Any holiday season, particularly Christmas, can swiftly become a whirlwind of busyness and stress. Engaging in acts of self-care offers a much-needed respite, allowing you to unwind from the hustle and bustle that accompanies this festive time. In this guide, we’ll explore ten simple self-care tips tailored for the Christmas season.
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The Lead Up To Christmas
While the weeks leading up to Christmas may be overwhelming and draining, I’ve noticed that as Christmas Day arrives, it becomes easier to slow down and begin the process of unwinding from weeks filled with present shopping, house decoration, Christmas meal preparations, and the seemingly endless task of gift-wrapping. While some might find these activities enjoyable, for others, it’s downright draining and overwhelming.
Recognising the importance of practising self-care becomes imperative. In the fast-paced world we live in, getting things done is a must. However, why not take a step back and relax once the festive days are over? The time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is personally my favourite time during the festive season. Days filled with family moments, creating memories, watching movies, playing board games, and relishing leftover Christmas food. It’s a time to do whatever makes us happy, with the most crucial element, rest and recharge.
December, the last month of the year. The last chance to make it an amazing month before the New Year kicks in. If your 2023 has been anything like mine, in other words, non-stop, then why not take a moment to sit back and schedule some “me time.”
Enjoy the quiet, savour the peace, and conclude the year feeling rested and recharged.
- The Lead Up To Christmas
- 1. Set Realistic Expectations
- 2. Make Rest A Priority
- 3. Schedule That Much-Needed ‘Me’ Time
- 4. Limit Screen Time
- 5. Indulge in Healthy Treats
- 6. Engage In Creative Activities
- 7. Do Something That Brings You JOY
- 8. Practice Mindfulness
- 9. Learn To Say No
- 10. Reflect And Set Intentions
- Grief During The Holidays
- Final Thoughts
1. Set Realistic Expectations
The days leading up to Christmas turn me into a superhero, or at least that’s how I envision myself. A superwoman juggling multiple tasks, transforming my house into a Christmas-catalogue-worthy home, shopping for the perfect gifts (for what feels like ten thousand relatives), cooking festive meals, and managing everyday chores. This year, I’ve also had to add blogging and graphic design to the mix!
Setting realistic expectations about what I can accomplish would undoubtedly make my life easier. If I could figure out how to ease up on myself, refraining from exerting immense pressure to orchestrate a flawless Christmas while also attending work, producing content for the blog, and managing my home and family, my stress levels would undoubtedly be much lower than they currently are!
So this goes to you as much as to myself dear reader. Let’s do ourselves a favour. Let’s take care of our mental health by setting realistic expectations.
In the grand scheme of things, is it that important? Asking for a friend 🙂
2. Make Rest A Priority
On those days off work, after the Christmas frenzy, ensure you get enough sleep. Quality rest is crucial for managing stress and maintaining good mental and physical health. Even better, if you manage to get enough sleep throughout the lead-up to – kudos to you! Lately, sleep has been elusive for me, thanks to perimenopause and stress. But that’s a topic for a different blog post.
3. Schedule That Much-Needed ‘Me’ Time
If you have a large family, finding time for yourself might seem like an impossible task. However, if by some miracle it is possible, then set aside some time for yourself. Read a book, take a bath, or go for a walk. Ensure you have moments of relaxation.
4. Limit Screen Time
Set boundaries on screen time, especially on social media. Constant exposure to holiday posts can contribute to feelings of inadequacy or stress. Social media, with its high expectations and the pressure for extraordinary accomplishments, does not help our mental health.
Personally, I consider it unnecessary noise. So, this year, I’ve committed to staying present with my family. Once I wrap up my pending blog work for the year, I’m switching off from social media until February. Yes, it’s drastic, but my soul needs it, and so does my family.
5. Indulge in Healthy Treats
Is it even possible? Maybe I should change the heading to ‘Try to indulge in healthy treats’ Or perhaps instead of eating healthy, we can make an effort not to eat as unhealthy? How about not binging on chocolate while watching a Christmas movie? Or opting for a meal instead of tea and biscuits for dinner? Worth a try! If, like me, winter months are synonymous with comfort eating, maybe you can give it a try too!
