies, fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs, and low fat string cheese. You can also pre-package baggies with nuts, whole grain crackers, and healthy granola.
- While it may seem like you are on the move enough already, try to get in some exercise at least a few times each week. Exercise is a great stress reliever, it increases blood flow and oxygen, and it’s good for your overall health. If this seems challenging right now, invite someone to join you. The buddy system can help you stay motivated.
- Cluster errands so you can cross a few things off your list in one shot. If possible, shop when stores are less crowded. Make sure you have a list with you to help you stay focused and so you don’t forget something and have to go back.
- Stay in touch with people who support you and lift your spirits. December can bring out the cranky in some people, so it is extra important to make sure you have time with people you love and enjoy. A quick phone call, a short visit, or even a few friendly texts during the day can help you keep things positive and fun.
- Spend time each evening reflecting on how you did during the day. Were you able to stay focused on creating the holidays you desire? Did you get enough time for yourself to relax? Was something missing you can shoot for tomorrow? Monitoring your progress toward the goals you have set will help you appreciate the hard work you have done, and can help you refocus if there are things you want to do differently.
- Before you go to bed, think of three things you are grateful for. Visualize those things and spend a few minutes remembering them. No matter how a day goes, try to end it with positive thoughts and feelings about the people you love, funny things that happened, or knowing you are making small steps toward reaching your holiday goals.
December can be a challenging month. There are lots of decisions to make and things to do, in addition to the responsibilities you already have. Remember that you can’t give what you don’t have. If you are tired and overwhelmed, it will be hard to do your best each day. Try some of the suggestions above, or other things that work for you, and take care of yourself. You have come a long way and every step you take gets you one step closer to your goals. You have the power to create whatever vision you may have. Keep up the good work, and let us know if there is anything we can do to support you.