With Christmas just a few days away, the hustle and bustle of the holiday is in full swing, leaving little, maybe even no time, for rest and relaxation. Between the list making while checking it twice, gift buying, wrapping, decorating, card sending, feast prepping, and let’s not forget, a partridge in a pear tree, on top of your day to day responsibilities, you may be finding you’ve become the last thing on your list. This disconnection from yourself and your needs will only leave you feeling frazzled and depleted long before the ball drops as you ring in the New Year. So why not take some steps to care for yourself this holiday?
I’ve outlined 5 tangible practices to provide yourself a bit of self-care even during this busy time of year, allowing you to truly enjoy all that the holiday season has to offer while ensuring your needs are met.
1. Set boundaries
Within Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong, she states that the most compassionate people are those that set clear boundaries. When I first read her words, I thought there’s no way that can be true, but as I’ve come back to these words, I’ve realized she is absolutely right (that Brené Brown is one wise woman). She speaks to the fact that compassionate people are not afraid to ask for what they need, and that their boundaries keep them out of resentment because they don’t agree to the things they don’t want to do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said yes when I’ve wanted to say no, and what I’ve found is my heart simply isn’t in it and I end up not giving the very best of myself in these situations.
Now, by no means will this be an easy practice, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the majority of your life people pleasing. But in reframing your thoughts on boundaries using Brené Brown’s concept, it makes the practice of setting boundaries a little less scary.
This holiday, maybe you take baby steps towards setting boundaries in your life. This could look like setting a time limit on how long you stay at a particular gathering or function, or agreeing not to discuss certain topics with certain people in your life because it makes your blood boil. It may even mean renting your own place rather than staying with your in-laws because that much togetherness is just too much. Whatever setting boundaries may look like for you, start taking these small steps towards it, and I have no doubt that will carry over with you into the new year.
2. Remind yourself you have permission to say no
This goes hand in hand with the practice of setting boundaries, and again it’s not always an easy practice, but I’m here to tell you- it’s okay to say no, and you always have permission to do so. This time of year brings about so many invitations to this party and that gathering, and let’s not even get into all the expectations set either by others or even yourself this holiday brings (at least not yet, anyways). And the truth is, it’s all just too much. So, rather than saying yes to everything that comes your way, only choose to partake in the things that truly fill your heart with love and joy. I promise, in doing so, you will provide yourself the space to truly enjoy the spirit of the holiday.
3. Be mindful of how you speak to yourself
I just mentioned the expectations this holiday can bring- from the holiday décor that looks like it came straight from a Crate and Barrel catalog, to the beautifully wrapped gifts, to perfectly behaved kiddos, to preparing a delicious 5-course meal, all with a smile on your face- are enough to leave you feeling less than adequate. I don’t know about you, but a few minutes of scrolling through my Instagram, and I’m questioning what I’m doing with my life. But rather than filling your mind with negative self-talk and doubt, remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, and I’m here to tell you, that’s more than enough.
4. Do something you love everyday
Now you may be thinking, “What the what?! You’ve listed all these things the holidays bring and now you’re telling me to do even more by doing something I love each day? Ain’t nobody got time for that!” I hear you, my friend, but I’m sticking by this practice, and here’s why- you deserve it! It also doesn’t have to be anything big or that takes up too much of your time. Maybe it’s as simple as treating yourself to that peppermint mocha because that hot drink of Christmas in a cup makes you one happy person, or maybe a soak in a bubble bath with your favorite essential oils is more your thing. Whatever it may be that brings you happiness, do more of it, because each of your days should be filled with the things that bring you joy.
5. Create space for quietude
This practice is a must for your own self-care and well-being during this time of year. Between all the holiday guests, gatherings, and holiday parties, Christmas can be quite stimulating and filled with lots of noise. With all that external noise, it can be extremely challenging to tune in to what feels true and authentic for you in any given moment, leaving you feeling ungrounded and disconnected from yourself. So, find some space for quiet. Maybe it’s as simple as enjoying the few minutes in the morning where you quietly sip your morning tea or coffee, while watching the snow fall outside the window before the rest of your family and guests awake. It could even be the few minutes before bed where you place one hand over your heart and one over your lower abdomen as you connect to your breath, following the rhythm and the movement of it fully and completely. You will be amazed at what just a few minutes of quiet can provide.
By no means is this a full list of all the self-care practices you can take during this merry, but very busy time of year, but I hope a few of them resonated with you. As I always encourage others to do, choose the self-care practices that will work best for you, my friend. Here’s to a cheery, joyous, and dare I say, relaxing holiday!
Tell me, what are some of your favorite self-care practices during the holidays?
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