SELF-CARE: THE NEW HOLIDAY TRADITION
Updated: Feb 13, 2019
Self-care can easily get neglected during the holidays but this is a season where we need it the most. We've made a list of 26 ways to make self-care your favorite holiday tradition ever!
Finding out you don’t need to wait until New Year to make positive changes...
The holidays bring waves of all-the-emotions, whether we like them or not! There are so many things to check off the list: Cooking... family gatherings... gift shopping... Netflix binging... This might be a joyful time of year for you and it also might be a time that painful memories, strained relationships, or the general holiday-hustle start to take their toll on your wellbeing. With that in mind, check out this ABC list for holiday self-care!
HOLIDAY SELF-CARE LIST
1. ALLOW YOURSELF TO SAY “NO”
“No” can be a difficult response at first but now is the time to focus on the things that matter most to you... So go ahead, liberate yourself this holiday season and say goodbye to that 3rd gift exchange party!
Take a 3-minute break to breath in deep and fill your stomach with air. Fun fact: The gut produces much of the body’s serotonin, so your deep breathing can actually promote a mood-stabilizing effect for you!
3. CREATE NEW TRADITIONS
Let go of the traditions that are no longer serving you and make space for new traditions that align with your values.
4. DESIGNATE A SELF-CARE BUDDY
Sharing your self-care plan with a supportive friend helps you to stay on track with the commitment you are making to yourself!
5. EAT WITHOUT JUDGEMENT
Be mindful of the language you are using around food. “Good” and “bad” are words used to describe the Hallmark Christmas movie, not your food choices. For more support, check out NEDA’s Holiday Resources Round Up.
6. FILL YOUR CUP
Avoid excessive alcohol use and fill your cup with a nourishing tea, smoothie, or hot chocolate instead!
7. GRATITUDE PRACTICES
The research is consistent: Practicing gratitude promotes a more positive mood and helps you cope with tough emotions. Learn more about developing your own gratitude practice.
8. HELP OUT YOUR COMMUNITY
Everyone has a skill to offer. Don’t know where to start? Learn more at Volunteer Houston.
9. INDULGE IN A BUBBLE BATH
Add candles and music to chill out!
10. JUGGLE LESS
Un-schedule yourself. Remember that you can’t cross off all 1,000 items on your to-do list: Pick a few each day and tackle them one at a time.
11. KEEP LAUGHING
Humor does wonders for us in times of stress. Sometimes all we can do is laugh at the circumstances. This is not an invitation to make self-deprecating jokes... leave those behind!
Find a good audiobook, TED Talk, or soundtrack that sparks your interest
We couldn’t make a self-care list without including meditation! Find out What’s Up With Mindfulness to get started today and download the Headspace app for a free 10-track basics package.
14. NATURE WALKS
We couldn’t leave this one off either! Spending time in nature is associated with reduced stress, depression, and anxiety.
15. ORGANIZE YOUR MIND
Wake up 10-minutes earlier to run through your agenda and adjust it as needed. Too many things on the schedule? Reread #1 on this list and just say “no”.
16. PRIORITIZE YOU
Does this list sound awesome but totally unrealistic with all the other things going on? Take your calendar out right now and find an hour or two this week to schedule an appointment with yourself. We are not joking.
17. QUIET SPACE
Cut out the background noise (Netflix, we are talking to you!) and make space for silence... you might be amazed with what you hear! The Rothko Chapel is pretty amazing for this.
18. REMEMBER THAT THIS WILL PASS
The holiday season will come to a close. We are all in this together.
19. STAY GROUNDED
It is all too easy to get lost in the holiday chaos. Dig your heels in deep and root yourself into your values. Remind yourself of what is truly meaningful to you this holiday season - Write it down if you need to.
20. TAME YOUR INNER CRITIC
A tough critic to tame? We know that feeling. While you practice #7 on this list, take a moment to appreciate you.
21. USE YOUR RESOURCES
Order gifts on Amazon, outsource the cooking, schedule an appointment with your fav therapist.
22. VISIT YOUR HAPPY PLACE
It does not matter if your happy place is real or imagined, book your ticket and spend some time there.
23. WRITE A CARD
Reconnect with someone you’ve been thinking of and let them know how special they are - You can definitely write a card to yourself.
25. “YES” WHEN IT SERVES YOU
Say “yes” to whatever is fulfilling to you: Yoga, yawning, yodeling... or using up the rest of your vacay days at work!
26. ZONE IN
Practice self-awareness and notice what is going on inside your body, heart, and mind.
About The Author
Jasandra Oeffinger, MA, LPC is a therapist and co-founder of Human State of Mind Counseling in Houston, Texas. She works with young children, as well as adults, who struggle with anxiety, self-esteem/identity, stress, trauma, life transitions, and problematic behavior. Jasandra is also a doctoral student and conducts research on a variety of topics, with a large focus on play therapy and young children with traumatic experiences.
If you are interested in working with Jasandra, visit www.hsmcounseling.com. Are you a teen or "twenty-something" adult in need of support and guidance? Learn more about our fellow co-founder, Stephanie Longtain, MS, LCSW and her work with tweens, teens, and young adults.