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Christmas,  Health,  Life

12 tips for holiday self-care

Hi guys! Today I wanted to do a post on holiday self-care, because I know I can’t be the only one who gets stressed around Christmas time with trying to spin all the plates at once.

You’re trying to build healthier habits, get the house cleaned, finish up everything you have to do with work, go to the school plays, get all the shopping done, wrap the Christmas gifts, and all the activities that you’re going to do. It just gets mad.

The holidays can be a stressful time for many people, for a whole variety of reasons, and I feel like we’re too busy trying to micromanage everything that we completely forget about looking after ourselves. So I thought I’d make myself a list of everything that I could do to focus on myself and practise some self-care during the holidays, and I wanted to share it with you guys. Of course, this doesn’t have to be just around the holidays, you can use this list anytime that you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, or just generally not taking great care of yourself. Also, you don’t have to do everything that’s on this list. These are just a couple of ideas for you to pick and choose from.

So without further ado, here are twelve ways that you can practise self-care during the holiday season.

#1 – Stick to your routines

If you don’t have a morning and evening routine then I strongly suggest creating and trying to stick to them.

Your morning routine is just getting yourself ready, making sure you’ve got everything planned for the day and taking some time for yourself before the day gets too hectic. I would suggest starting your morning as calmly and grounded as possible before you start any of your tasks for the day.

With your evening routine, you’re just winding down and preparing anything you can for tomorrow. That might be a ten-minute tidy up, laying out your clothes, packing your bag, knowing where your keys and wallet are. Maybe decompressing with a hot shower, some meditation, journaling. Maybe some yoga or stretching. You’re just shutting down today, preparing for tomorrow and getting yourself in a calm mindset for sleep,

#2 – Get enough sleep

You may or may not have parties or gatherings to go to this year, or maybe you’ve got some zoom calls with people in different time zones, so I know that your sleep schedule isn’t going to be perfect. Just try to aim for getting enough sleep more often than not.

A lack of sleep is just going to add to your stress levels and make your day-to-day activities more difficult. Most people need about seven or eight hours of sleep per night, so try and aim for that.

Being well-rested is going to improve your mood, your thought process, your productivity, your ability to tackle the things that are on your list that you need to do and generally help you feel better.

#3 – Don’t do the unnecessary

If you don’t want to stay at the Christmas party till 2 AM, then don’t. Just leave when you’re ready. If you don’t want to spend hours cooking in the kitchen for the family to come round, then don’t. Ask everyone to bring a dish, make sure they know what they’re bringing so they’ve all got part of the meal to bring, or they can bring a dessert, and it saves you the hassle. If you get invited to an event that you don’t want to attend, politely decline.

If you’re afraid of getting into debt with all of the presents that you think you “have” to buy, then don’t. There is no shame in saying that you don’t want to get into debt for Christmas, in fact, that’s the preferable choice.

One thing that we do in my family to cut down on the Christmas spending is between the adults we do Secret Santa. So, the kids still get all theirs but each adult is only going to get one gift, which also means that each adult only has to buy one gift for the other adults. We set a spending limit, and it just works. Trust me, it’s saved us so much money in just the last couple of years that we’ve been doing it.

Know your priorities, ditch what you don’t care about and doesn’t add to your life.

#4 – Make time for joy

Surround yourself with things that make you happier. Listen to your favourite music, get nice and warm under a cosy blanket, watch a comedy that you’ve seen a thousand times before, light scented candles, take a drive and admire the Christmas lights.

In moderation, indulge in the things that you find taste amazing. Spend time practising your hobbies, spend quality time with family, spend quality time with yourself.

#5 – Make it an appointment

This is something that I think many of us, myself included, try to do and end up just pushing it back. Make an appointment with yourself and don’t cancel.

I’m saying that to myself more than you, trust me.

Schedule some time every day to focus on yourself. It doesn’t have to be a long time. It could just be watching one TV show without trying to multi-task at the same time, having a long hot bath, reading in a quiet room, even just spending five minutes focusing on your breath alone.

Make the appointment and show up for yourself.

#6 – Respect the budget

To do this you need to know what your income and outgoings are, so if you don’t know I suggest sitting down with a calculator and figuring that out.

Once you’ve done that, then you’ll know how much “fun” money you have left for gifts, decorations and impulse buys (which I don’t recommend, by the way, I just know that there is a lot more temptation around this time of year.)

Every time you make a purchase you should do two things: first, you should check that it’s within your budget before you even purchase it, and then after you’ve purchased it write it down. Adjust the budget.

