Your Holiday Survival Guide: Five Self-Care Tips for the Season of Giving

There’s plenty to love about the holiday season. But this time of year can also be characterized by overwork, overindulging, and even overreacting. Families and friends come together to celebrate—and along with this can come strained interactions, relatives on two different sides of the aisle sharing one table, and Aunt Patty telling that embarrassing story about your bout of food poisoning in India.

Self-care goes a long way toward boosting our resilience during this time. Aruni Nan Futuronsky, Kripalu Yoga teacher and life coach, shared a few tips for staying balanced.

1. Schedule time for you. “As simple as it sounds, write yourself into your own schedule,” says Aruni. We often put ourselves last or just hope that we will somehow carve out time. The truth is, we need to make a conscious effort. “Don’t leave it to chance,” Aruni says. “Treat this time like any other appointment. If it’s scheduled, it becomes legitimate. This is a surprisingly powerful practice that always pays off, especially as stress increases around the holidays.”

2. Do more of what you love. Taking care of yourself is crucial during times of greater energy output. We need to deepen our reserves. Whether you go to the gym, do yoga, or love hiking, don’t do less when you get busy—do more. “If you usually go to the gym once, perhaps aim for two times. Strengthen your commitment to yourself. It will provide you with a stronger foundation,” says Aruni.

3. Embrace compassionate awareness. Spending more time with those we love is wonderful—except when it isn’t. An excellent way to keep your irritation from boiling over is metta meditation, a simple loving-kindness practice that can have profound results in just five or 10 minutes. Find a comfortable seat and repeat the following phrases aloud or in your mind. As you offer these intentions, be sure to include yourself. Notice how you feel, after this simple offering.

May you feel safe and protected
May you feel contented and pleased
May your body support you with strength
May your life unfold smoothly and with ease.

4. Bolster the four pillars. “It can be hard to give to others, but it’s even harder without the pillars of self-care in place,” advises Aruni. Prioritize these four areas:

  • Nutrition
  • Movement
  • Stress reduction
  • Sleep

5. Attune to the spirit of giving. Take some time to remember why you’re so busy this time of year. “Imagine and consider the spirit of the holidays,” says Aruni. “What is it for you? Perhaps do some journaling to remember the essence. Can this spirit come alive in your relationships? Remember the meaning of namaste—the light in me acknowledges the light in you. Can you bring this spirit to your friends and family during the holiday season?” When you zero in on why the holidays matter to you, you'll enjoy them a whole lot more.

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