Self-Care Practices for the Holidays


Happy Sunday! We are officially in the full swing of the holiday season! Generally speaking, when we think of the holidays, we think of happiness, family, fun, and cheer. Expectations can feel high this time of year, and we can be pulled in many different directions.

For many of us, if we don’t feel all the “right” feelings we are supposed to feel during the holidays, we think there is something wrong with us. I’m here to tell you that this is just not true. While wonderfully festive and fun, the holidays can bring up so many feelings that aren’t incredibly pleasant for so many of us. Loneliness, disappointment, sadness, and even anger can arise during this time.

It is my intention to give you some tools to help you take care of yourself and your feelings this holiday season. Here are eight simple self-care practices for the holiday season…

If you’re feeling stressed:

Give yourself permission to stop. To-do lists can be a mile long, expectations can be high, your presence can be demanded in many different places at once, and all that can feel very overwhelming! If you’re feeling this way, rest assured it’s natural, you’re only human! You can only do so much, please so many, and be in many places. Release the desire to be a superhero this holiday season, and strive to be the most well-taken care of version of you. You don’t have to do it all. You can say no. It’s ok to stop, and start again!

If you’re feeling lonely:

While holidays are historically a time for family, friends, and loved ones. Sometimes, loneliness sets in when we think that our lives don’t match the cheesy holiday version of what we think life should be. Some of us are missing family members, some of us are going through loss, some of us are struggling personally, and again that is all ok. Remind yourself that you can be your own best company. If you have down time or alone time, take advantage of it by starting to cultivate the very best relationship with yourself. Honor yourself and your intuition, and know that you don’t have to be with other people to be loved and accepted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed:

Remember to breathe. Our breath can work as the most basic and effective stress relief system available, when we remember to use it! Have you ever noticed that in some of the most tense moments of the day we usually aren’t breathing, or if we are, they are very shallow breaths? If the holiday events and to-do lists make you feel overwhelmed, remember you can always come back to your breath. Take a moment, close your eyes, and deeply inhale and exhale. It’s an instant mood shifter!

If you’re feeling confused:

Write it out. Whenever I don’t know how to make a decision, or am searching for clarity, I immediately reach for my journal. Journaling is a wonderful tool that has a myriad of benefits, but I find it most comforting when I’m searching for answers and getting stuck in my head. There’s magic when pen hits paper, and the inner workings of your soul come onto the page.

If you’re feeling frustrated:

Move your body. Whenever I feel frustrated, and can’t seem to shake it, moving through it physically helps immensely. There is so much healing to be received through mindful, enjoyable physical activity. Hit up a class that you love, or if you are short on time, take a few moments in your home to literally shake it out. It may look and feel silly, but vigorous shaking off of the bad vibes or the frustrating feelings is effective, I promise!

If you’re feeling angry:

Find activities that bring you joy, and do them unapologetically. Sometimes the holidays can make us feel like we are giving and giving and giving, and then we feel depleted and sometimes angry and bitter. What better antidote to this than doing something for yourself that brings you pure joy? Make time for self-care this holiday, and don’t feel guilty about it! My joyful activity go-to lately has been dancing, and truly I am so much happier exiting class each and every time. Rather than stewing on the things that are making you upset, be proactive and incorporate joy.

If you’re feeling distracted

Practice being present. The greatest present you can give this holiday season is your peaceful presence. We can be pulled into a lot of different directions during the holidays, which really can be stressful on the nervous system and our mental state. Rather than multitasking this season, try doing one thing at a time with purpose and intention. One thing I know for certain is that so many people often say that the holidays pass by so quickly. We can change that! Present moment living will allow you to fully savor the moments of the holidays, leaving you feeling satisfied and complete when the season ends.

If you’re feeling disappointed

Practice gratitude. The holidays can remind us of what might be lacking in our lives, I’ve definitely been there. Rather than focusing on what isn’t present in your life at this moment, try to come back to what is, and really honor it. Life can change so quickly, don’t take for granted the good that is in your life right now. Be grateful for the gifts of today to prepare for the fortunes of the future.

I hope these little antidotes give you some support this holiday season. Always remember to feel whatever you’re feeling, and know that it all passes in time!

Do you have any tips for managing the holidays? Share your favorite self-care practices below!

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