For me, once Halloween is over I start to focus on what the remainder of the year is going to look like. I know that there are going to be parties, events for my boys, travel, family visiting; the list goes on and on. Taking care of you during the holidays is not an easy task. We tend to feel overwhelmed with our to-do list and exercise and healthy eating are not the priority.
Let me be clear, however, that exercise and healthy eating are not the only self-care I’m talking about. Some other issues that tend to be forgotten:
- Lack of sleep
- Taking time to meditate
- Remembering your “whys”
So how can we keep on track during the holidays?
- Plan ahead: Start looking at your calendars. If you know there is going to be a week that is going to be full of parties, planning and prepping, know that during this week you’re going to have to plan to work ahead. I encourage you to physically write in (or type in) your workouts on your calendars. If you’re going to miss a day or two, know that this is not going to ruin your progress. As long as it doesn’t happen every week, you’re going to be just fine! Be sure to keep healthy snacks on hand and bring them with to parties when you’re invited. Though socializing tends to occur in the kitchen, try to stay away from the food; you’re more likely to snack mindlessly if it’s sitting there in front of you while you’re socializing with someone.
- Be aware of what your body is telling you: If you become sick, remember that your body is talking to you. It may be telling you that you are doing too much and it needs a break or that you are not getting enough sleep. Take that time! Everything will be just fine in the end, I promise!
- Meditate: This is often the number one thing to hit the backburner! This is how you can check in with yourself to determine how you are doing. By taking even just 10 minutes to be quiet, breathe, and focusing on your body and breath, you will feel much more at ease and relaxed. It helps reduce the stress you’re feeling and place things into perspective. If you are one to get headaches often, you may find that during the holidays these headaches increase in frequency due to stress. By taking a small amount of time to breath and relax the shoulders, neck and jaw line, you may find a reduction in the number of headaches you have.
- Journal: Don’t let this be a habit you stop during the holidays. Just as mediation helps you check-in, so does journaling. I have encouraged you in the past to just write your feelings. You may identify triggers of stress you didn’t realize existed.
- Prioritize: Decide weekly what is the most important and what is the least important. Make sure that your own self-care is at the top of the list. If that means getting a 10 minute workout in 2-3 times throughout the day, that is ok! Just make it a priority.
- Ask for help: This is a tough one… even for me. I feel like I have to do it all; but I don’t. And neither do you. If someone offers to help, take it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and you’ve volunteered for something that you just don’t know you can commit to, ask for help. Know that this is ok! You do not have to do it all!
- Take time to do things that make you feel good: This can be anything from volunteering at the homeless shelter to getting a massage or even something as simple as making your bed every morning.
- FORGIVE YOURSELF!!!! Do you ever get tired of me saying this? You have to forgive yourself when you miss a workout or eat something unhealthy or forget to send your child’s teachers gift to school on the day it’s suppose to be there. Forgive yourself. You’re human. Life is all about forgiving ourselves and moving past the mistakes.
The holidays are meant to be about being with others. They should be a time of love, sharing, caring, and spending time with those who are important to us. Make this the year you allow yourself to live and enjoy the holidays. If you are grieving, allow yourself time to process that grief. Allow yourself to cry, to call a friend or family member to talk. Reach out to others you know will be there for you. Allow yourself time to grieve during this season.