“Self-care is how you take your power back.” — Lalah Delia
The festive season masquerades as being an undiluted wonderful time. And you know what, for the most part, it is a wonderful time. However, if you are somebody who celebrates Christmas, you will probably also be familiar with the fact that it comes with some amount of stress and pressure.
Who’s cooking Christmas dinner? Who’s feeding the cats whilst I’m away? Can I afford presents for everybody? Can I fit seeing everyone in? Do I have to attend every Christmas party? Am I going to feel like a bloated wreck again by January? Am I going to feel rested when I return to work even a little bit?
Maybe you will recognise some of these questions? I know some of them have entered my head more than once. Christmas should be as much a time of celebration as regeneration. I know it might seem like a lot to suggest when I propose yet another thing to prioritise over the Christmas period… but here we are.
Prioritising self-care over the festive period may sound like another thing you don’t have time for. But, by making time for it, the rest of the stuff that needs to happen should feel much less stressful. Self-care will aid you in your quest for yuletide resilience. Self-care will give you the headspace to care for others. And self-care should leave you feeling refreshed and ready to go by the time the festivities are all over.
1. Make Time For Yourself
Christmas is about many things, but spending time with the people you love is way up there. That being the case, the lead-up to December 25th and all the dates around it get clogged up with engagements of jollity very quickly. Do you ever peer at your diary sometime in mid-October, only to see that seemingly without you realising, every free day up until the new year has some kind of social engagement in it?
Look, I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing… indeed, seeing people is a joy. But it is a lot. It does generally require you to speed up to the end of the year, not slow down.
So, to combat this, try to find some time for yourself. Whether that’s putting a whole day aside here and there or ensuring that you steal twenty minutes away from a social engagement occasionally to go somewhere quiet and let your mind relax. This will help you to feel more in control. It should also prevent your mind from stumbling over a hundred thoughts, having given it some time to get things in order.
2. Don’t Go Too Hard
I know most people are guilty of going too hard on the food and drink at Christmas sometimes. I certainly fall foul of this quite easily if I don’t ‘Christmas consciously’! The problem with not giving your body a break, as well as your mind, is that you can often end up feeling regretful and guilty.
Of course, do what you want. It’s your Christmas after all. But perhaps be conscious of your limits, and give more credence to how your future self is going to feel after Christmas is over.
3. Enjoy Some Exercise
Keep up (or even ramp up) your exercise quota throughout the holidays. Exercise is a great way to keep on top of the last two points, actually. Getting out and creating some endorphins is a great way to thank your body and get it ready for the next year. It also keeps you functioning at a more resilient level, and therefore leaves you better equipped for the jolly relentlessness that December can bring.
4. Get Some Sleep
Sleep is magic. A good night’s sleep is often the difference between a breezy day and a difficult day. So, stock up. Take the occasional early night and recharge. Not only will this put you in a better place when the year starts up again, but it will also make you more resilient through the festive season.
5. Prioritise Relaxation
Try to relax. Indeed, make sure you do. Make sure you aren’t the one doing everything on and around the big day. Delegate and treat time for your own relaxation with as much reverence as sorting the big roast dinner or buying Christmas gifts. Make relaxation a must for your December, your wellbeing will thank you for it.
By Chris Thomson
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