Self Care in the Holidays
The run up to Christmas is upon us! In my house we have 3 children whose birthdays are all at the end of the year so I’ve only just been able to turn my attention to Christmas. As I do, I know I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and seeing friends that we haven’t seen for a long time. It’s the one time of the year when almost everyone takes some downtime, and by the nature of that happening hopefully the flow of e-mail slows and the expectation to be online dwindles. It’s a time where detoxing from work can be more accessible than during any other holiday.
If you have a young family, the holidays are busy for a different reason, energy is high, excitement is in the air and as lovely as the magic of Christmas is through the eyes of child, sometimes you need a moment to calm down, switch off and regroup before being able to embrace the Christmas magic.
Here’s some thoughts for how to make the most of the Christmas and New Year break, and to prioritise some self care during this holiday season.
1. Live in the moment – if only for a moment!
Our minds are often caught up with the next thing we need to do. In work we move from meeting to meeting, project to project and as we tie up loose ends for the holiday break you probably have one eye on the things you’ll need to pick up after the break. At home, you might be thinking about your plans for Xmas day, Boxing Day, New year celebrations. It may be a holiday but it’s often a busy one. In those days before Xmas day dawns and your house being full of family, just take a moment to stop. Pause. Take a breath. In that moment suspend your need to be anywhere else. Carve a moment for you. And if you can manage one, see if you can manage more and more of those over the course of the next week to 10 days.
2. Celebrate your success
The new year leads many of us to think of resolutions or plans for the year ahead. We don’t always spend time looking back and celebrating our achievements. I often here people saying “I don’t know where the time has gone?!” and I think part of that is because many of us don’t stop to really take in the year and everything that you have achieved. So, as you raise a toast through the holidays, raise one to yourself, and give yourself a pat on the back for all of the achievements you have made in the past year.
3. Recognise your needs
It’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of activity during the holidays. Visitors come and go, you want to go and see people and do things yourself. If you’re prone to burnout or stress then, as you make those plans, factor in plans for your own needs too. Maybe it’s an afternoon to yourself, maybe it’s a day spent just with the family, or maybe you need to go out with your friends and party till dawn. Whatever your needs are, know that it is OK to recognise them, and even better than that, ask to have them met.
4. Get out!
It’s cold, it’s probably wet – if we’re lucky maybe it’ll snow! Whatever the weather it’s a beautiful time of year and with evenings drawing to an early close there are too many days where you start your morning in the dark and you finish in the dark. Go and get yourself a dose of vitamin D by getting some fresh air. Soon you’ll be back in the office where you might not have that flexibility, so make the most of it.
5. Have meaningful conversations
Happiness comes in part from having meaningful conversations. It’s likely over the holidays you’re going to connect with people you don’t get to see very often. Make your time with them meaningful. Reminisce about old times, share your favourite stories, ask for advice or help on issues you’re struggling with, in return listen without judgement, listen without the need to provide a solution. Really take the time to enjoy the company you’re in.
6. Let go of the guilt
You probably won’t have enough time to see everyone you want to, or maybe you’ll need to trade going to see an old friend with some much needed time to yourself. Maybe you’ll eat too much, drink too much, not exercise enough. Whatever it is that you do or don’t do that leads you to feel guilty, just this time give yourself permission to let go of the guilt. It serves no one. (We can pick up on guilt in a future blog!!)
7. Come back rested – not in need of another holiday
Ever heard someone say “I just need a holiday to get over that one now” – don’t let that be you! Enjoy yourself, overindulge if you like, but be sure to come back rested!
So those are my tips for self care in the holidays, what are yours? What do you do to look after your wellbeing during this holiday season? Let me know! And if you’re reading this and we’re not connected on Linked In then please drop me a connection request. Last of all, have a fantastic holiday!