The holiday season has hit full swing, which means that you may be feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to get everything done. Between picking the perfect gifts and attending everyone’s parties, it’s easy to forget all of the wonderful tools you use during the rest of the year that help keep you centered. This season, don’t let the holiday rush leave you too stressed to enjoy everything. Instead, use this self care checklist to sail through the season.
For most people, daily exercise is the first thing to go when they get busy. While you may not feel like you have anything left to give a workout, try to remember that exercise has a funny way of restoring energy. Perhaps you can go for a walk in the morning before you do anything else, or join that new exercise class everyone is talking about. You’ll be grateful that you made this part of your holiday self care routine when you make it through the holidays with more energy, and the confidence that comes with knowing you put your needs first.
Avoid Excessive Eating and Drinking
It’s hard to avoid overindulging this time of year, particularly when there are toasts to make and tables decked out with delicious treats. However, drinking to excess or eating heavy meals may only make you feel worse the next day. Make a plan to minimize drinking by having a signature non-alcoholic cocktail in mind to request, and try sampling those delectable menu options rather than consuming a full meal. This way, you get a little of everything without overdoing anything.
Take Time Out to Grieve
Everyone loves to paint a happy picture during the holidays, but you may not always feel so cheery. This is also the time of year when painful memories of loved ones that are no longer here can surface. Be sure to include taking time out to grieve on your self care checklist. Perhaps choose positive ways to honor your loved one, such as lighting a candle, setting out a framed photo, or just sharing a special memory with someone. Give yourself permission to take a moment to acknowledge the loss and gently move forward.
Plan to Manage Challenging Relationships
Holiday events can also mean that you may not be able to avoid certain social interactions. Whether you dread having to see your ex-spouse or worry about how to respond to your coworker’s rude remarks, a little planning may help ease the sting of these painful situations. When you are in public, have an exit plan that helps you politely leave a negative situation, or rehearse a few words that make it clear someone has pushed your boundaries.
Check In With a Trusted Person
If you’ve struggled with mental health issues such as addiction in the past, now is a great time to establish an accountability partner who can help encourage you to stick to your holiday self care plan. This could be a professional counselor, your spouse, a sponsor, or a friend. Choose someone who feels safe, and who you can rely on to be there to help you right yourself should you veer off your healthy path this holiday season.
Get Restful Sleep
Too much stress combined with a tight schedule may also cause you to skimp on sleep. Avoid the effects of being fatigued by revving up your sleep hygiene. Start by making sure your bedroom feels peaceful (add cozy throws or blankets and pillows, soothing sounds, or perhaps even a diffuser of lavender essential oil), and consider leaving your electronics at the door. Then, establish a soothing ritual such as writing in a gratitude journal to set positive thoughts before you close your eyes.
It’s not too late to put a stop to the holiday stress and prioritize your mental health. When you make self care a non-negotiable part of your holiday preparations, you can look forward to each event with the awareness that you are prepared to smile and truly enjoy those special interactions.
Avalon Integrative Wellness offers an innovative approach to wellness and the exciting brand shift of our program emphasizes the importance of integrative wellness through experiential frameworks. Clients at Avalon Integrative Wellness learn, act, experience, grow, heal, and evolve, concurrently.