It’s the season of joy and spending time with loved ones, but all the hustle and bustle of the holidays can bring on overwhelming, stressful feelings. It’s important to take care of yourself during these times – so grab a warm drink and read up on our top five self-care tips to get you through the holidays.
Feel more connected
The holiday season is the perfect time to catch up with family and friends. Having social connections and nurturing the feeling that we belong is associated with living longer and having greater happiness.
Showing kindness and looking out for others is also important. Volunteering can improve our sense of belonging and increases confidence and positivity. Charities that provide support to the vulnerable and less fortunate would welcome your help (in any way you can) this holiday season.
Alternatively, performing random acts of kindness is another way of giving. For example, you could visit with an elderly neighbor or buy a meal for a homeless person and spend a few minutes having a conversation with them.
Staying active and making time for exercise during the season can provide benefits to both your physical and mental health. Getting out during the day for some fresh air can help to combat tiredness and the daylight will help to lift your mood. It’s also a great way to offset excess calories that have been consumed. Here are a few exercise ideas:
- Take an hour-long winter walk after a big meal
- You could go for a run – Santa runs have become popular as a way of getting active while wearing a Holiday costume and raising funds for charity
- Running is also recognized for its mental wellbeing benefits – it’s an excellent stress reliever and it also releases feelgood hormones
- Swimming is a great form of aerobic exercise, it strengthens muscles and has a low-impact on the body. It’s an excellent mindfulness tool and great for carving out some alone time
- Put together a short strength training session
- Put on some upbeat music and dance!
Whichever way you choose to exercise, staying active has many health benefits.
Do something creative
Relieve stress in anticipation of the holidays by getting creative. You might start by writing, designing or painting your own Christmas cards. Creative activities can support a relaxed, calm mind and a positive mood while providing an outlet to process emotions.
Journaling over the holidays is useful for keeping unwanted or negative feelings under control. Capturing all the joyous moments and the essence and the beauty of winter landscapes and snow scenes is a real joy for creatives.
You could also set yourself a monthly photography challenge where you capture a different image every day, which is a great excuse to get outdoors and explore.
One of the pleasures of the festive break is having more time to yourself. Whether you’ve been hoping to devote some time to reading or writing a book, go for it!
When we feel more connected with others, it helps us to realize when friends and family are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Equally, if we are experiencing similar feelings, it can be helpful to talk through what’s going on with someone. If you’re feeling anxious, having an informal chat over a coffee can really help. And remember to journal, reflecting each day by making a note of one thing you were grateful for can be beneficial for your mental wellbeing.
Stop and take a break
Learning to observe when you’re becoming stressed and being able to recognize when you’re beginning to experience early signs of overwhelm is important for good self-care. If your levels of stress are continuing to increase and it’s becoming more noticeable, give yourself permission to take some time out and have a break.
Take your pick of these excellent relaxation techniques as they will all help to bring your stress levels down and bring you back to the present moment. Meditation, mindfulness, yoga are all renowned self-care tools. For example, if you’re keen to try yoga at home, have a go at some Yoga with Adrienne (YouTube) sessions. Adrienne’s yoga workouts are very popular and they’re suitable for absolutely everyone.