Whether we’re prepared or not, the holiday season is upon us. Amongst the joy and cheer, sometimes the holidays feel more overwhelming than enjoyable. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of holiday madness, often compromising our health and lifestyle choices in favor of the indulgences that accompany festivities. As we approach the new year, the consequences of sacrificing self care catch up with us all too quickly. Fear not, these 10 self care hacks for the holidays will help you stay on track, healthy, merry and bright.
Wash Your Hands
This time of year, bacteria and germs flurry about with the changing weather. The cardinal rule of warding off seasonal sickness is washing your hands. Getting sick during the holidays is a surefire way to miss out on all the fun. Don’t let germs turn you into a scrooge. Stay on top of your hand washing, stow a non-toxic antibacterial in your purse or pocket, and welcome the holiday season with open arms. Also, though it seems cold, keep your distance from sniffling loved ones. A warm air hug will be warmly welcomed.
Indulge without Derailing from your Diet
As tempting as Grandma’s family recipes are, yes, those buttery, sugary sweets and savory baked dishes, eating healthy during the holidays will prevent your body from completely freaking out. I’m talking getting glutened or breaking out with allergies, ultimately being taken down by food and not being able to enjoy the moment. This doesn’t mean you have to eat broccoli and kale at every meal. There are delectable, savory dishes for you to indulge in without derailing from your diet. Short of gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo recipes? I’ve got you covered with my cookbook, Wandering Palate, full of holiday dishes like rosemary roasted potatoes, green beans with almonds, eggs Benedict, and more!
Protect Your Gut
Even if we strictly adhere to a healthy diet full of greens and healthy proteins, there’s still greater threats at work trying to tackle our immune system. Taking probiotics is a great natural way to combat threats to our immunity and gut health. The health of your immune system relies heavily on your gut. Moreover, serotonin is a chemical nerve cell responsible for your happiness. Where does serotonin live? Primarily in the digestive system, aka gut. Pop a probiotic for a healthy gut, strong immune system, and happy mind.
Here’s the truth, we run ourselves to the ground during the holidays. Between gift shopping, parties, family events, and our daily obligations, we burn the candle at both ends. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial to prioritize sleep. Sometimes, sleep is the last thing on our minds. We try to strategically approach each day with efficiency, but we should also dedicate attention to our sleep schedule. If you’re struggling to catch z’s, try these 10 ways to optimize your sleep and feel rested during the holiday season.
Do What You Want, Without Doing It All
Bottom line, there’s so much to do during the holidays! It’s hard to squeeze everything we want to do into a realistic timeline, and ultimately, we stretch ourselves too thin. So, to avoid burning out, make a list of your priorities. Want to stroll down candy cane lane? Pencil it in. Make a list of all the things you want to do, and trim out what isn’t necessary. Sometimes, trying to do it all means not enjoying it at all. While it’s hard to cut things out, it’ll reduce stress and enable you to fully enjoy the moment doing what you really want. Time management is vital to self care, so next time something captures your attention, ask yourself how important it is to you. If it doesn’t measure up, give yourself the gift of time by not trying to do it all.
Practice Saying No
No. It’s that simple. Yet, waves of guilt and obligation make uttering the word seem offensive. Guess what? I give you permission to say no. More importantly, give yourself permission to say no. If an invite lands in your inbox and dread immediately sinks in, what do you do? Say no. You don’t have to offer a reason, you don’t have to explain yourself. This is your holiday season, if an event doesn’t align with your wellbeing, practice saying no. Not only will you free up time for yourself, but you’ll feel empowered from enforcing boundaries. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you’re a bad friend, colleague, or significant other, it means you are practicing self-care. And what a wonderful gift that is.
Avoid the Holiday Frenzy
Commercials, Instagram, Facebook, ads, media, news… we’re inundated with holiday imagery everywhere we look. Before we even get to Thanksgiving, Christmas songs are blaring at the grocery store. It’s impossible to avoid the holiday frenzy altogether, unless if you find a cave to hibernate in. That said, you can minimize your involvement in it. How can you avoid jingle bells everywhere you go? Shop online. Avoid malls and places with heightened chaos that will overwhelm you. If you have to go to stores, make a list and stick to it. Above all else, find quiet moments to center yourself. Meditate, go for a long walk, sip tea slowly, fit in an hour of yoga. Whatever you have to do to stay grounded, make time for it. Build yourself the armor of peace so that no matter how crazy the world gets this time of year, you’re centered, calm and frenzy-free.
Stay Active (Not Busy)
Got an exercise routine? Great, stick to it. Don’t have one? Now is the perfect time to get active. Keeping your body moving will make derailing from your wellbeing less a threat. Indulging is inevitable, but balance is the antidote to overwhelm. Rather than filling up your calendar with busy, exhausting tasks, focus on fitting in time to exercise. Sticking to an active routine will not only help your body, but it’ll help with overall self-control. That way, you’re less likely to over-indulge, and more likely to value your body’s health and make better dietary choices. Exercise and diet go hand-in-hand. If you’re bored with your exercise routine, you’re more prone to falling out of it, so spice it up, try a new aerobic class, find a workout buddy. Most importantly, stay active.
Truly, honestly, whole-heartedly pamper yourself. Whatever it is that brings you immense bliss—find time for that. Whether it’s a pedicure, massage, spa treatment, or something else that fills your soul with joy, make it a priority. Pampering yourself will do wonders for your self-worth, health, and mindset. If you find yourself slacking on self-care, one way to rejuvenate yourself is to pencil in time to pamper. Even if it’s as simple as giving yourself a facial before bed or simmering in a Jacuzzi for 30 minutes, make time. You’ll feel revitalized, radiant and more gratitude for those around you. Love yourself, pamper yourself, no excuses.
Be Mindful of the Moment and Truly Enjoy It
Time is running and there’s no way for us to stop it. The holidays breeze by like a typhoon and it seems like we just started 2018, right? We can’t stop time, but we do have the power to slow down and enjoy the moment. How do we do this? Practice self-care and everything that it encompasses. The fundamentals of self-care start with small shifts in how we approach the chaos of our day-to-day routines. The productivity obsession has made savoring the moment a fleeting endeavor. So, slow down, sit and do nothing for a little while. When engaged in a conversation, listen without distraction. Unplug, try a digital detox, even if just for 24 hours. Indulge in your senses by cutting out distractions that take you out of the moment. Instead of multitasking, try meditating or focusing singularly on one thing at a time.
The holidays are a perfect time to unwind, but too easily we get caught up in the whirlwind. Practice these 10 self care hacks to avoid madness, and enjoy the mindful, meaningful beauty of celebration, family, gratitude, and love.
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