There’s nothing worse than forgetting to take away something that you bought and thinking that you’ve got more money than you do. Then you get to the bank and you realise that it’s all gone, and you have no idea where it went. Having less money in the bank than you thought you did will just cause long-term stress.

Also, don’t trick yourself by saying “I can pay that back later” and getting yourself into debt, because if the pandemic taught us anything it’s that we don’t know what the future holds, and later always comes quicker than you thought it would. You’ll probably end up paying back more than you borrowed in the first place too.

#7 – Practise gratitude

I know that you’ve probably heard of this tip before. You probably even tried it and couldn’t stick to it for one reason or another. Maybe every time somebody mentions it you ignore it thinking “yeah, tried it. It’s not for me.”

But it doesn’t have to mean you have to write down ten things at the end of the day, or even three things. You don’t even have to write them, and it doesn’t even mean you have to carve out any special time for it.

I know it sounds kind of wishy-washy, but it has been proven to improve your mindset so it’s gotta be worth a go.

Two good ways to ease yourself into doing this daily are to stack it onto an existing habit, and only pick one.

So, by habit stacking I mean to add this onto something that you already do every day naturally without even thinking about it. It’s on autopilot. Like brushing your teeth, getting your pyjamas on, getting ready for bed, turning off the TV and all the lights.

While you’re doing those things just think of one thing that you are grateful for that day. Maybe you were on time for the train that day, maybe you went through all the traffic lights and they were all green. Maybe you got to work on time, or you left on time. Maybe you had a conversation with somebody that you care about (or avoided a conversation with somebody that you don’t care about!)

Anything that made your day 1% brighter.

#8 – Fight the procrastination

If you know there’s something that you need to do and you’ve been putting it off, stop that.

Leaving it till the deadline is just going to add to the stress and anxiety of getting it done. Plus, you’ll be worrying about it all the time that you’re putting it off. Also, you might end up rushing at the end and it won’t be your best work.

Whether it’s writing cards, answering emails, cleaning your kitchen or anything else, just focus a little bit of time each day to work on it. Maybe you just write two cards or only answer 5 emails, maybe you only clean one cabinet or declutter one drawer.

Progress is progress.

#9 – Know your limits

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we still get overwhelmed and burnt out.

If you’re feeling the strain or you’re really struggling, stop. You might just need an hour, or maybe you need a whole day.

You need to take a break, rest, and regain your energy and motivation.

#10 – Right here, right now

Yes, it’s good to reflect on the past, and it’s also good to think about and plan for the future, but it’s also so important to be here in the present.

Put down your phone and enjoy your meal without any distractions. Turn off the TV and have a deep conversation with your loved ones. Appreciate what you have now and the people that you have in your life.

Enjoy the views when you go outside. Listen to your surroundings. Smell the air. Appreciate the warmth of the clothes on your skin. Get lost in the taste of your coffee.

#11 – Get back to basics

Sometimes self-care can just be covering the basics; food, water, sleep, family and friendships, for example.

  • How have you been eating?
  • Are you drinking enough water?
  • Have you been getting enough sleep?
  • Have you spoken to your loved ones recently?
  • Have you taken your medications?
  • Have you moved your body today?

#12 – Seek support

Sometimes you just need to vent to a friend, a family member, an online forum full of strangers who are going through the same thing that you are.

Other times, you might need to speak to a professional. There is nothing wrong with needing or asking for support. Not only is it not shameful or bad, but it’s actually very human to need help and it’s incredibly brave to ask for it.

Nobody likes feeling vulnerable, but there are people out there who will respect you and give you help when you’re struggling.

I feel like this year I’m going to be referencing this list more than I would any other year because this is the first time I’m going to be spending Christmas night alone.

I went from my childhood home to living with my partner at the time and our kids, and this year the kids are going to their dads for Christmas night. So, this is the first one I’m ever spending alone and I don’t know how I feel about that.

I don’t know if it’s going to be really great that I get this time to myself and I can do whatever I want. I can watch whatever I want on TV, I could go to bed at whatever time I want, I can drink all the coffee, I can do whatever, but also I’m gonna be alone for the first time. I don’t know how I’m gonna handle that. I don’t know if it’s going to be a good thing or a bad thing. I’m really not sure.

I just think that it’s really important that I’ve looked after myself so I’m not stressed out and I can just enjoy that time.

I hope you found these tips helpful. Till next time.

Elimy X

Holiday self-care

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