How to Practice Self-Care During Holiday Stress?
Holiday Stress. Self-care means different things for different people, but during a stressful time period, we often put our own needs on the back burner. There never seems to be enough time to cross everything on our to-do list while the new bullet points only seem to add themselves, and there never seems to be enough time to stop and take a deep breath as we’re worried if we do so, we’ll already be behind our busy schedule.
But it’s in times like these when self-care matters the most. When we’re able to turn a stressful situation around and bring our minds and bodies in a good state after just a few minutes of centering ourselves or a moment to connect with our spiritual side, we can look at the problem from a different perspective and open the possibilities for different outcomes.
Not to mention how self-care does wonder for our overall health and well-being. It can help lower our stress levels, improve our self-esteem, and even strengthen our immune system. It can also help us be better to ourselves, teaching us self-love and how we as individuals matter. Because if you’re not happy and relaxed, how will anyone around you be? Always fill your own cup first. That’s when you’re the most capable of helping others.
That being said, here are some of the best ways to practice self-care during holiday stress.
Practice Self-Care Through Food
Food is at the center of every holiday tradition and gathering and by now we all know that most of these traditional foods aren’t necessarily the healthiest. There are always plenty of sugars and a variety of heavy dishes that keep on being carried out through generations. Now, you may want to switch things up this year and do some renovations to existing recipes when hosting at your house, or you might want to focus on your nutrition outside the holiday meal traditions and leave them as they are.
Self-care in the form of nutrition comes in two aspects: adding foods and superfoods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other important plant nutrients, and not stressing about the foods you’re not used to eating on a daily basis. There is no reason you should abstain from your grandma’s Christmas cake or your aunt’s famous gravy. Just focus on the meals and choices you make around these foods and gatherings and practice self-care through nutrients.
Practice Self-Care Through Movement
Whether you go for a long walk, lace up and run a few loops around the park, hop on your bike and explore your hometown, it doesn’t matter as long as you keep on moving your body. Self-care in the form of movement is one of the most essential ones as it helps improve your immune system, promotes better blood circulation, keeps your muscles working, and stimulates every cell in your body to increase nutrient absorption and help you burn fat.
The point is to find those activities that bring you joy and instead of adding stress into your body, help it melt away. If you’re not a morning run kind of person, sleep in. If you’re more of a walker than a biker, let your legs carry you away. And if you’re more interested in stretching than pumping it out in the gym, roll out your yoga mat and move with your breath.
Practice Self-Care Through Mindfulness
How many times have you caught yourself doing something so automatic you barely even remember doing it in the first place? Practicing mindfulness and being mindful means you’re living in the present moment, aware of not just your surroundings and your actions, but also your mental and physical state. It all starts with focusing on your breath as at any given moment, it’s the only thing you do without stopping.
Your inhales and exhales serve as a rhythm you can use to notice energy and vibration running through your body. You can also use them to help you increase awareness of your sensations and feelings and even find a way to dissect your thoughts and put them in their rightful place.
On the other hand, practicing mindfulness has been linked to lower stress levels and inflammation, helping you move from fight or flight to rest and digest, allowing your body to relax and recharge.
Practice Self-Care Through Prayer and Meditation
If you’re a believer, you already know the incredible power prayer can have on your overall physical and mental state, and if you’re not regularly participating in it, try meditation. Both of these self-care techniques are deeply rooted in your inner self, helping you find your purpose, discover self-love, and ultimately improve your health and longevity.
Practice Self-Care Through Stress-Reducing Routines
When you mention self-care, most people’s minds immediately go to soaking in a bathtub or getting a spa treatment. And although for some, that might seem like one of the best possible self-care routines in the world, others struggle with feeling the same. That’s why it’s important to find and discover those self-care techniques that work exclusively for you.
Whether it’s reading a book, cooking, dancing, listening to music, or going out for a run, it doesn’t really matter as long as it helps you de-stress. Give yourself permission to try and error with these things as it may take time to find something that helps you more than sitting in a hot tub.
Practice Self-Care By Honoring Your Wishes and Needs
At the end of the day, what’s the point of holiday parties and gatherings if you’re not enjoying them? Say no when you mean it, don’t put too much on your plate if you can’t manage to get everything done, politely refuse another slice of cake if you don’t want it, and take care of your own wishes and needs. No one else will do it for you!
There’s nothing worse than stressing about things you cannot change or even those you can’t but simply cannot find the time for. Every year, millions of people around the world celebrate holidays, and every year, they say it’s one of the most stressful times of the year. It’s also supposed to be the most joyful and happy. Lean into that and tap into those feelings.
No one will remember if you forgot to make seven different Thanksgiving pies or how your table runner wasn’t perfectly ironed, but everyone will remember how they felt. So, make these holidays count by taking care of you so you can be at your best.