Practicing self-care can be especially hard this time of year. It is easy to get lost in the chaos of holiday shopping, cooking, parties and family gatherings. These are the same reasons that it is extra important to schedule time for yourself.
Physically, stress can lower your immune system, affect your sleep and lead to weight gain and chronic fatigue. Emotionally, stress takes away from the joy of the season. It is hard to enjoy holiday activities when you are sick and anxious. Self-care is vital to well-being. You deserve to be a priority in your life.
The trick is to make it part of your life. Establish habits that are a part of your daily or weekly routine. Start by putting yourself on the calendar.
Here are some practical tips to thriving this month:
- Schedule movement – Notice the word movement instead of exercise. You don’t have to go to the gym every day if that is not what gives you joy. Instead, try scheduling weekly walks with a friend, playing outside with the kids or riding your bike around the neighborhood to look at Christmas decorations.
- Make time for fun with those you love – movie nights with the kids, girl’s nights outs and time with your spouse don’t have to be formal or planned months in advance. One-on-one time with those closest to you allows you to relax and enjoy the connection we all need.
- Meditate or Pray – Whether you are talking to God or just listening to your own breathing, deliberate stillness can lower your stress level and wake up your creativity. You can also use this time to ask for patience with your kids or spouse. I have found many moments of miraculous peace by creating this quiet space.
- Limit the number of activities you host/attend – There is such a thing as too much fun. Too many scheduled events can turn a joyful holiday season into an anxiety-causing hurdle that must be survived. I learned this several years ago from my children, when planned outings resulted in tears several nights in a row. Now we pick a few activities to attend and balance them with home traditions, such as dinner by candle and Christmas lights or movie and popcorn nights.
- Take time for yourself – Put this on your calendar if you need to, but schedule time to relax. Maybe it is a hot bath and music or a book and a cup of tea. Take time to feed your own soul. You are worth it!
Enjoy this type of focus. You are creating connections with yourself and your loved ones.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!