Dec 102014

The holidays signify celebration, family, and tradition. For many of us, they bring long to-do lists, strained financial resources, and unreasonable expectations. We can easily feel overwhelmed.

A good way to survive the holidays is to practice self-care. Self-care involves staying in touch with how you are feeling and engaging in activities that relax and soothe you.  There are three main areas of self-care that require nurturing – your physical self, your emotional/mental self, and your spiritual self.

Physical self-care means getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and making time for some form of exercise. Allow yourself to indulge in holiday treats but remember to practice moderation and afterward – get moving. Take an evening walk around the neighborhood and check out the decorations, build a snowman or take up a winter sport such as cross country skiing or snowshoeing. If you need help managing symptoms of stress, practice deep breathing or download a guided relaxation app.

Emotional self-care happens when you spend time with others whose company you enjoy or when you engage in hobbies and activities you love. It’s important to surround yourself with supportive people rather than choose those who leave you feeling angry or depressed. The holidays can tempt with special events and invitations.  Learn to say “no” to avoid over committing. Choose to keep a few special traditions, but let go of the rest.  Remember that the goal is to enjoy the season and connect with others, not to wear yourself out.

Spiritual self-care means making time for reflection. Find somewhere peaceful to sit and enjoy the benefits of being still. It’s a great way to refresh and reenergize. Feed yourself with the music of the season or drop in on one of the many holiday performances. Nurture your soul by attending a worship service or connecting with nature. Volunteering opportunities abound at this time of year and often bring as much benefit to you as they do to others.

Make self-care a priority of your holiday schedule. Remember when we take good care of ourselves, we not only feel better, but we are better able to care for those around us.