Can you feel it already? The slight jaw-clenching? The tightness in your shoulders? The dull headache? The shortness of breath when you think about alllll the things on your schedule between now and the end of December?
I feel it—the inevitable stress that comes with the holiday season is definitely upon me, and the signals my body is using to tell me to slow down will only get worse the longer I ignore them. And regardless of how much you love your family and friends, this time of year can set us all on a path to slight internal destruction if we don’t pay attention and be deliberate about how we take care of ourselves.
That’s where self-care comes in. It might feel counter-intuitive to put aside some time for yourself over the next few weeks, but it’s necessary to remain healthy and sane. By taking time for self-care, you can:
- Prevent illness by not running your immune system into the ground.
- Prevent irritability by not being tightly wound.
- Better process those sweet treats that come with holiday parties by paying attention to your gut.
- Prevent and assuage anxiety.
- Be an overall kinder person because you have more of an internal reservoir to draw from.
Sounds great, right? But how do we fit it all in? Easy: We change how we think about self-care.
About a year ago, I realized that when my husband and I travel during the holidays, I spend a lot more time getting ready in the morning and getting ready for bed at night. I thought it was tiredness or laziness or something negative and felt a little annoyed and ashamed that I was taking so long in the shared bathroom.
Then I realized something that completely shifted my perspective: My routine was taking longer because it was the only time I was alone each day. Those 20 minutes in the morning and evening when I washed my face, did my hair and put on/took off makeup were my sole times to recharge from family gatherings. And let me clarify: The family members we visit are lovely and kind and generous and amazing people. It’s just that our schedules are usually booked and I don’t get my introvert-required down time.
So I changed how I thought about those morning and evening times. I turned them into rituals for self-care, thinking about how good it felt to be nourishing my skin with my face oils, how calming it was to press in my eye cream. I inhaled an aromatherapeutic scent and felt more relaxed and calmer when entering my day.
That’s a really easy one, right? Anyone can shift their thoughts around their getting ready time and voila! Built in self-care. But how else can you create a deliberate time to regenerate?
- Look at your calendar and mark one hour (any time during the week!) each week where you apply a face mask. Do not let anything else interrupt you.
- Plan a day where you binge watch holiday movies. And don’t feel bad about it—it’s a ritual for self-care!
- Meditate. Yeah, I know you’ve heard that a billion times. But can you do this 3-minute meditation before bed three nights a week? I think so.
- Set a bedtime. This one might feel a little tricky with all the events happening, but if you set an actual time that you want to go to sleep, you’ll be more inclined to leave a gathering when it’s best for you.
- Think about what routines you already have in your day. Is there a way your skincare, makeup, cooking or cleaning regimes can be therapeutic? How can you reframe them to be energizing and regenerating?
None of these tips are new; in fact, you’ve probably heard them all before. But have you put them into practice? Now’s the time, before the full-on craziness hits and you feel like you can’t make space. The holiday season doesn’t have to feel like a sprint—and we think it’s up to you to declare that your health is as important as that extra party you’re trying to fit into your schedule. 😉
So tell us: How do you create space for self-care during this busy time?