Treat Yourself: Essential Self-Care Tips for the Holidays
The holidays often feel like a runaway train that you board in November and fall off of, exhausted, after the New Year.
It feels wonderful to show loved ones how much you care for and appreciate them — just be sure to include yourself on the gift list. This year, give yourself the gifts only you can provide: Eat right, take time for movement, get enough sleep to feel restored, and recharge your spirit regularly:
Give Yourself the Gift of Eating Well
Eating nutritious food that helps you stick with your weight goals may take a backseat when things get busy. Still, a well-balanced diet not only promotes good health, but stabilizes your mood and maintains your energy levels. Take time to plan out meals that will ensure you feel your best. When you create shopping lists, be sure to include foods your loved ones enjoy, as well as those that support your nutritional goals. If your Aunt Pat is pushing her famous cherry pie, don’t feel guilty about saying, no thanks. And if you do have a slice, don’t punish yourself for the indulgence. Savor each bite and know that you’ll get back on track tomorrow.
Give Yourself the Gift of Movement
Exercise is often the first thing to go when your schedule gets crowded or restricted. But keeping physical activity on your to-do list can help you to reap the benefits of lower stress levels, improved mental clarity, and better sleep. Is it easy to include exercise every day? Even 20 minutes makes a difference, so do what you can.
Give Yourself the Gift of Sleep
You know the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Solid, regular rest not only prevents you from dragging, but can lower your risk of chronic diseases, make your metabolism hum, and significantly reduce the impact of stress. Even a quick cat nap can refresh your mood and outlook. When maintaining a regular bedtime seems like a far-off dream, remember how sleep helps restore your body and mind. Find opportunities to get the rest you need, like a quick, refreshing snooze on Sunday afternoon. And remember, it’s OK to ask family members to help.
Give Yourself the Gift of Peace of Mind
A certain amount of alone time can reset your perspective and alleviate stress during the holidays and all year. It’s not selfish — it’s self-care. Find time for daily meditation, zoning out with a favorite hobby, or whatever helps quiet your mind.
Give Yourself the Gift of Spiritual Connection
It’s always the right time of year to explore your spirituality or your relationship with something larger than yourself. That could be a higher power, or the calming influence of nature — whatever speaks to you. Take some time to reflect on it and participate in activities like volunteering, praying, meditating, or being outdoors. You may find that embracing spirituality helps you appreciate the goodness both inside of, and outside of yourself.