After starting the dishwasher, folding a load of laundry, packing lunches for the next day, and signing a permission slip and reading log, I finally tucked my kids in for the night and settled into my own bed hoping for a good night’s rest. But, rather than drifting off into the peaceful sleep I desperately longed for, I tossed and turned, throwing the covers off of me as if that would somehow also remove the constant to-do list running through my head on repeat:
“Deep clean the house, take down all the fall décor and put up the Christmas tree, schedule family photos, order Christmas cards, shop for teacher gifts, transfer money from the savings account to checking, order tickets for The Nutcracker, R.S.V.P for that Christmas party, set a date for our own party. . .”
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, you’re probably a mom.
Why is it that we put so much pressure on ourselves? Is it the desire to create lasting memories with our families? Or is it something else, some unneeded pressure to be perfect?
While creating memories is, of course, a worthy goal, I don’t want my kids to look back on our family holidays and immediately remember how stressed out their mom was. I would argue that while we’re making those “holiday to-do lists” it would serve us well to schedule time for ourselves: both physically and mentally.
The holidays are a time of celebration and fun, but they can also present some unique challenges to your health and wellness. With these ten tips for staying healthy during the holidays, you can stay on top of your game and enjoy all the festivities (without sacrificing your well-being).
1. Practice Mindfulness
This time of year can bring up a lot of feelings, both positive and negative, so it’s important to be aware of your emotions and monitor your responses to them. Whether you’re feeling stressed out from all the planning or excited about spending time with loved ones, pay attention to what’s going on in your mind and body so that you can respond in a healthy way.
Start with deep breathing (especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed). You can also add in little meditation techniques in five-minute increments to help you feel more relaxed (without adding another thing to the schedule!).
2. Prioritize Self-Care
Self-care doesn’t have to mean spa days and massages. It should, however, look like making time for regular exercise and focusing on healthy eating. During the holiday season, it can be easy to let your regular routines slip a bit. By prioritizing your health and making time for exercise and healthy meals, you can stay in control no matter how hectic things get.
3. Focus On Family & Friends
The holidays are often full of social events where we feel pressure to have a perfectly kept, fabulously decorated home or wear the most amazing outfit, but it’s important not to fall into this trap. Rather than trying to “keep up” with others, focus on spending quality time with loved ones and enjoying the simple pleasures in life.
4. Get Enough Rest & Limit Alcohol Intake
Things tend to be extra busy and stressful during this time, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough rest each night and taking time to relax. Additionally, try to limit your alcohol intake since too much can have negative effects on both your physical and mental health.
5. Take Advantage Of Downtime
Whether it’s curling up with a good book, going for an afternoon walk with friends, or watching your favorite movie, taking some time for yourself will help you stay balanced amidst all the holiday chaos.
6. Have An Attitude Of Gratitude
Between the holiday parties, shopping, and other festivities, it can be easy to get caught up in materialism and lose sight of what’s truly important. By taking a moment each day to reflect on all the things you’re grateful for, you can stay grounded and enjoy the holidays from a place of contentment rather than constantly chasing something more.
7. Set Realistic Expectations
The holidays are often full of high expectations – both our own and those that we put on others – such as needing to travel home or attend every social event possible. But, try to set realistic expectations for yourself and others, so that you can avoid unnecessary stress and disappointment.
8. Seek Out The Positives
Despite all the challenges of the holiday season, it’s important to maintain a sense of optimism throughout it all. Whether you’re thinking about loved ones who are no longer with us, or focusing on simple pleasures like drinking hot cocoa by a cozy fire, seek out what’s good in your life during this special time of year.
9. Take Time To Reflect
While we often look back fondly on holidays past, it can also be helpful to reflect on the challenges you faced and lessons you learned during these times. By taking time to identify areas where you can improve, you can approach future holidays with more mindfulness – and greater overall well-being – than ever before.
10. Remember That This Is Just A Season
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that the holidays are not your entire life. This busy season won’t last forever, so you may as well make the most of it while it’s here. Approaching this time with a sense of gratitude, reflection, and perspective makes things a little more magical for everyone. Happy holidays!