Holidays can bring up a wide range of emotions and issues. And it can feel like trying to pull a boulder up a mountain to get through them sometimes. So, I’ve create a list of 11 holiday self care tips in an attempt to try to make the holidays a little easier to get through for all of us.
As much as holidays can be a happy and joyous time, they can also be a very difficult time. From multiple parties back to back, to seeing and interacting with toxic people, to a first holiday without a loved one, to even being and feeling very alone through the season.
This time of year, the end of November through the New Year here in the US, can have profound effects on one’s mind, body, and spirit.
So, to help us get through the holidays, no matter what holiday season it may be, here is a list of self care tips.
11 Holiday Self Care Tips
1. Spend some time alone. The holidays can be hectic. And if they are for you, then it may be rejuvenating to spend some time by yourself. To get out for a couple minutes or even take a whole day to yourself. This isn’t selfish. This is taking care of yourself. So give yourself some alone time if you need it.
2. Call/message a friend. It is possible you will be at a party where you don’t feel connected with anyone. It is possible that you aren’t going to any parties or gatherings and will feel lonely at home. So in either of these situations, reach out to a friend. Talk to them, text with them. Having a friend by your side, even millions of miles away, can be so helpful.
3. Eat. Seriously! Make sure you are eating and getting food into your body. Obviously, you had to eat to your restrictions. If you have an allergy and all the food there has it in it, don’t eat that food. If you need to, pack a little something just in case. Or maybe arrange to bring a dish to pass that fits what you can eat.
4. Get some extra sleep. When we are well rested, we have more patience to handle things. Our brains can move through things with more ease. And our stress levels are lower, so we are not already in that fight or flight or freeze mode. Or more in that mode.
5. Avoid certain subjects if you can. Know what topics you don’t want to talk about. And know that you don’t have to participate. Make a boundary, and let people know “I don’t want to get into that right now” when it comes up. And if they don’t respect that, then move onto the next point.
6. Walk away. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. As someone who has to win and be right, I get the pull. But it is important to remember that at the end of the day, it is your opinion of yourself and your mental health that matters the most. You don’t have to subject yourself to the opinion that you are sinful or going to hell or less of a person because of who you are. (I’m talking to you my LGBTQ friends. You may also like Jeanna Kadlec’s article “How to go Home for the Holidays, When Home has Lost its Meaning.”) You are already probably dealing with a lot this holiday season, don’t add that to the pile.
7. Take any medication you are on. Especially if you have a mental health disorder that gets worse around the holidays, make sure you take your medicine. Set an alarm on your phone. Put the pillbox in an obvious place, if possible. Set reminders. Put up sticky notes. Have a friend or partner help you remember. Whatever it is that you need to do. Because holidays can already be rough on their own, it is important to keep taking care of yourself and your mental health.
8. Which brings us to number eight. If you take medication and you are struggling through the holidays, speak to your doctor or mental health professional. There may be extra tools that they can give you, connect you with more resources, or even suggest a temporary dose increase. I’m not a medical professional, so they will be able to help you navigate what is best for you.
9. Take care of your energy! We’ve been talking about the mind and body a lot, but we are also spiritual / energetic beings. That means staying in integrity, honoring yourself, taking time to meditate or cleanse. Honoring your boundaries. Whatever it is that fulfills you spiritually and cares for your energy, you may want to consider taking time to do that too! You can read more about energetic self care here.
10. Do the frivolous thing. This is what we typically talk about with self-care. Getting the coffee, using a bath bomb, putting on a face mask, ordering in pizza. If you can afford to do it without putting MORE stress on yourself or even if it is an even trade off that you are okay with, then do the so called frivolous thing! Give to yourself.
11. Lastly, maybe just don’t go. Maybe don’t go to every party. Maybe create your own chosen-family party. Toxic relationships are a thing, even within families. And you are no way obligated to go hang out with someone who has abused you. Instead, choose to spend time with other people. If that is something that you can do.
(Bonus: If you are magically inclined, there are so many things you can do! Create a spell, carry a sachet, put up a personal ward, etc.)
I understand it is many times easier said than done to do any of these things. Through planning and adding in small pieces, we can get through the holidays a little easier.
What things help you to get through the holidays? What self care steps do you implement?
And a quick note – if you are really struggling, please reach out to someone. Below is a list of helplines or hotlines that you can reach out to.
Suicide Stop List – Worldwide list
Cocoonias List – Worldwide list
National Alliance on Mental Illness – United States list
*I have not personally vetted all hotlines or helplines on these lists, so please use at your own discretion. I actually recommend taking a look at the ones available in your area and doing a little research now, before you get to a point where you need to reach out.