It's that time again! For 11 months of the year I live for the holiday season - the decorating, the music, the festivities - but for many, the stress of it all is overwhelming. Here are 6 tips to keep you functioning at your best.
I think the reason I love Christmas so much is because of how fulfilled I feel throughout the month of December. It's a time for wishing and giving! From walks through tree lit parks to evening drinks with friends, I make sure I'm making the most of the entire month.
But not everyone loves the holidays. In fact, many people dread the chaos that comes with a calendar full of events. Don’t get me wrong, it can be a very stressful time of year and cause a lot of anxiety - even for me. There is so much to remember and more social activity than I care to think about; it can be hard to prioritize your own self-care.
I'm certainly not immune to the holiday chaos but over the years I have developed my strategy for coping. It allows me to avoid and reduce much of the stress so I can enjoy Christmas the way it should be. If it sounds like you could benefit from this, keep reading!
Remember: even though the holidays are about family and togetherness, you need to make some time for yourself, to mentally and physically recharge.
Here are 6 ways to squeeze in some self-care during the busiest time of year:
1. Block off a little time in your calendar.
It's very easy to jam December full of commitments so that every single day is spoken for. Sure, it's exciting to think about meeting up with old friends, new friends and family but busyness is probably the biggest contributor to stress. When you don't allow yourself enough down time, you set yourself up for a crash. So, if you want to enjoy the holidays, do it on your own terms: don't commit to everything and block off a few days for self-care activities. Have a movie night; bake one of Grandma's recipes; take a long walk and look at the lights; or cuddle up with a book. The important thing is that you do something enjoyable on your own terms.
2. Make bath time festive.
Take a relaxing activity, infuse "festiveness", and repeat. The result: you'll begin to change the way you think about the holidays. I find myself taking more baths in December for this very reason. I drop in a holiday bath bomb, light my green and red candles, and play some soothing Christmas tunes. (You can also set up a tablet or laptop and watch one of your favourite holiday flicks while recharging in the tub.) This will give you some much needed alone time and you'll feel the stress melt away!
3. Plan ahead and minimize your running around.
(1) When it comes to social events, plan it, schedule it, stick it in your agenda. This is so important! You typically know in advance which events you'll be asked to attend. Before you even get an invitation, plan ahead and decide which ones will make your list and which you can do without. Remember: don't over-commit and don't schedule over top of your self-care days (as tempting as it might seem). No one should expect you to take on more than what you can manage.
(2) When it comes to holiday gift shopping, start writing down ideas for people as they come to you. Don't wait until December. Better yet, start buying a few things early to make sure they don't go out of stock. I prefer to do most of my Christmas shopping online to avoid the stress of busy mall shopping. And getting it done early means I don't have to worry about when my packages will arrive. Imagine how much you'll enjoy December if you've already finished your shopping!
4. Get your rest.
Don’t let holiday activities leave you feeling bagged. Start wrapping your presents early. Online shop during your break. Sleep in after a late night. If you start feeling overwhelmed then ask for help. Just because you're the best wrapper or buy the best gifts doesn't mean you should do it all yourself. Your loved ones should be more than willing to help you, especially if it helps you be the best version of you over the holidays. Remember: sleep is the foundation for everything. Keep a solid foundation and you'll do well to avoid getting overwhelmed.
5. Give yourself a present.
I know this might sound a little silly since you'll be receiving a bunch of gifts already but sometimes an early present is a great way of rewarding yourself. It doesn’t have to be extravagant - just a little something to acknowledge your hard work. Maybe it's a bath bomb to enjoy in the evening or maybe it's an appointment at the nail salon. Be kind to yourself this holiday season and don't let the stress of planning get the best of you.
6. Find some time to exercise.
The holidays seem to be all about excess. Excess food, drink, spending, running around, you name it. It leaves us feeling constantly full, foggy-headed and exhausted. Making time to exercise can help! By adding just a little physical activity into your holiday plans, you will put your body and mind into a better place. You can incorporate it into your daily chores, so you won’t even notice it. Or when you're out shopping, take the longer route through the mall to earn those extra steps. To help you wind down in the evening, go for a walk and check out the Christmas lights.
Hopefully these ideas can give you some peace of mind and relaxation this coming holiday season. If you have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below.
Thank you for reading.
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