What Stops Me From Going Crazy During The Holiday Season
The holiday season for me can be a bit nuts. Not only are there social functions to attend, there is also the shopping, the baking and cooking, decorating, etc. to deal with. I also put a lot of pressure on myself by making majority of my gifts and all my cards and gift tags. The days are also shorter and colder. These don’t help since I love the sun and don’t so as well when denied warmth and sunshine. In order to keep sane, I have learned though the years to amp up my self-care routine during this time.
If you are anything like me, someone who loves this season and tends to overboard with their holiday plans and tasks, you may wish to start some self-care rituals in order to get through unscathed and enjoy the season more.
Here are the self-care habits I found extremely helpful. Try out a few or more and see what they do for you and your stress levels:
1. Use a sun lamp
If you’ve never heard of one, a sun lamp is a light fixture that emulates sunlight. I turn it on as soon as I get up in the morning and sit in front of it while I have my coffee and read my emails and start my day. There is evidence that sun lamps can alleviate symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I know that it has worked well for me and has kept my energy levels steady and helped with my mood during the winter months. You can shop your local big box store or go online to find one that suits your home and needs.
2. Get to bed earlier
Whenever possible I get to bed earlier this time of year. It’s not that hard given that I tend to be a little more tired from the lack of sunshine and extra busy-ness. But it’s not just getting to be at an earlier hour, it’s also making sure that I am better at my bedtime routine, making sure I am more careful to not watch TV or use electronic devices before I fall asleep.
Before the season starts I look at my budget for gifts, food and other holiday-related items. I determine how I wish to allocate my funds and stick with it. This tactic helps make shopping decisions easier and faster. An added bonus is that budgeting stops making Blue Monday (the supposed saddest day of the year) even worse by avoiding a shocking credit card bill.
4. Plan ahead
My calendar is crucial here. Not only do I use it to keep track of events, important tasks and deadlines, I also schedule in my “me time”. All the busy-ness drains me and I have to remember and take time to recharge. That means putting into my calendar so that it’s official, otherwise I won’t be taking the time for myself at all. Me-time can take the form of yoga, meditation, a bath, or simply some time alone to sketch or journal.
5. Start New Year’s resolutions in December
I have implemented this tactic for few years now and it has been helpful in keeping me from overindulging during social gatherings since I usually have a resolution to improve or stick to my diet. It has also allowed me to keep and continue healthy habits (for the most part) despite many temptations to do otherwise. I create my resolution list at the end of November and start my motivational self-talk in December and begin my goals then. This has included eating less/better (as I already mentioned), exercise routines, a simple new habit, etc.
6. Have a doable to-do list
Admittedly this is a difficult one for me as I tend to overextend myself so much that I set myself up for failure. But I am slowly realizing my limits (or more accurately am learning to listen to my partner’s advice) and am keeping to a more realistic schedule and set of goals. Before I add another task to my calendar, I try and determine if it is doable and how important it really is to me.
7. Be grateful
This habit is one that I believe should be practiced daily and throughout the year, but is especially relevant during this time. Recollecting all that you have to be thankful for on a regular basis uplifts your mood and promotes a better sense of well-being. I make the act of gratefulness part of my “me-time”. I grab my journal or sketchbook and lay down all my life’s blessings.
8. Make art
Another habit that I think should be done all year long and one that must not be forgotten during the season. Like the act of gratefulness, making art gives one a better sense of well-being, plus promotes positive feelings such as joy and comfort. A pleasurable art session improves sleep and forces us to get in touch with our selves and our creative sides. Again, I schedule art-making into my me-time and make it a priority.
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