If you’ve ever gotten sick, or felt rundown over the holidays, you’ve experienced the fallout of holiday stress. We could attribute it to the weather, or being around more people, but we can’t ignore that the increase of colds, illness, and fatigue over the holidays is directly connected to the stress that comes with this magical time of year.
In November and December you are likely …
- socializing more
- spending more
- doing more
- eating more
- sleeping less
If self-care doesn’t come naturally, and you still insist on putting everything else before your own needs, you probably go into over-serving mode during the holidays. You go out of your way to make sure everything is ready, and everyone has the “best holiday ever.” Sound familiar?
If you fall into that camp, or if you are just interested in taking extra good care of yourself over the next 2 months, try one of these 30 simple ways to take care of yourself during 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.
I love listening 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, and decorations.
8. eat well
Indulge in your favorite holiday treats, but eat really well during 85-90% of the time. Eat greens at every meal, even breakfast. Don’t eat the junk you don’t really care about just because it’s there, and savor the first few bites of your all time favorites. You’re an adult now so you don’t have to clear your plate, try everything, or eat as if you’ll never get another chance. This isn’t the only time of year to eat cookies. (that’s mostly a reminder for me)
9. be intentional
It’s easy to get swept away this time of year, but staying intentional will soothe your soul. I did this interview last year with my friend Jess Lively about how to approach the holidays with more intention.
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.
Make room for holiday magic to unfold and cancel some of your planned activities.
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 run high during the holidays, but much of what runs 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-life holidays.
19. find the blessings in your messes
For some reason we really like to beat ourselves up at the end of the year for all that we’ve done and left undone. Sometimes it takes a big, heart wrenching mess to wake us up, to inspire change, and to finally release us from the guilt of getting there in the first place. When our imperfections are splattered all over the floor, it becomes clear that we had to go through it, to get to the lessons, and then the enormous blessings.
19. make a love list
Don’t worry about being right. No one wins that fight. If you can’t apologize for what happened, try “I’m sorry we aren’t as close as we were. Can we start over?” or “I’m sorry I hurt you.”
It’s not too late. Your forgiveness will not only heal their hearts, it will heal yours. P.S. You don’t need an apology to forgive someone.
22. be grateful
Directing more of our attention towards gratitude for the things that make our lives wonderful are scientifically proven to make us healthier, more energetic, less stressed and anxious, and help us get better sleep.
23. say goodbye to guilt
The very first thing you have to do to say goodbye to guilt is determine if you are actually guilty. Usually guilt is not guilt at all, but instead it’s sadness that you couldn’t do more to help, disappointment that you didn’t achieve something you set out to do, or anger because you said “yes” to something that deserved a “no”. Still guilty? Say goodbye.
24. redefine abundance
If we could stop equating abundance and wealth with extra zeros, all the toys, and more of everything, our self-worth would be more valuable than our net-worth. We could finally be grateful for the things we have instead of bitter for the things we don’t. Abundance is a full heart, not a full house.
There are so many opportunities to give, so many people and organizations in need. Pick something close to heart and give the way you want to give instead of how you think you are supposed to give.
26. 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.
28. let go
There are benefits to moving through life, work, and relationships with a lighter step, a lighter look, and a lighter heart. If we want to be light, we have to let go.
29. 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.
30. be love
Instead of working so hard to please people, do it all, 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.