“Time with loved ones is a gift—don’t sweat the small stuff!
The holiday season is a source of stress for many of us – shopping crowds, traveling, cooking, party planning; the list goes on. There were many years I found myself worn down and burnt out during a time of year that’s supposed to be about celebration and joy. Instead, for me it was about exhaustion and stress!
I realized the problem was that I never made time for myself. I was so focused on everyone else: which presents do I still need to buy? When will I bake my holiday cookies? Where should I plan my holiday party?
Stress not only takes a toll on our mental health, but also our physical health.
Self-care is so important, especially during the holidays. Here are 4 tips that have helped me stay centered.
1. Express a little gratitude – get a gratitude jar
It’s so much easier to complain about our days and hectic holiday schedules, the annoying relatives who come visit and our obligation to entertain them, and the overall stressful expectations the holiday season brings.
Putting all the stress aside, this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on what you have verses what you don’t have. Where you are in your life versus where you’re not. Chances are, you’re surrounded by people you love and spending time with family or friends. Celebrating traditions, sharing stories and memories is sacred for me. I feel grateful having the opportunity to be with people who matter most in my life.
Most nights before I go to sleep, I spend a little time writing down one thing I’m grateful for and throw it in the gratitude jar. It helps put everything in perspective and turns a hectic day into a more grounded one.
2. Don’t neglect yourself
Pamper yourself. Take a long, luxurious bubble bath. Get a massage or listen to your favorite music. Make time to create a peaceful atmosphere to recharge your batteries. You deserve it!
3. Slow down – find mindfulness and meditation
It wasn’t until I started exploring mindfulness and meditation that I learned how to deal with the stressors in my life. Twelve years ago, I learned that meditation is something within us. It’s a state of being that we can teach ourselves. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a calm and peaceful state of mind amidst the holiday madness? Don’t use the excuse, “I’m too busy,” or “I don’t have time.” With enough practice, you can enter this state of mind anytime.
4. Spend some time outdoors every day
Spending even a few minutes outside is good for the soul. Hear and feel the crunching of the leaves or the soft snow beneath your feet or the sun shining in your face. Nature has a wonderful way of helping us let go of any mental and physical stress we’re holding onto.
What self-care tips will you be practicing this year?