Ah the holidays…it’s that time of year for thanks, togetherness, and total to-do list overload for moms everywhere. Of course the nature of the season is well intended but the expectations, planning and extra calendar additions can send even the most prepared matriarch into meltdown mode. If you’re like me, you can usually expect to experience some type of ailment (or two) between late November and early January. Sometimes this is in the form of a cold/flu, occasionally a little adrenal fatigue, and many times just plain old Grinch-ness (it’s a thing…I promise).
Protecting your physical and mental health during this busy time is crucial to a happy holiday season. In a time when we try so hard to put others before ourselves, sometimes it’s ok to stop and put your oxygen mask on first. In fact, you might be surprised how much more you can give when you are running on a full tank yourself.
Now, none of these hacks are rocket science. Quite the opposite…but an early commitment to some kind of self-care increases the chances you will actually make it a priority when the busyness of the holidays sets in.
Hack #1: Stick to your routines and good habits
Whether you go to the gym 3 days a week or yoga every other weekend or even just a casual stroll kid-free down the aisles of Target once a month, now is not the time to drop those routines. Healthy eating and sufficient sleep also fall into this category. Your body and mind will appreciate the regular endorphins and will repay you with energy, lower stress, and positive vibes.
Hack #2: Limit guilt
In these months where comparison and over-indulgence are two highly apparent themes, just cut yourself some slack. Pinterest is not real life and an extra serving of pie on Thanksgiving is totally ok. If your Elf on the Shelf was unable to create a mystical wonderland for your children one night, who cares? If you couldn’t make it to the third cookie exchange you were invited to this month, oh well! Practice grace and let go of the guilt – mommy or otherwise.
Hack #3: Create opportunities for down time
I find that if I don’t pointedly look at our calendar and factor in some down days during the holidays, they tend to not happen. The day after Thanksgiving, we have made it a family tradition to stay in our pajamas and leisurely start our Christmas decorating, watching movies and eating leftovers. It is one of my favorite, stress-free days of the whole season. If you can’t find whole days to go plan-free, maybe decide that week day nights or Saturday mornings will be off limits to any extra events. Find little windows of time during the day to de-stress – listen to a fun podcast in the school pick up line or try 10 minutes of meditation before bed (Headspace is a great app for this!) Whatever your down time looks like, embrace that time to restore and recharge.
Hack #4: Make an emergency self-care kit
Even with being attentive to your own health during the holidays, everyone is bound to have “one of those days”. A day where no amount of routine or downtime will limit the stress that sneaks up on you. In these moments, a quick self-care fix can be the best solution to get you back on the holiday cheer train. Stashing away a little emergency kit early in the season will ensure you have a resource on hand when that day comes your way. Some ideas:
- New magazine and bubble bath
- Face mask and wine
- Comfort meal fixings and your favorite holiday movie (to be enjoyed with or without kids)
- Tea and a good book
Always keep in mind, self-care is anything but selfish. Healthy, happy mom = healthy, happy family = healthy, happy holiday season!