5 Tips for Self-Care During the Holidays

The holiday season is a time for seeing loved ones, exchanging gifts, and enjoying decadent meals and baked treats. Unfortunately, the hubbub of the season often brings along a stubborn hitchhiker: holiday stress.

Try these self-care tips to help you make the most of your family time and enjoy the holiday season to the fullest.

1. Make time for yourself when you need it.

By the time you feel like you need a mental break, you’re already overdue for one. The habit of waiting until you absolutely need a break before you take a rest is common, and even people who typically are in tune with their needs may find themselves ignoring the signs during the holidays.

Here are a few simple things you can do to make time for yourself during the holiday season:

  • Step aside during gatherings to take deep breaths, close your eyes, or stretch your body.
  • Leave a day between planned events to decompress or opt out of events you’re not excited about.
  • Set your alarm a little earlier than normal so you can enjoy your morning coffee in peace.
  • Consider driving to gatherings or events alone rather than packing into a noisy car.

2. Be aware of what triggers your anxiety, stress, or frustration.

We’re all different, which means we all have different stress triggers. Knowing what triggers your anxiety or frustration is the first step in proactively avoiding the situation. If the situation can’t be avoided, your awareness will still help you be proactive in combating the impending stress you might feel afterward.

Some examples of holiday-related stress triggers include:

  • Having to plan a big family function or gathering.
  • Opening up your home to family and friends (i.e., increased noise and changing schedules in your home)
  • Planning holiday feasts and ensuring everything is cooked properly and on time.
  • Finishing last-minute gift shopping and wrapping gifts.

3. Learn to be okay with delegating tasks to others.

You don’t need to do everything yourself to have an enjoyable or successful holiday with your loved ones. People used to taking on family responsibilities during the year can have difficulty delegating tasks to others because they may believe that the only way to ensure everything gets done is to do it themselves. Unfortunately, this quickly leads to non-stop stress and emotional burnout.

Grab a piece of paper and write down your holiday to-do list, then go down the list, marking off what tasks you “need” to do and which ones can be done by someone else. Tasks like planning a get-together, baking certain dishes, picking up a gift, or getting a Christmas tree are things you may be able to pass off to someone in your family.

4. Set boundaries and know that “no” is an acceptable answer.

People pleasers can have difficulty managing stress during the holidays because there’s often a spirit of selflessness and giving, especially around Christmas. You might find yourself bending over backwards to help everyone or feeling pressured into saying “yes” whenever a loved one asks you to do something for them. Before you know it, your schedule is packed, your stress is off the charts, or you feel you don’t have enough family time.

The trick is to understand that saying “no” is completely reasonable. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or incapable. It means you’re prioritizing your mental well-being to ensure you and your family all have a wonderful holiday season.

5. Take care of your physical health, but be gentle with your body.

Remember that self-care isn’t just about your mental well-being; it’s also about protecting your physical health.

Keep your body healthy and happy by:

  • Practicing mindful eating and ensuring you’re still getting the nutrition you need, even when you might be indulging a bit more than usual.
  • Taking short walks around your neighborhood or finding other ways to move your body daily.
  • Taking rest days if you exert yourself with winter activities, like a day of skiing or an evening of ice skating.
  • Maintaining a great oral care routine at home and making time to visit your dentist if you’re due for a six-month checkup.

Ada Smile Place can help you get your smile ready for holiday pictures.

Visiting your dentist before the holidays is a great way to freshen up your smile before all the gatherings and photo ops you’ll have with your favorite people. Whether you need a cleaning or want to treat yourself to a whitening session, our welcoming office is your destination for complete family dental care in Ada, OK.

Schedule your or your family’s visits today by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.