Self-Care Strategies for the Holiday Season

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 Let's face it: the holidays can quickly become stressful, overwhelming, and even disappointing, which is why it's so important to incorporate extra self-care during this time of year.  Whether you're needing a reset or are looking for a way to practice self-care while still celebrating, we hope you can connect with one or more of these seasonal self-care ideas.

Meditation
If you're struggling with never-ending thoughts flowing through your mind or are feeling so overwhelmed that you can't seem to focus on the present moment, then meditation is the perfect way to hit the reset button. Whether it's taking a few moments to do a body scan, taking a few deep breaths, or de-stressing with a Guided Meditation for Holiday Stress, meditation is a great way to focus on self-care and take a moment for yourself.
Nourish Your Body
Although we're all about treating yourself during the holiday season, it's important to ensure that you're offering your body the nutrients it needs to feel its best, too. This doesn't mean that you need to make it something complicated, either.  Grabbing a smoothie or veggie-packed soup or trying one of these immune-boosting or gut healthy recipes can be a great way to support your health through the holiday season.  Nourishing your body doesn't have to mean that you lose out on the fun, either: try these No Bake Omega 3 Mint Brownie Energy Bites from Ambitious Kitchen or dig into a warm bowl of Gingerbread Slow Cooker Oatmeal from The Seasoned Mom.
Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is a powerful practice and, although it's important all year round, it can be especially important to help you stay in the moment throughout the holiday season, connect with the true spirit of the holidays, and set yourself up for a powerful new year.  It can be as simple as taking a few minutes each night to jot down 5 things you were thankful for that day, taking the opportunity to thank retail workers and those being kind, or sending heartfelt messages to loved ones.
Acknowledge Negative Emotions
The holidays aren't always 100% joyous - and that's okay.  Whether it's a difficult family situation, things just not working out, or having to deal with other things like grief, depression, anxiety, or illness, emotions like sadness, anger, or just not being able to find that magical feeling can be difficult.  Allow yourself to experience these negative emotions through journaling or listening to music that acknowledges how you feel before moving onto other self-care strategies. 
Allow Yourself to Say No
We can all be so busy during the season that it can be difficult to remember to put yourself first, but self-care is important all year round.  Don't forget that you are always allowed to do what's best for you, and it's okay to say "no" to situations that are overwhelming, upsetting, or overly draining.  A simple thank you for the invite or allowing yourself to schedule things for the new year can be helpful.
Shut Down Stimulation Overload
The holiday season can be downright overwhelming with all the music, bright lights, and people.  If you're someone who is easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation, don't be afraid to cut down by dimming or turning off lights and music.  Instead, nourish your body with helpful sensory input like heat, aromatherapy, or weighted blankets.
Tidy Up
With all the gift giving, baking, and holiday decor, it can be easy for your space to get cluttered this holiday season - which can contribute to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.  Think about getting rid of something for everything you bring in, or take care to place decoration boxes and gifts out of the way.
Practice Restorative Exercise
We all know how important exercise is in caring for yourself, but it can be something that loses its priority during the holiday season.  Your exercise doesn't have to be something that takes you away from celebrating: sledding, dancing, and walking to look at Christmas lights are all festive ways to get your body moving.  If you're needing something to care for your body even more, make the time to take a yoga or pilates class.
Practice a Regular Morning or Evening Routine
Like with exercise, it can be so easy to fall our of your routine during the holidays with parties and other festive activities.  Or, let's face it, just catching your favourite holiday movie on T.V.  But your regular routine is an important way to care for your body and mental health.  Rather than keeping things too regimented, try to ensure that you take time for yourself each morning or evening, whether its sitting down for 5 minutes with a cup of coffee, or eating dinner at a regular time each night.
Prioritize Your Favourite Traditions
While there may be so much you want to enjoy this holiday season, it's easy to get caught up in the feeling that you have to get everything done, to the point where you might not even enjoy it! Instead, choose one or two things that are your favourite, and focus on doing those.
Go Out to Eat or Have a Potluck
The food can be some of the best parts of the holidays, but if you're burnt out from cooking or just don't have the energy to bake or cook (or maybe you just don't enjoy the process!), treat yourself and make things easy by going out to eat, ordering in, or grabbing some local pre-made options.  If you're hosting, make things easier on yourself by having a potluck, which gives everyone the opportunity to bring one of their favourites, and the opportunity to sample many different things!
Make Time to Laugh
Laughter can be such an instant stress reliever, which is why it's such a good thing to incorporate into your holiday routine!   Try having fun with some charades, watching a funny movie, or listening to a stand-up routine, laughing is a great way to inject some lightheartedness into the season.
Experience the Childhood Joy of the Season
That magic of Christmas is something that can be hard to capture as an adult, which is why focusing on the childhood joy of the holiday season can be a wonderful act of self-care.  Maybe try spending time with the children in your life, getting a holiday present for your pet, or enjoying the magic of holiday lights or snow, making a fun recipe or craft, or just curling up with your favorite holiday movie or book from childhood to help you focus on the things that truly make this season fun.

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