Christmas – “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” It’s a season of celebration, parties, giving gifts and catching up with loved ones. It can also be a time when stress levels rise.
Spending a lot of money, eating and drinking in excess, hosting and attending parties, family conflict and finishing off end-of-the-year projects at work can cause a lot of anxiety and stress in a short amount of time. It can leave you feeling drained and exhausted, and by the time Christmas day arrives, you won’t feel jolly at all!
Self care is always important, even more so during the holidays. Implementing self care rituals will help reduce stress, so you can truly enjoy the holiday season.
Here are 12 tips to put in place each day to make self care a priority this Christmas.
Day 1: Let It Go
Decide to let go of the things you think you should do and the ideas of what Christmas should be. We tend to build up high expectations of ourselves and feel terrible if we don’t live up to the self-made beliefs.
Focus on what matters and enjoy Christmas for what it is. Give yourself a break if things don’t go as planned and don’t be too attached to the outcome.
Day 2: Plan Ahead
Create a Christmas budget ahead of time that includes all expenses for gifts and entertaining. Create a realistic to-do list and give yourself enough time well in advance to buy all your gifts and supplies. Last-minute shopping the day before Christmas can cause unnecessary anxiety and irritation.
Day 3: Create Intentional Down-Time
Read a book, take a bubble bath, take a walk or binge on a Netflix series. You don’t need to spend all your time being productive or busy during the holiday season. It’s important to slow down and spend time at home to recharge. Taking time for yourself is an essential part of self care.
Day 4: Eat Well
Overeating and drinking too much is a general theme for the holidays. It’s hard to resist all the delicious treats and eggnog that comes with celebrating, but overeating can have a host of unwanted effects. Bloating, heartburn, bad skin and a few extra pounds are just some of it.
You don’t need to choose a salad over every indulgent meal, but choose fresh, healthier and light options between those.
Day 5: Drink Enough Water
When we get busy, we often forget to drink enough water. This can cause fatigue, dizziness, headaches and dry skin. This is not something you want to deal with during the busy holiday season. Use your phone to track the amount of water you drink and get at least eight glasses of water in. It will make all the difference!
Day 6: Stop Scrolling
Christmas is the perfect time to do a bit of a social media detox. You will have more than enough activities to fill your time, so there is no need to scroll mindlessly through social media apps. Be intentional with your time, spend it on activities and people that matter.
Plus, you won’t need to deal with feelings of FOMO by seeing others’ Instagram-worthy photos of tropical holidays or luxury ski trips! You don’t need that!
Day 7: Meditate
Meditation can help you to destress during the Christmas season. It can quiet your mind and reduce the overwhelm – vital for holiday survival. Wouldn’t it be great to feel calm and collected in the middle of a bustling crowd of shoppers?
I found these 10 five-minute meditations you can easily fit into a busy schedule, and they are perfect for newbies.
Day 8: Avoid Family Drama
People don’t change because it’s Christmas, and your feelings toward them won’t either. Dealing with difficult family members can be extremely stressful and make you dread family gatherings. It’s ok to set boundaries and not attend every single family event during the holidays. When you do, try to enjoy yourself and don’t take things too seriously. Your family might make you feel crazy, but they are yours, and it won’t quite be Christmas without them!
Day 9: Spoil Yourself
Now that you’ve bought gifts for all your family and friends, spoil yourself too! Go for a spa treatment, eat a decadent slice of cake at your favorite coffee shop or buy those boots you’ve been eyeing. If you don’t have the extra cash to spend, take a long hot bubble bath, give yourself a face mask or take an extra nap!
Day 10: Give Back
Giving back to your community or people in need does not only benefit them, it does wonders for your mental health as well!
When you donate to a charity or volunteer your time you know your actions went towards the betterment of someone else and that makes you feel good. This is because it activates the brain’s mesolimbic pathway and happiness chemicals like dopamine gets released throughout the body.
Of course, you shouldn’t give back just to feel good, but it doesn’t hurt if you do either! Need ideas? Donate food to a food bank, “adopt” a child to buy a gift for, bake a treat for a neighbor, make a freezer meal for a stressed-out single parent or leave an extra big tip for a waiter. Here’s a great list of top rated charities you can donate to!
Day 11: Protect Your Sleep
Lack of sleep can mess with your physical and emotional health. It leads to irritability, stress and even weight gain. Most people get less sleep during this time of the year. Whether from planning the perfect meal or gathering, staying out late partying, getting the house in perfect shape for guests. Losing sleep over these things will not make you healthier or happier. Get enough sleep, take naps and rest!
Day 12: Celebrate The Year
We’ve become so good at setting goals and intentions, making to-do lists and filling up planners. We are not that good at celebrating the year that has passed. Now is the time to acknowledge your hard work, and reflect on what happened. Reflect on the good and the bad, the things you enjoyed and the things you need to let go of. Make a note of the things you are grateful for, you will be surprised at how many there are!
The benefits of self care during the holidays will reach into your relationships, your positivity, self-esteem, and your overall health.
Remember to slow down and breathe; it’s not all on you to make Christmas perfect. Your happiness and inner peace is as important as everyone else’s. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so keep it filled!
Free Christmas Self Care Bingo Printable!
Print it out and try to practice one self care ritual each day leading up to Christmas.