Read Time: 5 Minutes
The holidays can easily introduce us to a roller coaster of emotions – the excitement of celebrations, and family reunions can easily be dimmed by the stress of travel, long lines, hurtful remarks, and seeing people that you have strained relationships with. This December, don’t forget the “me” in merry by practicing holiday self-care. Here are some simple self-care tips for the holidays that’ll help you enjoy the season without compromising your mental and emotional health.
#1 Plan Ahead
The holidays can be hectic – the short break you get for the season can quickly fill up with activities vying for your time and attention. Just looking at your commitment list can be overwhelming!
Plan ahead and take some time to choose invitations that you’ll be happy to attend. One of the best holiday self-care ideas you can give yourself is to not pressure yourself to attend every party or event. Take the time to ask “Will going there make me happy or emotionally exhausted?” Planning ahead can save you from investing time on gatherings that’ll just drain you.
Making a list of your travel plan can also spare you the stress of holiday traffic jams, and busy airports!
#2 Avoid Passing Judgment
It’s inevitable not to people watch during the holiday festivities. There will be people who’d stand out, and it takes no effort to catch yourself passing judgment to them. When negative impressions cloud our judgment, we often fail to be mindful.
Instead of passing judgment, exchange a kind word to people instead. If you’re uncomfortable with small talk, choose to brush away negative thoughts and enjoy your peace.
#3 Remind Yourself that You are More Than Auntie Cathy’s Catty Comments
Gathering with relatives during the holidays can be synonymous to hearing comments that don’t sit well with us. Comments about our weight, relationship status, and even work can be exhausting and debilitating to our self-esteem.
If you hear an auntie say a catty comment like “Oh you’ve gained a lot of weight!” try to remind yourself that you are more than those remarks. Keep the bulb signs in your mind that say “You’re more than your weight, or singleness, or work status!” alive during the celebrations.
A part of the holiday self-care is also being mindful of people who keep giving hurtful judgments. It pays to observe what causes them to say words that sometimes hurt. When you discover the reason – some of them can’t simply find a good topic for conversation- their behavior towards you can start to make sense.
#4 Take a Breather
Take time to create your holiday meditation routine. Find some time to take a break from the hustle and bustle and dedicate 30 minutes to an hour doing meditation, listening to soothing music, or exercising. Moments of peace and relaxation are also an ideal time to pause, and check in your feelings.
Write down your feelings and assess what’s positively and negatively affecting you. These could be great things to heal around or work on starting now and over 2020. Having some quiet and relaxed time for yourself – and for your feelings! – can save you from feeling burnt out and unhappy during and after the holidays.
#5 Go Easy on Expectations
One of the secrets to prevent holiday stress is to go easy on expectations. There are some things we can’t control – it’s time to remind ourselves it’s okay. Instead of ensuring that things and people should look and do according to your plan or expectations, choose to appreciate things and people as they are! You’ll see that they’re having a good time which is ultimately what you want for them anyway right?
#6 Practice Gratitude
Can you imagine throwing away the fun out of a holiday celebration just because you didn’t get the gift that you want, or the guests seem to miss the memo? Christmas doesn’t have to be “perfect”, and if we expect perfection, we’re bound to feel disappointed the entire Christmas break.
Gratitude heals discontent. When we choose to be grateful, thoughts of frustration from unmet expectations go away and are replaced with feelings of appreciation for even the smallest things! Might sound cliche, but gratitude truly makes things better.
#7 Remember, Your Not-so-Great Feelings Are Valid
Just in case you need to hear this: it’s okay not to consider Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. Some of us might be suffering from loneliness, while some might be carrying the burden of grief, and financial challenges. You don’t have to force yourself to be happy – trust your feelings, feel your feelings, and remember that they’re valid. If it gets too heavy, it’s okay to skip parties that you don’t feel attending, or call a friend for help or have a quiet Christmas.
Making the most out of your Christmas celebrations without compromising your emotions and health is possible. Follow these tips this holiday for more healing, happy celebrations that can help you feel more wholesome, and keep your heart warm!