It’s the most wonderful time of the year once again!
While definitely the most festive, the holidays can also come with a lot of exhausting activities—from setting up the tree to gift shopping—that evoke a different level of stress.
Amid all the preparations, it’s easy to put taking care of yourself to the back burner.
However, mental health experts assert that taking care of yourself during the holidays is crucial to your overall emotional and mental wellbeing.
Top Ways to Take Care of Yourself During the Holiday Season
Below are some small but impactful ways you can look after yourself accordingly during the holiday season:
Tip 1: Find time to check in with yourself.
Carving out regular time for yourself should be non-negotiable just like brushing your teeth.
Set aside anywhere between ten minutes to an hour for selfless self-care.
Contrary to popular belief, self-care is not selfish—it is vital for your overall well-being.
Remember that even the energizer bunny needs to recharge its batteries.
Tip 2: Cultivate gratitude.
When you are truly grateful for something, it will not only warm your heart, it will also put you in another space emotionally.
Gratitude can help take you out of your negative thinking patterns and help you zero in on the positive things that are going on in your world.
Gratitude is not just about the grand things in your life.
It is also about the small and seemingly ordinary things.
To practice gratitude, think of something positive or good about your day.
It can be as simple as having your favorite food on the table or having heat during a cold day.
Tip 3: Have realistic expectations.
Setting realistic expectations is one way you can protect your peace and mental health during one of the most jolly times of the year.
While you can always strive to have a holiday that goes as seamlessly as possible, it is crucial to recognise it won’t always go exactly as you like.
It’s perfectly okay to skip the holiday cards or other activities you can’t find time for.
It is also ideal to set boundaries and decide what you can afford.
Some studies show that people appreciate small gifts or tokens as much as they do big ones.
Tip 4: Be intentional.
Setting intentions for the holiday is another effective way to keep any stress at bay.
Setting intentions can help you live in the moment and prioritise important tasks.
Start by asking yourself what your intentions are for the holiday season.
Would you like to be more grateful? More kind to yourself? More loving?
Whatever your intention may be, write them down and create an affirmation out of it.
More importantly, make sure your actions and thoughts align with your intentions.
Tip 5: Stay connected.
If you feel lonely because you can’t be with your loved ones and friends during the holidays, find novel ways to interact with them while still adhering to safety and social distancing protocols.
For instance, you can set up a Zoom happy hour.
You can also spend some quality time with friends wrapping gifts.
You can also do crafts and other activities with those dearest to you even if not face to face.
You can also FaceTime with loved ones and friends over a holiday meal,
Tip 6: Practice self-compassion.
Being forgiving, kind, and compassionate to yourself are powerful ways to take care of yourself during the holidays.
Berating and criticising yourself will activate your sympathetic nervous system (this prepares your body for the fight or flight response) and elevates cortisol (the body’s stress hormones).
Self-compassion and self-love can help lower stress and increase productivity.
It can also keep you calm even during difficult and stressful times.
Over to You
If you experience stress and anxiety over the holidays, stay on top of the situation by setting boundaries. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for help or politely decline any activities, tasks, or gatherings when you are feeling overwhelmed.