We are coming up on one of the busiest seasons of the year. Some are spending quality time with loved ones. Others are struggling with missing loved ones. Still, others are finding it difficult to connect or feel at ease with their loved ones. It is a beautiful, magical season, but that doesn’t mean it’s free of stress or anxiety.
I don’t know about you, but as a mom of three juggling business, extended family, holiday parties, and my own expectations of the season, I sometimes sneak away to my room to look at my phone for a few minutes. Please tell me I’m not the only one?
While I wish there was a way to avoid the stressful parts of the holidays, we have to take the hard parts right alongside the joyful, magical parts. We can’t control sickness, last-minute cancellations of events or plans, or how other people behave. What we can control is our own reaction when unexpected or difficult things happen. As I’m gearing up for the holidays and giving myself a pep talk, I wanted to share it with you too!
You are doing the best you can. I know you are! Despite the hustle and bustle of this season, you have to take care of yourself. I’ve put together a list of my top five holiday self-care tips to help you (and me) take care of ourselves this year!
No. 1: Manage your own expectations.
Even as adults, we can have unrealistic expectations of what this time of year is going to be like. Nostalgia, Instagram, and the spiked Eggnog make you think life is like a Hallmark Christmas movie. I’m not saying this season isn’t wonderful but it won’t be perfect… at least not Hallmark Christmas movie perfect. An ornament might break, you might get your feelings hurt, you might get sad, you might be struggling with mental health issues, or all of the above—plus some. That’s okay. You are okay. Your crazy, dysfunctional family is okay. Check your own expectations and realize that every moment won’t be perfect, but the holidays can still be great! A great tip for managing expectations is to practice staying in the moment. Make a practice of finding (at least) one thing to be grateful for in each moment. Some moments may make it easy to reel off a whole list, but others will be more challenging. Just find one tiny thing to be thankful for in those moments.
No. 2: Find time to recharge.
Go outside. Take a walk. Take a bath. Be alone. Get quiet. Do whatever you need to do to rest and recharge. The holiday season tends to get so busy that it can be hard to carve out time for yourself, but make it a priority. Even a few minutes will make a huge difference.
No. 3: Drink water.
Yes, this is the most basic of self-care tips. And yet, can you honestly say that you’re drinking enough water? There’s a reason I include this as my first question when I’m running through the HEART Goals acronym. This is the quickest and easiest way to help myself. Stay hydrated and your body will thank you after the cookie exchange or that third or fourth glass of wine. Take that aforementioned bath. Play in the snow. Everything is better by adding a little more water—in all forms—and staying hydrated is one of the best ways you can take care of yourself. If drinking enough water is a struggle for you, think of a tiny change you can make to improve your water intake. Can you fill up a tumbler or water bottle when you make your morning coffee and commit to carrying it with you throughout your day?
No. 4: Remember your boundaries.
Yes, you have to wrap presents and run errands and see your family and take care of your precious children even when they’re hopped up on sugar, but know your limits. Know when you need to say goodnight and when you need to decline a second round of cards or the next drink. Be conscious of what triggers you and what you need to limit your intake of or avoid if at all possible. Say no when you need to say no. It’s a complete sentence and you’re not being selfish or rude if you say no.
No. 5: Do more of what brings you joy!
What’s the opposite of triggering for you? What gives you life? What lights you up? Try to incorporate more life-giving activities, people, places, and things this holiday season! We can easily fall into rhythms that are totally focused on others and forget to put ourselves on the list… don’t forget to do what you need to do to fill up your heart!
Want more holiday tips?
I’ve put together a whole workshop on Preventing Holiday Craziness. I’ve designed this to help you go through the holiday season intentionally. It includes brand-new printables and a series of videos to walk you through setting yourself up for success this holiday season. Style & Story Members get the chance to watch the videos live, but non-members can purchase the course here. Videos will be uploaded from December 1st through December 9th, and you’ll be able to rewatch them as often as you like!
Any questions about the course or holiday self-care tips you want to share? Let me know in the comments!