The holidays can be a really stressful time for many people. Between financial stress, cooking and cleaning, and spending extended time with family, there are plenty of things to feel anxious about. Though the holidays are a busy time, it’s so important to take care of yourself as well. Take time to nourish your mental and emotional health, because that matters just as much as everything else. Here are some tips for how to practice self care this holiday season.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to take time to practice gratitude. With the new year fast approaching, now is the perfect time to sit and reflect over all the things that have come into your life in the past year. Think back to where you were a year ago and then think about where you are now.
You may not be exactly where you want to be, but you have come a long way. Take time to feel thankful for growing and changing. Thank your body, mind and heart for carrying you through this year. In moments of stress this holiday season, take time to practice thankfulness.
Setting boundaries is so important, especially during the holidays. This is probably when you are being inundated with obligations, family traditions, and the expectations of others. It is more important than ever to set boundaries. Don’t be afraid to say no to some things. It’s always okay to take a night in, or to not make those cookies this year.
It might also be a good idea to set some boundaries with your family. Do you have a family that always gets in fights about politics? Or maybe your family doesn’t approve of you or your lifestyle? If this is the case, it might be in your best interest to lay down some ground rules. Maybe it’s time to set the rule of “no talking politics at the dinner table”. Or, maybe you want to decide to only visit your family for Christmas lunch instead of the whole day. Figure out where your boundaries are and stick to them. Your mental and emotional health matter, so don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and what you need.
Rely on Your Support System
If you’re having a tough time during the holidays, there’s a good chance that your friends are too. Sit down and have a chat with your closest pals. What are they dreading? What are they looking forward to? What’s their plan for when their uncle starts saying racist things on Christmas morning? How are they gonna maintain their vegan lifestyle when their family refuses to respect it? What’s their plan for staying sane while sleeping in their childhood twin bed for a week?
Talk it out with your friends and then text them during the holidays! Check in on each other, send each other funny memes and encouraging words. Create a support group with your closest friends and let that be a source of care and encouragement during the holidays.
Take Time for Yourself
The holidays should be a time of peace and reflection, so create that for yourself! Alone time is important even if you have a bunch of family in town. It’s always okay to excuse yourself to your room for a few hours, to take a walk, or even take an extra long bathroom break. Do what you need to do in order to recharge and feel like yourself. It will be better for everyone if you do!
Yes, the holidays can be stressful, but they can also be really fun and wonderful. Allow yourself to be present by taking care of your needs. Take care of yourself first and everything else will fall into place.
Here’s wishing you a peaceful and happy holiday season!
Elizabeth Endara is a writer, advocate, doula, yoga teacher and cat mom based in NYC. She loves Great British Bake-Off, Eastern Europe, snug coffee shops and writing about her feelings. She is the co-founder of a feminist blog called Release the Women and you can find out more about her work on her website, ElizabethEndara.com