It’s no secret that the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. Many people find themselves deeply immersed in all the trappings of the festivities, from shopping to planning gatherings to hosting out-of-town visitors. There’s a lot to consider at any given time, and it can be overwhelming to manage it all.
This is why it’s so crucial to make self-care a priority through it all. It can be easy to lose sight of your own needs when you’re wrapped up in handling everything else — often for everyone else but yourself. That’s especially true during the chaos of the holidays, when your primary focus may be on doing special things for the people you love the most.
However, the old adage about not pouring from an empty cup rings truer than ever at this time of the year. There’s no way you can give when you don’t have enough energy to spare — and that can make what is meant to be a joyous time of the year feel decidedly difficult to handle. Whether you’re simply sapped of energy or you want to get some of your mojo back so you can truly enjoy the spirit of the season, there are several things that you can do to make your self-care needs a more central focus.
It can be tricky to make self-care a priority when you’re constantly pressed for time. You can’t seem to squeeze together a moment to tend to your own needs when you’re juggling everything from your family life to your professional responsibilities, all while planning what needs to be done for the holiday. There’s no question that this can take a toll over time, but what you need to remember is that you can only be at your very best — in all areas of your life — when you are mentally equipped to carry the weight.
That begins with taking time out for yourself. It could be as quick as just a few minutes a day, so long as you do something just for you. Get up a few minutes earlier than everyone else, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and enjoy the silence. Step outside and go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Escape for even a short meditation or quick yoga session. Catch up with that friend who you’ve been meaning to call for a while. Read a chapter of a book that’s been collecting dust for far too long.
‘Tis the season to indulge in some of your favorite holiday treats. It’s easy to overdo it when you’re overwhelmed, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up over that. In fact, you should feel free to treat yourself to those tasty foods you love throughout the season. Cookies? Cake? Chocolate? Whatever it might be, now is the time to enjoy it.
At the same time, make regular movement a part of your day if possible. It’s not just to burn off extra calories but to carve out some time for yourself, relieve some of the pent-up stress you might be feeling, and increase your energy. You’ll feel more confident and pulled together when you work out, too, making it easier to handle whatever comes your way and check items off your to-do list daily.
You’re shopping and baking and planning — but you’re mostly doing all of these things for others. While it’s true that this is the season for giving, it’s equally important to give to yourself. In the same vein as taking time out to meet your own personal needs, make sure that you take time to pamper yourself from time to time. That can look different for everyone, but it should involve treating yourself in some form.
Book a spa appointment and get that manicure you’ve been daydreaming about for weeks. Buy yourself some beautifully festive flowers, like The Belen or The Frosted. Pick up that item you’ve wanted that’s finally on sale. Make plans with your best friend to escape for lunch or dinner. Whatever you choose to do, put all of yourself into it — no thinking about that pending to-do list while you savor these moments that are all about you and you alone. Remember that it’s completely okay to be a little selfish from time to time, especially when your end goal is to make sure you have enough emotional strength to give back to those you love the most.
It can be easier said than done when you’re caught up in the sheer business of life during the holiday season. But do your best to get enough quality sleep each night. Whether you’re overwhelmed by concerns about how to make all of your holiday plans a reality, you have a big business trip on the horizon, or you want to make sure this is the best Christmas ever for your family, you might be feeling some pressure.
When you prioritize sleep, you can face just about everything that comes your way with a different and entirely renewed perspective. Think of this as one of the best coping strategies you could add to your toolbox. Sleep helps you feel more alert, more energized, and more in the moment — all factors that are incredibly important when you’re spending quality time with your loved ones. So, in the name of better sleep throughout the season, don’t be afraid to decline that party invitation or to spend the weekend alone catching up on sleep. It’s completely worth it.
It’s far too easy to be influenced by what you see on social media. You might be wide-eyed at the sight of one of your fellow parents, seemingly effortlessly “doing it all” while you try with all your might to get everything on your holiday list done. It can make an already difficult task seem even more challenging.
Consider deactivating your accounts for a while if you feel you spend too much time on social media. No one needs the extra stress or the fear of needing to live up to certain expectations or standards. What’s most important is that you and your family are happy and healthy — and you can appreciate these things so much more when you’re fully focused on making special memories with them.
In the end, it all comes back to prioritizing your own needs. That is important year-round but takes on greater meaning during the fast-paced holiday season. Keep your own needs high on the list and feel the difference it makes to your well-being.