“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” No, I’m not talking about the epic Dickens tale – I am talking about the holidays. Don’t you just love the Christmas holidays? The time for giving, sharing, and as we all know, eating and drinking. Except, of course it can be a significant source of stress, pressure, and conflict for many of us. ... A lack of time and money, credit card debt, and the pressure of gift giving can often contribute to stress during the holiday season.
So, how can you take care of yourself this year to avoid the inevitable post-holiday slump? Here are seven tips I have found to help balance the festive fun while also making sure I can still maintain my holiday spirit:
1. Guard your schedule
The holidays can get crazy, especially when it comes to commitments and overloading your schedule. The best thing you can do to maintain your sanity during this hectic time of year is to keep your commitments to a minimum and only say yes to those activities you really want to do.
2. Guard your sleep
It can be tempting to stay up late at your office Christmas party or get up early to beat the sales at your local department store. But too many sleepless nights are a recipe for disaster during the holidays. Be diligent, get your sleep and you will be better prepared to keep your sanity this year.
3. Count your blessings
This may sound cliché, but a great way to practice self-care is write out what you are grateful for this year. Put it down on paper to show yourself all that you have to be thankful for. This is a great concrete reminder of how blessed you truly are.
4. Try something new
Traditions can be great; but putting too much pressure on doing everything perfect, can cause you to forget to try something new this festive season. Maybe instead of making Santa the traditional cookies and milk, you could try making fudge and spiked eggnog. Maybe instead of going carolling you could just drive around looking at the Christmas lights.
5. Detox from overstimulation
There are so many things vying for your attention this time of year. Be sure to schedule in some relaxation time each day to avoid the inevitable rush from activity to activity. Make some time to read a good Christmas book like ‘The Night Before Christmas’ by Charles Dickens or a ‘Winter’s Tale’ by William Shakespeare. Perhaps wind down your day with a quiet hot bubble bath and glass of mulled wine.
6. Limit social media
In the digital, fast-paced world we live in, it’s easy for stress to build. Cut down on the amount of time you are on social media. Not everyone is really having as good a time as they are posting on Instagram and Facebook. While we all know that people like to present their most idealised versions of themselves online (i.e. exotic holidays, toned bodies and impossibly well-decorated homes ), there's a lot more that goes into some of these "perfect" pictures than meets the eye. From a flawless complexion that only Photoshop can achieve to unbelievable bikini bodies that simply don't exist, plenty of high profile public figures have been called out for editing their photos to shocking extremes. Seriously, put your phone down and just enjoy your surroundings and those around you in real life.
At this time of year, hands may be red, rough, and raw, and skin may feel itchy and uncomfortable. Put on your facial moisturizer. Put on your lip balm and lather up your body with cocoa butter. Most of all, moisturize from the inside out with plenty of water. It is too easy to get dehydrated during the cold winter months. Yes, you would much rather have a Baileys and hot chocolate but limit yourself to one and remember you skin is an organ.
As we head into the holiday season, we can rest assured that we don’t have to run ourselves ragged making everyone else’s holiday merry and bright. Take some time to focus on yourself this year so that you can enjoy it from start to finish without feeling like you are simply rushing from event to event.
It’s okay to say no to some things if you don’t truly enjoy them. It’s okay to go to bed early and curl up with a good book. It’s okay to break free from monotonous traditions and try something new this year. And most of all it’s okay to put yourself as a priority.