Attached Kids

Supporting Children's Mental Health and Emotional Development

5 Tips for Adding a Little Self-care into Your Holidays

Self-care is important throughout the entire year – and especially important during busy and overwhelming moments. To learn more about self-care, check out last week’s blog post: Self-Care Through the Holidays here.

Here are my top five ways to incorporate self-care into a busy holiday season:

1. Say No. We may want to attend every party and gathering – or maybe we feel obligated to. But we can’t do it all. Learning to say no when you are overwhelmed is a powerful form of self-care. Stay home and watch movies instead of attending that event that you dread every year, say no to the office gift exchange if you don’t enjoy it or can’t afford it. Saying no can be hard. It can make us feel guilty and judged by those we care about. But the truth is, that when we can’t say no when we need to – when we are overwhelmed and exhausted – then we are only harming ourselves. Say no where you can. And then do something you love instead.

2. Create a budget – and then stick to it! One of the main sources of holiday stress I hear about from parents is financial stress! The holidays can be expensive and spending can really get away from us! Avoid that shocking January credit card bill we all know too well and the stress that goes along with it by creating a budget and sticking to it!

3. Take deep breaths. When we are stressed our body goes into ‘fight or flight mode’ – this basically means that it is prepping for danger and in reaction mode. We can literally bring our bodies out of this flight or flight mode by getting fresh oxygen up to the brain. How do we do that, you ask? Why, by taking slow deep breaths! Pausing for 30 seconds to take a few deep breaths can calm your nervous system and help you stay calm and focused during busy or overwhelming moments.

4. Take a break from your kids. Or work. Or both. Kids can be tough this time of year (oh ya, and every other time of year!). They might be extra excited and energized and eating more sugar and staying up later than usual. And you might be exhausted. It is okay to take breaks – and even encouraged! If you have the means to take a break from parenting for an evening or an hour or a moment – take it. If you have a partner that you are co-parenting with, or a fellow parent that you trust, talk about alternating breaks. Maybe you get a quiet half hour tonight while they watch the kids, and they get it tomorrow while you watch them.

For those of you who have an additional job outside of caregiving – same goes for your work! Taking breaks from work can help us avoid burn-out, and re-energize us for the work we are doing.

5. Choose a Self-Care Activity that you LOVE – Then do it! What is one thing that makes you feel calm, at ease, and relaxed, or energized and alive? What is one activity that you enjoy that is just for you? Write that activity down now. Got it? Great! Now open your calendar and schedule it in. Even if it is just for 5 minutes. Make necessary arrangements for your kids or aging parents or work demands or anything else that might get in the way so that you can make this one small act of kindness towards yourself possible. Add it into your schedule so you know exactly when and how you will do it. Then do it.

For my own self-care this season,  I will be taking a break from work to enjoy Christmas and New Years (My two favourite holidays!) with those I care about. I will not be saying yes to every invite (even if I am sad to say no). I will take time to watch Christmas movies and try my best to stick to my budget! How will you take care of yourself this Holiday Season? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Meg

 

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