Christmas week is here! Are you excited, stressed, or overwhelmed? It is usually the latter two. The holiday season comes with the hustle and bustle. There is plenty of excitement from seeing and spending time with family and friends, but there is also a lot of stress associated with it, especially during the last week/days leading up to Christmas.
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The holiday season is known to bring about a range of emotions, from positive and negative. The week of Christmas can be very daunting because there is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into making sure others are taken care of. We are busy shopping for gifts for others (get these last-minute mental health gifts here), busy planning for dinner, planning activities for the day, and so on. When this happens, it leaves little time for us to take care of ourselves, and we end up jeopardizing our mental health, all for the sake of one day.
What is Self-Care & why is it important?
Self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s mental health. In today’s consistently going and connected world, finding time for ourselves is something that has become so rare and pretty much non-existent during special events/occasions. During these special moments/events, we may feel that wanting to take care of ourselves is denying our attention to other important things (family, friends, events, occasions).
Self-care relies heavily on self-awareness. By practicing self-awareness, you will be able to recognize patterns in your emotions, including events or situations (for example, the holiday season) that can trigger you to become stressed and overwhelmed. Therefore, if time is taken during this Christmas week to practice self-care, you will be able to remain refreshed, recharged, and be at your best for yourself and those around you.
7 Self-Care ideas to prioritize this Christmas week
With just a little thought and planning, you will be able to survive and thrive this week! So let’s get into it, shall we?
Keep exercise essential/try to remain active
Even with the hustle and bustle, try to take time out each day this week to get moving, even if it is for 15-30 minutes. Keeping active goes a long way for our mental health.
Here are some of the benefits of being active:
- It can help to reduce anxiety by releasing tension and boosting energy levels
- It helps with coping
- It reduces negative mood and help keep you in a positive frame of mind
- It improves self-esteem and cognitive function
- It is an effective way to reduce stress by releasing endorphins in the brain that will relax the body and relieve tension in the body
- It helps to improve focus, memory, and motivation
Engage in deep breathing and relaxation techniques
These type of activities helps to refocus you and center your thoughts. Whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed, relaxation activities such as deep breathing, stretching, and listening to music will be an effective way to calm your stress levels and decrease negative thoughts and negative emotions. Practicing such activities this week helps you get out of your head and focus all your energy on the present moment. You are intentionally trying to center yourself by bringing awareness back to your body.
Embrace your emotions
Most of the time, embracing and acknowledging our emotions is not always easy to do, because as humans, we have an instinct not to want to feel or deal with unpleasant emotions. But I am here to tell you to acknowledge and embrace those feelings.
This has been the most trying year for all of us. You may have lost someone this year, lost your job/home, have a loved one who is sick, or cannot be with family this year, and that is painful! Understand that it is normal to feel sadness. It is okay to feel sad and broken.
Allow yourself to feel these feelings so you can process what you are going through and be aware of things that may be triggering those unpleasant emotions.
Protect your sleep
Sleep is SUPER important, and if we forget to maintain a regular sleep and wake routine, it can throw off our physical and emotional health. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, additional stress, irritability, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.
But let’s be realistic, most of us will be sleeping less during this week because we are either finishing up last minute errands, wrapping presents, food prepping, or simply just spending time with family and friends, and I get it! Try, however, to protect your sleep so that you can enjoy this week.
Set healthy boundaries
The holidays’ excitement may bring about unwanted opinions from friends and family about where you should be in life and what you should be doing with your life. But keeping healthy boundaries about your choices and path of life empowers you to make moves that serve you while honoring yourself as a separate individual with needs and wants that differs from others. Without healthy boundaries, especially during this week, you will open up the door for others to invalidate your value, self-worth, feelings, and desires, and that shouldn’t be the case.
Maintain a level of self-awareness
Be in tune with how you feel and the emotions you are experiencing and what you are experiencing. For example, if your stress levels are high, take note of the situation you are in. Does it happen around certain people? Is it a particular activity? What about negative emotions? Are you experiencing that too? It may be related to unrealistic expectations you are setting for this week.
Readjust your goals and plans so that they are attainable. Also, engage in time management so that you do not feel too overwhelmed this week. Pause and engage in relaxing activities to keep your mind and emotions well balanced.
Take time out every day this week to pause and think about all the things you are grateful for this year. Sometimes it may be hard to see the blessings that we receive daily because life can come at us pretty fast, and most of the time, we are not ready for it. Practicing gratitude helps to protect your brain from stress, brain fog, and feelings of sadness. Focusing on things that you are grateful for builds stronger positive emotional pathways in your brain.
Do enjoy this Christmas week but remember to take time out to care for your needs and emotions. This week will be filled with different ranges of emotions, filled with stress and anxiety. Take frequent moments to pause, reflect, and refocus by engaging in self-care.
Happy Holidays my lovelies and be safe!