The holidays can be filled with a lot of stressful demands and tasks, like shopping, cooking, cleaning and decorating. Stress during the holiday season can not only ruin your holiday, but it can also ruin your overall health and well-being. It is unrealistic to expect the holiday season to be stress-free. So, take a moment to practice some self-care. After all, the holidays should be a time for giving, so why not give something to yourself? Caring for one’s self is one of the most important gift you can give yourself and other people in your life.
Here are five ways to practice self-care this holiday season.
- Make Time for Yourself. Carve out some time in your day to do something that makes you feel good. It can be inexpensive or free, like taking a warm bubble bath or reading a good book. Also, it doesn’t have to require a lot of your time. Sometimes taking a short 15-minute break by yourself with no distractions can make a huge difference.
- Continue Healthy Habits . Plates filled with delicious holiday food and several activities throughout the day make it easy for you to over-indulge. This leads to over-eating, drinking excessively, not exercising and sleeping less. Take a moment to get up and move, even if it’s a short 20-minute walk. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties to curb your appetite. Maintaining your healthy habits before the holidays will lead you into a successful new year.
- Say No . Often the holidays are a season of “yes.” “ Yes. I will go to your holiday party .” “ Sure I will cook that meal.” “Yeah, I can grab that from the store.” Saying yes when you want to say no can cause resentment and unnecessary stress. Take some time to set limits and boundaries for yourself. Your friends and family will understand if you cannot make every event during the holiday season. If you cannot say “no” to someone, adjust your schedule to make up for lost time.
- Plan Ahead and Set a Budget. The holidays are filled with events, errands and tasks. It helps to make a schedule of different obligations you may have, like setting aside specific days and/or times for shopping, cooking and other activities. Also, remember not to overextend yourself financially. Before you buy a gift, set a realistic budget of what you can afford and then stick to the budget. This will help you control your spending.
- Seek Professional Help If You Need It. Holiday stress can be seasonal but depression and anxiety can be year-round. If you feel like you can’t get out of the “holiday funk” and it is affecting your job or home life, please consider talking to a doctor or counselor.
As Black women, we feel the pressure of family obligations, work demands, and economic strain, particularly during the holidays. Being “stressed out” is only one short step from a “mental crisis.” It is important to remain mentally healthy during the holidays, so take a moment to practice some self-care.