The holiday season is fast approaching, and for many of us it’s going to be an unusual one. Unfortunately COVID-19 is still upon us, and that may mean smaller gatherings, less public festivities, and possibly even less shopping. Throw in, on top of all this, that the holidays can be a stressful time anyway, and it’s going to be important to prioritize self-care in the months ahead.
Self-care can look different for different people, and it may well be that you’ve already developed a holiday routine that helps you to stay relaxed and enjoy the season. However, for those who might need some help, we have a few self-care tips for what looks to be an unusual holiday season ahead.
1. Shop Early
As mentioned, we could actually see less of a holiday shopping rush overall this season. Many have been hit hard by the economic recession, and thus may pull back on seasonal spending. At the same time though, early projections indicate that we will see heavy holiday mobile shopping specifically. Whatever shopping people do, that is, will likely occur online as people continue to try to avoid crowded public spaces. So, for the sake of your own mindset this season, shop early! With a greater percentage of people looking to buy their holiday goods online, it’s likely that deliveries will be slowed, and inventories could be strained. To avoid the stress of struggling to have your orders fulfilled, try to knock out your holiday shopping early on.
2. Remember Your Down Time
While we’ve written before about how to stay sane during the holiday season in general, one of the most important points discussed was to relax and have down time. The simple fact is that a lot of the stress of the holiday season comes from being busy — shopping, socializing, decorating, cooking, and so on. Much of this is simply part of the season, such that you’ll need to do your best to navigate everything there is to do. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, remember to get some down time also. Taking a non-stop, go-go-go approach to the holidays will burn you out quickly, and make the season more stressful than relaxing.
3. Get Outside
Outdoor breaks may not always occur to you during the holidays, given that it tends to be somewhat cooler outside. And yet, they can be incredibly restorative when things get stressful. In a recent article about how to boost resilience during difficult times (something we’re all looking to do these days), it was stated by an expert that getting outside can help “alleviate physical and mental tensions alike,” and can help get your mind off things that are bothering you. These can be invaluable benefits during a holiday season when you can sometimes feel crowded and stressed out. We recommend, even if it’s cold out, that you find the time to bundle up, clutch a hot coffee, and take a walk now and then.
4. Focus on Connection
Bonding with close friends and family is also a great way to practice self-care during the holidays. Yes, sometimes it’s the social side of the holidays that leads to stress, but genuine connection can boost your happiness and wellness. Even if you might get stressed out by a relative staying with you, or a friend who’s anxious about holiday shopping, try to invite quality time with others. That may mean turning out the lights and turning off phones to watch a movie together; it might mean playing a game of cards or a board game around the table; it may even mean taking that walk we discussed above with a few other people. Just make sure all of your time with others isn’t focused on holiday obligations and stress!
5. Take Care of Your Health
Finally, remember to take care of your physical health too. It’s easy for us to let physical health fall by the wayside during the holiday season. We often eat a little more, indulge in a few more treats, and exercise less. This is all understandable, but it can also lead to more stress given the clear correlation between physical and mental health. We suggest prioritizing physical health as well. It’s not always easy during the holidays, but there are ways you can pull it off. For instance, high-intensity interval training is a quick but effective home workout that could be done during a busy (and cold) season. You might also consider some home workout equipment if you have the space and funds for it. Also, try to offset those holiday treats with some lighter, healthier lunches than you might ordinarily have. Even a small focus on health and nutrition can help you to maintain a positive mindset throughout the season.
Self-care during the holidays ultimately involves a lot of patience and an approach that’s both strategic and laid back. Keep these tips in mind though, and you’ll be well on your way to a more relaxed holiday — even if things will feel a little bit different this year.