Read our blog post on how to maintain a strong immune system. Start the year by introducing healthy habits to your everyday life!
6. Engage In Creative Activities
Once an avid crafter, I eventually gave away my stash as I lacked a spare room to convert into a craft room. Nowadays, instead of crafting, my husband gifts me a colouring book every Christmas. It has become a relaxing habit for me. Sitting by the dining table with a cup of tea, colouring for hours, and listening to a podcast or some chill music, has become an effective way for me to disconnect from the world.
7. Do Something That Brings You JOY
For me, it’s a few hours of uninterrupted reading or doing a jigsaw puzzle with my kids. Sitting by the Christmas tree, with Christmas movies playing in the background, snacks and hot chocolate. It’s wonderful to have this time with them, engaging in an activity we all love.
If they want some time to unwind by themselves, I’m more than happy to read a book. Sometimes, if inspiration strikes, I’ll switch on my laptop and get some writing done.
Check out our Top Christmas Books recommendations.
8. Practice Mindfulness
One of my favourite ways to practice mindfulness is through journaling, which has become a kind of therapy in itself, especially during times when my mind needs to quiet down. However, there are other ways to practice mindfulness:
- Go for a walk and breathe in some fresh air
- Colouring or doing a puzzle
Do you journal? Our blog post Journaling – A Path To Self Discovery is perfect for anyone wanting to start their journaling journey. As an added bonus we have Included 20 Journal prompts for free download.
9. Learn To Say No
It’s okay to decline invitations or commitments if you feel overwhelmed. Prioritise your well-being by knowing your limits. Saying no used to be hard for me. I never wanted to let anyone down. However, as I grew older and more connected to my inner peace, I understood the importance of setting healthy boundaries to protect my mental well-being.
If you want to read more on the art of saying No, we have an insightful blog post here! Good mental health comes with the ability to set healthy boundaries and honour your own needs without feeling selfish.
10. Reflect And Set Intentions
Take some time to reflect on the past year and set positive intentions for the upcoming one. Make realistic goals for the coming year. These will provide you with a sense of purpose and direction.
Here are some ways on how to set realistic goals for the new year:
- Be Specific: Define goals with precision, avoiding broad statements. Specific objectives provide clarity and make tracking progress easier.
- Break Down Big Goals: Divide larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks or milestones to reduce overwhelm and increase achievability.
- Align with Values: Ensure goals align with personal values and priorities for sustained motivation and commitment.
- Realistic Timeframes: Set achievable timeframes by considering your schedule and the actual time required for goal completion.
- Plan for Obstacles: Anticipate potential challenges and plan solutions. Stay flexible and adjust goals as needed, celebrating achievements along the way.
Grief During The Holidays
Navigating grief during the holiday season comes with no manual, and I won’t claim to have all the answers. Instead, I choose honesty because, in a world that often requires it, transparency is essential!
I wish I didn’t have to write about grief. Every fibre of my being longs for a table without empty seats. Alas, grief is an intrinsic part of life, woven into the very fabric of every human soul, often surfacing as we age or sometimes even before.
How do I cope with grief during the holidays? Honestly, I don’t. I miss my father daily, and Christmas intensifies that ache. Because of his love of Christmas, this is the time I miss him the most.
In my first year without him, I prepped my mind and emotions for months, trying to embrace his Christmas spirit and honour his memory. It was a struggle; I suppressed a lot.
Yet, as the second Christmas approached, I decided to stop resisting the emotions and just go with them. If I needed to cry, I did; if I needed a moment to absorb the weight of the loss, I took it. It didn’t make the holiday season easier, but at least it was authentic.
If you find yourself missing a loved one during this season, I see you, I feel for you. There are no magic solutions. However, I encourage you to practice self-compassion. It’s okay to miss them, it’s okay to cry. Have your moments, pick yourself up, and straighten up your crown.
Remember, the holidays are meant to be a time for joy and connection. Taking care of yourself allows you to fully enjoy the festive season and provides you with the chance to slow down and relish the little moments that life has to offer.
Stay present, enjoy those little moments, and we hope you have an amazing Christmas surrounded by love and joy!
Milly & Colleene
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