Stress is a year-round experience, but it happens to crop up even more around the holiday season. While trying to coordinate travel plans, family get-togethers, holiday shopping, parties, dinner menus, or even vacation ideas, stress can easily become the uninvited guest that weighs you down and makes even joyful times seem exhausting. Read on for our top tips and ideas for self-care and managing stress for both the holidays and every day.
“Me time” is one of the most important ways to stay kind and compassionate towards yourself and others during stressful times. Me time is exactly what it sounds like: time for you. This is a time of day or week that’s set aside for you to spend time by yourself to do the things that nourish you and bring you joy. For some, me time could consist of reading a book, going for a walk, or taking a bath. What’s important is to be sure you are taking the time to relax, clear your head, and do something that makes you feel happy and calm.
Taking a power nap, even for just 15 minutes, is an effective way to destress, unwind, and recharge during the day. Curl up on the couch with your favorite throw blanket and commit to resting with your eyes closed for a certain amount of time, even if you don’t completely fall asleep. You are sure to get up feeling rested, relaxed, and recharged.
Having a self-care routine is paramount to your well-being. Simple practices like lighting candles before bed, listening to calming music while lounging in your favorite women’s robes, or rubbing luscious body cream on your skin are all small things that make a big difference. Cultivate a practice of self-care before bed or first thing in the morning to construct a routine that feels good for you.
Great morning self-care ideas are to sit quietly with your tea or coffee and write intentions, positive affirmations, or reflections for the day in a journal. You could stay in bed, laying comfortably on your cozy bed sheets for a little longer and give your face a light massage to drain your lymphatic system and brighten your complexion. These small acts of kindness toward yourself go a long way to managing stress on even the hardest of days.
Mindfulness and breathing have become staple wellness practices recognized by the medical and mental health communities. Many medical studies are showing the measurable benefits of mindfulness meditation and breathing practices to release stress and also reduce the body’s susceptibility to stress in the long run. Slip into some loose and comfy clothes and sit down in a comfortable place. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your body and breath. Take 10-15 slow, deep breaths while paying attention to the movement of breath in the body. Sit for as long as you feel comfortable. Whether it’s for two minutes or 20, you’ll feel calmer and rejuvenated after. The internet has incredible resources for guided mindfulness and breathing practices.
We tend to overeat and lose sleep when we are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. This creates a negative cycle that enhances our feelings of stress and exhaustion. A big part of being kind to yourself is to be sure to feed your body the nutrients it needs and give it enough rest at night. While it’s tempting around the holiday season to indulge in all the seasonal goodies, be sure to not overdo it. Supplement your diet with healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Too much sugar and alcohol can also disturb sleep patterns, so be sure to not go overboard with these holiday favorites.
Nothing says self-care like a balanced exercise routine. Slip on some women’s joggers and go for a walk in the morning, or log on to your favorite online yoga or workout class. Exercise is clinically proven to improve mood and reduce stress, making it a great way to be kind to yourself and manage stress around the holiday season and all year round. Starting small and building up gradually is the best way to get into a healthy exercise routine without overwhelming yourself. Remember, this is also an exercise in being kind to oneself, so don’t push too hard or make yourself miserable.
There are so many ways to be kind to yourself, even on the most stressful of days. Begin by incorporating a few of these ideas into your daily routine and you’ll be feeling happier, calmer, and more energized. It’s the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season!