This holiday season we may be feeling a little weary, a little concerned, a little excited, relieved, anxious, sad, happy … whew, all the feelings. No matter how you feel about the upcoming holiday season, consider this article an invitation to take extra good care of yourself over the next few months.
Self care during the holidays will help you feel better and more relaxed through a more challenging time and perhaps inspire new habits and interest in putting yourself first in the new year and onward.
25 Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself Over the Holidays
1. morning routine
If every day, you make a little time for yourself first thing, you can move through your day with more grace and intention. Your morning routine might only be 5 minutes long to start, but even that will help. Use the time to sit quietly with a cup of tea, meditate, journal, walk, or include other activities that feed your body, mind, heart, and soul.
listen to music with candles burning or just sitting quietly in candlelight. As the days get darker, add light to your day.
3. 31 Days of Gifts You So Deserve
Yes, it’s coming back. I’ll be making an announcement soon for 31 Days of Gifts you so Deserve. This daily email program will help you engage in the best parts of this magical time of year.
4. take a walk
Go outside and take a walk. Bundle up if it’s cold and head out with the intention of noticing the magic. Don’t worry about burning calories or tracking steps, just enjoy yourself.
5. respect your budget
Once you figure out what you can spend on extras like holiday gifts, events, and other holiday things, honor that. If you splurge now, you pay even more later. And later comes sooner than you think.
When/if you are buying gifts, decline to leave your email address with a merchant. If shopping online, check out as a guest and don’t accidentally subscribe to email lists. They make it really easy for you to opt-in, but you’ll save the stress of future sales and shopping promos arriving daily in your inbox by opting out.
7. one in, one out
Stay clutter-free, or at the very least, avoid adding to your clutter by sticking with a one in, one out rule. For each thing that comes in, another goes out. Apply this rule to gifts, clothing, events and decorations.
8. be unconventional
Bubble baths and massages are nice but that’s not the only way to do self-care. Try one or more of these 8 unconventional ways to take better care of yourself.
9. say no
10. only decorate with your favorite things
If you’ve been accumulating holiday decor for years, or decades, chances are your most meaningful, favorite things don’t get a chance to stand out. Start by only decorating with your favorite things instead of all the things. If that resonates with you, box up the rest or donate it if you love the simpler holiday wonderland you create.
Cancel some of your planned activities and make room for holiday magic to unfold.
Give your body and brain a chance to recharge on those go-go-go holiday marathon days. Even 20 minutes will make a big difference.
13. read an actual book
Close your computer and other digital devices and curl up with a good book. Instead of reading something for self-improvement or work, read something for your heart.
Call or spend time with the person that makes you laugh harder than anyone else. Then laugh until you cry.
Emotions can run high during the holidays, but much of what goes through our heads never needs to be said out-loud. Instead, write it down. Write down how you are feeling, and what makes you happy, sad, angry, or frustrated. Putting it on paper gives you a chance to clear your mind and move through your day with less bottled up stress.
Finding the perfect gift is often stressful and expensive. Instead, find a meaningful gift. Give a friend your favorite book and write something to them on the inside cover. Give someone a beautiful vase you never use full of flowers, or look for other things you can pass on with love.
17. go internet-lite
If you aren’t sure how hyper-connectivity is affecting your life, try to remember the last conversation you had that wasn’t interrupted by a ding or a ring. Or, look around any restaurant, grocery store, or waiting room and see what percentage of people are looking into a screen. If you want to scale back, check out this guide to internet-lite holidays.
18. make a love list
19. be grateful
Directing more of our attention towards gratitude for the things that make our lives wonderful is scientifically proven to make us healthier, more energetic, less stressed and anxious, and help us get better sleep.
There are so many opportunities to give and so many people and organizations in need. Pick something close to your heart and give the way you want to give instead of how you think you are supposed to give.
21. make something
Be creative. Write a poem, start a book, get out the finger paints and a big piece of paper, and express yourself. Make. Create. Enjoy the process with no expectations.
Frustrated? Breathe in. Breathe out. Worried? Breathe in. Breathe out. Overwhelmed? Breathe in. Breathe out. Confused? Breathe in. Breathe out. Exhausted? Breathe in. Breathe out. Start there and you can often avoid over-thinking and over-reacting.
23. let go
There are benefits to moving through life, work, and relationships with a softer step, a gentler look, and a lighter heart. If you want to be light, you have to let go.
24. full stop
If you’ve already overdone it, consider a full stop. Sometimes backing off isn’t enough. Take a whole day to yourself and vow to do nothing more than take care of yourself all day long.
25. be love
Instead of working so hard to people please, get it all done or control the world, just be love today.
Take care of yourself over the holidays. It’s the best gift you can give yourself and everyone you love.