Having a regular self-care routine is important, but do you have a holiday self-care routine? Thanksgiving and Christmas are two very popular holidays that often come with lots of chaos for the person responsible for all the planning. If you are part of the crew that makes the holiday magic happen, you’ll want to read these stress-relieving tips for holiday self-care that will help you live your best holiday life!
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Why is self-care so important during the holidays?
The holiday season typically brings on a lot of extra work for moms. Chore lists for the holidays are like regular chore lists multiplied by 10! There’s deep cleaning the house, searching for the perfect recipes, shopping, creating guest lists, and all kinds of other tasks. With all that there is to do, it’s no wonder that moms are typically worn out during the holiday season.
It is important for you to maintain your self-care over the holidays. Holiday tasks can be a recipe for increasing your stress levels and causing overwhelm, but practicing self-care during the holidays can help you get through the holiday season without losing your sanity.
Today, I’m sharing 15 ways to practice self-care at Thanksgiving and Christmas that you’ll want to be sure to include on your holiday to-do list!
15 Ways to Practice Self-Care at Thanksgiving and Christmas
Do you already have a self-care plan? If you do, you might want to add some of these tips to your routine? If not, this is a great time to begin implementing some self-care strategies. These holiday self-care tips are sure to help you get through the holiday season without getting too much anxiety. The goal is for everyone to enjoy the holidays and have a wonderful time. That includes you!
1. Identify Your Priorities and Stick to Them
It’s very easy to jump right into all the things there are to do to prepare for the holidays. But, it’s important for you to take some time to identify your priorities. It can be stressful trying to narrow down your priorities, but this is an important step in preventing yourself from getting too emotional regarding all the things you have to do.
There are so many holiday traditions and activities and it can sometimes be difficult to determine which ones are most important. You can easily get wrapped up in trying to do all the things, which is sure to raise your stress levels!
Think about the holiday traditions and activities that are most important to you and your family and stick to them.
2. Give Yourself Grace (You Can’t & Shouldn’t Do It ALL)
Speaking of “all the things”, let me say this: You can’t do it all and you shouldn’t do it all! Say that to yourself three times. You’re bound to get invitations to lots of different holiday celebrations and while it’s quite flattering, you simply can’t and shouldn’t attempt to attend them all.
The holiday season is not the time to pack your schedule with holiday events and that spread you too thinly and cause you extra stress and anxiety.
As mentioned in tip #1, identify the activities that are a priority to you and politely decline the others. Need help with saying no? Check out my Instagram post where I give tips for saying no:
3. Recruit Help (You Don’t Have to Cook the Entire Meal Yourself)
The kitchen can be the culprit of lots of stress for moms during the holiday season. Holiday meal preparation takes lots of time and effort. Recruiting help in the kitchen can provide the holiday stress self-care relief that you so desperately need.
There are lots of fun ways that you can involve your spouse and teens in the holiday meal preparation. It can be fun, and it can also keep you from feeling that resentment that can sometimes creep in when you’re working hard in the kitchen while everyone sits and waits for you to finish.
Need some good cookware for holiday meal preparation? Try this one from Amazon.
4. Strive for At Least 8 Hours of Sleep Every Night
Sleep finds its way onto most of my self-care tip lists and there’s an important reason why. When you get an adequate amount of sleep, you’re able to think more clearly and are able to tackle your holiday task list more confidently.
In addition to improving your mood and being more well rested, Health.gov lists several other benefits of getting the appropriate amount of sleep.
Your goal should be to strive for at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
5. Eat Nourishing Meals
Most people go into the holidays with the understanding that they might break all of the healthy eating rules. That’s why it’s especially important to eat nourishing meals as you make holiday preparations.
Thanksgiving self-care often includes indulging in your favorite holiday recipes, and that’s totally okay. Those recipes may be what brings you holiday cheer. But, too much of a good thing can be bad, so eating nourishing meals leading up to the holiday season can be a way to balance out the sugar levels from those tasty cakes and pies that often make their appearance on the Thanksgiving menu!
Another reason for eating nourishing meals leading up to the holiday season is so that you can have the energy that you need to make it through your to-do list.
6. Remember It’s Okay to Slow Down & Grieve if You’re Missing a Loved One
The holidays can be especially difficult if you have lost a loved one that played an integral role in your holiday celebrations. You may have tried to busy yourself with tasks to help keep your mind occupied. However, I want to remind you that it’s okay to slow down and grieve if you’re missing a loved one.
It’s nearly impossible to try to replicate the holidays without your loved one, so don’t even stress yourself out by trying. But, you can do things like make your loved one’s favorite dish or recipe or light a candle in their honor.
It might even be fun to share a memorable story about your loved one.
If none of these things seem appropriate for you in your current stage of grief, understand that it’s okay to simply do nothing.
Don’t let anyone force you into something that you’re just not ready to do when it comes to grieving loved ones, especially during the holiday season.
7. Protect Yourself Against Draining Family Members
Raise your hand if you have family members who can drain all of your energy. (Go ahead; I’ll close my eyes so I can’t see you.)
