The festive season is upon us. It's easy to get swept up in the spirit of things and get distracted from turning your focus inward and practising self-care. As you embrace everything the holidays have to offer – spending time with loved ones, going gift shopping, hosting dinners, getting away with your family - taking moments for yourself only becomes more important.
Here are five helpful tips for practising self-care over the holidays.
Plan around stressful events
Whether you're a New Year's host, a sale shopper, or tend to stretch the budget past the breaking point, the key to avoiding all the stress that comes with these activities is to plan.
If you know you leave things to the last minute with shopping, do some online research and plan what you're getting, what you're spending, where you're getting it from, and when the quietest time to get it is.
If you're hosting, lean on your guests to lend a hand in bringing a dish, helping to prepare, or assisting with setting up and packing up on the day.
Do the things that fill your mental cup
If you spend more time giving your energy to others during the holiday season, plan a few activities just for you. Make time to do the things that refuel your mental energy, such as going for a solo walk, listening to some music, or reading a book. Even if it feels like you don't have time, it's essential to make time.
Don't overdo the indulgence
The holidays are used as a great excuse to binge on the things you might generally restrict yourself with, such as food portions and alcohol consumption. These things can directly affect your mental health if you overindulge, leaving you feeling exhausted, regretful, and guilty. Set yourself a limit and remember that you can indulge without overdoing it.
Reflect on your year
It's easy to remember negative events or situations that make you more anxious to bring on the start of a new year, but as important as it is to use those experiences as a learning curve, it's equally as important to reflect on the positive events, however small or simple. Set aside time to look back at your year – what have you accomplished? What could you have done better? What were your goals, and have they changed? What's your favourite thing that happened?
And don't forget to reflect on all the things you're grateful for!
“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more.”
- Dr Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.