I can’t believe we are fast approaching another holiday season and before you know it will be 2019. Soon we will begin seeing all the year-end lists of top movies, music, books, podcasts and we will start to hear people talk about their New Year’s resolutions.

This time of year is filled with family, friends, parties, celebrations, etc., but there is also some sadness, stress and overwhelm that can come up.

Are you prepared for it all?

I like to plan ahead and prepare myself for a mixture of both. I want to be ready and excited for time spent with family and friends, for holiday decorations, traditions, foods, etc – but I also want to be prepared for the chaos, the overwhelm, the potential sadness that can pop-up during this time of year.

I’ve found that if I can consciously be aware and present to my feelings versus getting caught up in the “busyness” of the holiday season – I can move with and through my emotions and avoid feeling like I am on an emotional roller coaster, which can feel exhausting.

To ensure that I am prepared, I like to check in to make sure that I am taking care of myself. Am I consciously adding “self-care” practices to my day? Let’s face it, when things get busy, self-care tends to be one of those items that gets overlooked or keeps getting moved to later or another day.

I feel it is necessary to be CONSCIOUS about the self-care practices we add to our day. It can be easy to add practices you feel like you “should” do. Although if you take the time to add self-care practices that you are looking forward to, that makes you feel good, there is a much better chance that you’ll make time for them and they can become part of your daily routine.

Sometimes when we think of self-care, we think of exercise and our diet, which is definitely important, but self-care also includes our mind. Here are some simple self-care practice ideas for your both your body and mind to help get you started.

Self-care for your body:

  • Move – this can be exercising, stretching, walking, dancing, yoga. Choose something that feels good to you. Maybe you hold a lot of tension in your neck and shoulders, try stretching while waiting in line or at a stop light. Another idea is to dance to your favorite holiday song. 
  • Rest – make sure you are getting adequate sleep during this time. Also, find some time throughout the day when you can sit and relax, maybe you take a 15-minute nap to rejuvenate.
  • Breathe – Start by inhaling for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four, all through the nose. This simple act of slowing down to breathe can calm your nervous system and reduce stress. 

Self-care for your mind:

  • Self-talk – How do you talk to yourself? Do you speak to yourself negatively or positively? For example, do you criticize or compare yourself to others? Do you beat yourself up for not being perfect? Do you talk to yourself positively? Are you proud of yourself and accept yourself exactly the way you are? Start to pay attention to how you talk to yourself, especially when things are busy – you may not even realize that you’ve slipped into the habit of criticizing yourself.
  • Compliments – How do you respond when someone compliments you? Do you say “thank you” or do you brush it off and say something like “Oh, it was nothing or no big deal?” The next time someone compliments you, breathe it in, let it sink in and say “thank you.” 
  • Choose – Do you consciously choose who you spend your time with? Choose to hang out with the ones that lift you up, that you feel good being around, rather than those that drain you or always appear to have drama following them. On those days you cannot choose because of work or commitments, be sure to at least reach out and call that friend or relative that radiates positivity. 

How will you consciously prepare for the holidays? Trust me, I love my family, but being consciously prepared before we all get together has been a tremendous gift I have given myself and those around me – because when I take care of myself first, I can be there for the ones I love.

“Taking good care of yourself means the people in your life receive the best of you rather than what is left of you.” – Lucille Zimmerman