How to Practice Self-Care This Holiday Season

For some, the holidays are about friends and family, eating copious amounts of comfort food, and enjoying downtime. We sometimes indulge in ways that can weaken our immune system, and leave us feeling run down and drained. In the midst of holiday preparations, we can lose sight of exercise routines, healthy eating habits, and the beneficial day-to-day patterns that keep us feeling good. On top of this, entertaining, late-night parties, and generally getting off our usual schedule can wear us down. Here are some tips for practicing self-care during holiday time.

Relax. You have time off from work, so make good use of it and enjoy quiet time by the fire, reading books you've been yearning to pick up, getting back onto your meditation cushion, and luxuriating in a hot bath. Since we don't often make the time for self-care, take advantage of this opportunity for relaxation and rejuventation.

Exercise with family and friends. Since we’re often taken out of our usual exercise routines during the holidays, get everyone to join for a group hike, ski, or jog. Head out on a local trail for a hike with the dogs, haul wood together, or make snow angels with the kids.

Sleep. There have been many studies conducted regarding the potential effects of sleep loss, sleep deprivation, and the emotional impact of lack of sleep. Let’s face it: We all know we need sleep, and, for most of us, more of it! Take advantage of your time off to get to bed a bit earlier or sleep-in later, one morning. You won’t be sorry you did.

Connect. Reaching out to other people is a simple way to get out of yourself. Performing service provides connection. Giving extra tips to the barista, heading to the local shelter with fresh-baked cookies for community members and volunteers, or brushing snow off of your elderly neighbor's car are simple ways to give back. Time spent connecting with others grants us perspective in our own lives. In addition, taking the time to connect with yourself, through yoga, meditation, or any other contemplative practice can bolster your constitution and improve emotional regulation in day-to-day activities.

Detox. These days, there are a lot of ways to detoxify your system. One nice option is juicing. Here is a recipe for a light, refreshing detox when you are stuffed with stuffing and need to cleanse.

Journaling gets the kinks out. When families get together, there can be drama, and that can be especially challenging during the holidays, journaling provides a refuge for the mind.

Gratitude is the simplest way to find your center and be present in the moment. In the midst of frazzled shopping, family dysfunction, and overeating, we can curb the "bah humbugs" by making a quick list of the blessings in our lives.

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