The holidays can be hectic. You’re busy with social occasions, travel, cooking and boozing – and it’s all fun and games until you realize that you’ve significantly cut back on your solo time and quality sleep to be present for others.
Although this year may look a bit different regarding travel plans and the number of people allowed to gather, you might still feel overwhelmed due to stress. (Who isn’t this year, right?)
While mingling (physically or virtually) with friends and family is definitely important, it’s crucial to find balance between alone time and socializing to keep your sanity in check.
The following list features five of the best self care things to do to show yourself some love and unwind when you’re feeling overwhelmed during the holidays and beyond.
1. Eat regular meals
It’s easy to forget to eat quality meals this time of year – especially if you’re thinking about “saving up calories” so you can indulge later on during the big feast. According to Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, “This backfires as your body and brain require food for optimal function, keeping your energy levels and productivity up.”
Plus, going too long without eating typically leads to overeating and often uncomfortable fullness, as well as unnecessary guilt, depending on the individual. On the other hand, excessively snacking is common as well when you’re rushing around shopping, decorating, traveling and so on. Either way, none of these outcomes will benefit your mental or physical wellness.
2. Get outdoors
“Even though the weather may be much colder, both health status and self-reported levels of well being increase with more time in nature,” says Jones. Even if you’re just finding time for a five-minute walk, it can make a difference in stress levels, getting your mind off of your busy life and to-do list and more in the moment to unwind and feel relaxed by the fresh air.
Exercise in the park, take the dog out or enjoy a picnic. Do whatever feels best for you and make sure to mix it up. If it’s sunny, that’s all the more reason to go outside and absorb some fresh vitamin D.
It may be cooler out, but you still need to drink plenty of water to promote better health, glowing skin and overall improved hydration. In fact, the dry climates, which are more common in winter months, can keep you from recognizing your fluid losses since sweat will evaporate more easily rather than build up on your skin, as they do in the summertime.
Your metabolism may also be higher when temperature changes are drastic, and with higher metabolism comes more fluid release, too, Jones explains. If water doesn’t appetizing to you, switch to hot tea, like rooibos, green or chamomile. Just watch the caffeine and don’t go overboard or consume it too close to bedtime if you are prone to sensitivity.
4. Ask for help
Cooking and cleaning for multiple gatherings and guests throughout the holiday season is a load of work. And, thanks to snow days, winter break and holidays, the kiddos are home more often than usual. In addition to maintaining the household and caring for little ones, the pressure is on when it comes to decorating, gift giving and wrapping, and other seasonal activities.
It’s OK to politely delegate tasks to others who are happy to help, especially simple ones like grocery shopping, laundry, setting the table or helping kids with homework. You can also make some small gatherings potluck style or have people trade off on hosting events.
What’s more, you can (and should!) say no to things you feel too stressed out to attend or do for others. Create a balance between relaxing at home and going out to celebrate with others. It’s OK to not commit to everything—people will understand that you need a break once in a while! https://www.vitacost.com/blog/how-to-put-yourself-first/