December is an insane month - at least, it always feels like that to me! There's a lot of extra hustle and bustle around shopping, parties, family gatherings, school and work events, wacky schedules (or no schedules), in addition to all your regular responsibilities. When I say, "You need to continue to care for yourself during the holidays," you're probably either thinking:
1) that's insane, I can barely take care of everything else, or
2) omg yes PLEASE
Either way, I'm hoping today's episode will make the idea of self-care this month feel not only possible, but simple, and absolutely necessary.
8 Ways to Care for Yourself During the Holidays
Stick to your routines the best you can. Morning routine, journal, exercise routine, house cleaning, bedtimes, etc. If you have routines and they make you feel good, throwing them out the window for a few weeks will, well, NOT make you feel good.
Along with that, really prioritize good sleep, movement, and water. Schedules may be very different, we may be eating new things, additional stressors are present, so continue to do the things that you know support mental clarity and a good mood, in addition to supporting things like your digestion.
Be clear and firm about your boundaries - what you want, what you have time for, etc. You probably can't do it all this year. That's okay. You don't need my permission or anyone else's, but I'm going to give it to you anyway: you're allowed to say no. You're allowed to leave a party early, or not go at all. You're allowed to decline a gift or cookie exchange. You can say no to an activity that doesn't really fit in your schedule. You can avoid a situation or people that will tempt you to not be your favorite version of yourself. You can also set boundaries so that you CAN do the things you want to! Work might have to get set aside, your kitchen might be a little dirtier, but YOU get to decide how you use your time.
Monitor your self-talk. I'm not in your head, but I can let you into mine for a minute... I flip phrases that could really drag me down into more positive ones ALL the time: "I have too much to do" can become "I am blessed with so many opportunities." "I don't have time to exercise --> moving my body for a few minutes will help me feel better." "I don't want to cook --> I get to make delicious food for myself and my family." "I'll never get it all done --> I am loved and valuable even when I do less."
Write things down. Or be like me and write it in 6 places. But it's amazing the relief you can get when you don't have to remember or keep track! It's also amazing how much clearer tasks and schedules can be when you can see them (especially if you're a visual person like I am). I use a planner that has an agenda for appointments, a weekly to-do list, daily priorities, and habits I'm working on that week, all in one place. I also use a phone calendar, a kitchen white board, post-it notes... find a system that works for you.
Plan ahead for the things that are important to you. If you have time off this time of year, think about how YOU want to use your time off. Maybe there's a friend you've been meaning to catch up with, a hair appointment you've been dying for, a closet you want to empty, a creative project you want time for... Don't let other people's calendars and the things you think you "should" do suck away all your time and energy. Plan it out, schedule it in, and keep that date with yourself. Making time for things that are important to YOU is an amazing form of self-care.
Use the first and last moments of the day. I really find that how I spend these minutes matters the most in how I feel. Be aware of and in control of your thoughts during this time. Practice gratitude, brain dump, listen to music that lifts you up, practice deep breathing... this is personal to you, but the first few moments set the tone for our day, and the last few moments can put the day into perspective, AND set the tone for your subconscious while you sleep, cycling into the next morning... our thoughts are powerful things, so use them with intention.
Keep things simple. There are no rules about how many presents you have to buy or cookies you have to bake. (I have a podcast episode about finding simplicity in gift giving, too.) You don't have to decorate if it stresses you out. You aren't a worse mom if you don't make a gingerbread house. You aren't a worse girlfriend if you don't have a new New Years Eve outfit or a worse person if you get takeout. In this time in life where we have access to everything everyone else is going through social media, the FOMO is REAL. Keep in mind that you're seeing a collection of things that other people have prioritized. No one is doing ALL the things! Think about what's important to you, what you truly enjoy, what helps you and the people around you feel happier, and just do that. Let the rest of the ideas of what everyone else might be doing go.
Prefer to listen? You can, here!
As the next few weeks go on, stick to your routines, stick to what makes you feel your best. Be careful how you talk to yourself, give yourself grace, and know that you are doing enough. There will be so much more peace and joy in the holiday season when you continue to make your needs and feelings a priority.