All jokes aside, we all have that family member (or two) who can change your mood instantly. If you have difficult family members, the holiday season may be an anxious time for you. Keep in mind, though, that the holidays are meant to be joyful, so let me share some tips to help you protect yourself against draining family members.
*Determine the length of your visit.
*Accept people for who they are.
*Set and stick to boundaries (physcial and emotional).
*Be present in the moment. (Don’t bring up past mishaps. The holiday season is not the time for that.)
Most importantly, remember that you know yourself better than anyone else. So, if skipping events that you know will be toxic for you is the best option, choose that option. Put yourself first.
8. Keep a Gratitude Journal from November Through December
Gratitude and wellness go hand-in-hand, and one way to practice gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. It can be really helpful to write down the things that you are thankful for and include thoughts about why you are thankful for those things.
Since the holidays can be such a hectic time, you might need to refer to that gratitude journal frequently to remind yourself that even though things are chaotic, there’s still so much to be thankful for.
9. Take a Holiday from Social Media (& Those Pinterest-Perfect Dinners)
This is one of my favorite holiday self-care ideas. Instead of spending time on social media, take a break to be in the moment with your family. The holidays are a time to make memories with the ones you love. Take a break from social media so that you can love on your family and be fully involved in all of your family’s holiday traditions and activities.
The holidays are also a good time to take a break from those Pinterest-perfect dinners. Don’t put added stress on yourself by trying to recreate the perfect recipes and decorations that you see on Pinterest. Put forth your best effort. That’s sure to be enough to make your family happy.
10. Drink Plenty of Water Through the Hustle and Bustle
Taking care of yourself during the holidays can be as easy as remembering to monitor your water intake. It’s easy to forget when you’re so busy, but it is oh so important! There are so many benefits of drinking water, many of which are necessary for you to get through the holiday season without incident. In addition to combatting fatigue, drinking water also improves your mood, helps with headaches, and aids in digestion and constipation. Make sure to stay hydrated so that you can be your best self this holiday season.
11. Start a New Christmas Night Bubble Bath Tradition
Bubble baths are one of my favorite self-care activities. If you love bubble baths, consider adding this activity to your Christmas self-care list. Grab your favorite bubbles, some candles, and a glass of wine, and start a new Christmas night bubble bath tradition.
12. Get Fresh Air Daily
As often as you can, try to get some fresh air. A breath of fresh air can increase your energy, give you better mental clarity, and decrease stress.
Check out this article on the Long Island Institute website to learn some surprising benefits of fresh air.
13. Book a Mani Pedi
One of my favorite self-care activities is getting a manicure and pedicure. It’s so relaxing and it’s one of those activities that you can enjoy past the moment. Treating yourself to a mani/pedi is a great holiday self-care idea.
A mani/pedi is a great Christmas self-care idea. I’d book it the week before Christmas so you can relax, unwind, and have fresh beautiful nails for Christmas day.
14. Perform a Random Act of Kindness
Even though, ideally, it would be nice if the holidays were a happy time for everyone, the reality is, it’s not. If you’re able to do so, perform a random act of kindness for someone who may be less fortunate or who may not have a loving family to spend the holidays with.
15. Make a Self-Care Kit Ahead of Time
Since the holidays are usually pretty busy, it’s a good idea to make a self-care kit ahead of time. Kits make self-care around the holidays a little easier. When you can just grab your kit and go, you’re more likely to stick to a self-care routine.
What to Put in a Holiday Self Care Kit
Holiday season self-care can be achieved with the proper preparation and intention. It’s important to pay attention to your self-care needs so that you can be your best self this holiday season. Having your self-care kit ready to go makes it easier for you to tend to your self-care needs this holiday season.
Your self-care kit should include all the things that you need for a self-care day at home. Some of my favorite self-care kit items include lotions, soaps, oils, face products, books, candles, comfy pajamas, and other things.
Check out my Holiday Gift Guide: Self-Care Edition for ideas for what to include in your holiday self-care kit!
Here are some additional resources that you can use to help you as you create your own holiday self-care routine. Happy Holidays!
- Self-Care for the Holiday Season – 10 tips to help you manage the stress of the season. (psychologytoday.com)
- 10 Stress Relief Tips to Get You Through the Holidays: Self Care for Caregivers – DailyCaring – Holidays can be hard. Reduce stress & find joy in challenging situations w/ self care for caregivers. (dailycaring.com)
- 6 Tips for Holiday Self Care – Easy ways to plan for a happier, less-stressful holiday season. (psychologytoday.com)
- 20 Tips For Holiday Self-Care – How to Bring Your Best Self to the Holidays The holiday season. It’s called “the most wonderful time of the year”. (healthcoachinstitute.com)
Best Journals for Self-Care
Journaling is one of my favorite self-care activities. It’s also a great way help you begin to move towards forgiveness. The key to making journaling a habit is to find a journal that you love. One of the first things I look for in a journal is one that is good quality, like this gratitude journal from Therabox.
I also love this guided self love journal that is filled with prompts and practices to help improve self-esteem and self-confidence.