Things can get hectic this time of year, can’t they?
It all begins innocently enough, with some twinkly lights and lovely music, but all too soon you can feel like you’re racing the clock, falling short of expectations, and searching endlessly for that elusive magic you’re in charge of creating.
When the holiday overwhelms and stress rises, rather than barreling through your to-do list or pounding out fistfuls of Christmas cookies, it’s time to slow down and take care.
Perhaps you think it’s selfish to emphasize caring for yourself. It’s become a cliché, but just as the airline instructs you to secure your own air mask before helping others, so too must you care for yourself so you’ll be available to those around you. Rather than a selfish act, self-care is an act of generosity and love.
Take a Time Out
Giving yourself a time out when you’ve got so much to do may seem counterintuitive, but it may be just what you need to make it across the finish line.
Give yourself a day to simply take care of yourself. Eat well, rest, read a good book, light candles, take a bath, or go for a walk. At the end of the day, be glad you accomplished your goal of self-care.
Comparison Is the Thief of Joy
Our desire for perfection can reach all-time highs around holiday time. One glance at your social media feed and you may even convince yourself you’re the only one on Earth not experiencing those Norman Rockwell holiday moments on an hourly basis.
Remind yourself that you’re only seeing everyone else’s filtered versions of their lives. Rejoice in those happy moments with your family and friends, and rest assured that, like you, they are living real lives with ups and downs too. Don’t interpret others’ good life as a sign of your own inadequacy.
Mind Your Thoughts
The mind-body connection is a strong one. If you find negative thought patterns running on repeat in your mind, take notice and aim to turn them around. A gratitude practice (simply thinking of things you’re truly grateful for in life) is one way to tame negative thoughts.
One surefire way to amp up the stress this time of year is to spend more than you can afford. Check your motivation when making spending decisions, keep things as simple as possible, and remember that the old saying “it’s the thought that counts” is actually true.
Prepare nourishing foods in large batches. A ginormous pot of chicken soup can be stored for a week in the fridge, or frozen for later. When you’re in a time crunch or feeling run down, a hot bowl of homemade soup can make it all better.
As you move through the day, put on some calming music and slow your roll a bit. You’ll find you have more room to think things through and do things more efficiently than if you’re panicked and rushing about.
So take care and enjoy the holiday season.