The lead up to holidays always seems to be busy and stressful. There is always so much to do before we get to have our break. But what if we looked at it differently? Changed our minds and took a break or two now, before we lost our minds, and our health?
I’ve always done it the old way, until recently. Done what was expected. Done all the stuff, bought all the gifts, spent all the money. Until I had cancer (again) and I decided that my health was actually far more important than doing what other people expected. In fact, that last thing isn’t important at all, if we really think about it. It might seem harsh or like we are disappointing others, when we want it to be a happy time of year – but isn’t disappointing yourself worse? Doing all the stuff is fine, if it fills you up – but if it drains your energy, isn’t it time to rethink it?
Happy, healthy Holidays
I have come up with some ways for you to check in with yourself and figure out what you want from the holidays this year – instead of just doing what you think you should. By resting, protecting our boundaries, and establishing what we actually want, we are creating healthy habits his holiday season. And hopefully we can show our kids how to look after themselves too. Enjoy!
- have a little break now, don’t wait until “its all done”
- say no to anything that doesn’t feel right
- spend time with the people you love, in ways you enjoy
- practice self care and alone time, to boost your energy
- don’t spend a fortune, make a gift or send an e-card instead
- drink plenty of water to stay well
1. Break NOW, not when it’s all done
I have a tendency to try and finish what I’m doing, even if I’m exhausted. Pushing to get it done, then I can rest. But the false economy of this is that it will take more energy and time to do when we are tired.
So, take a little break whenever you feel things are overwhelming. / Meditate. / Take a nap. / Listen to some music. / Walk outside and ground on the earth.
It only has to be 10 minutes to recharge your body and mind.
2. Learn to say NO when you want to
The trick with this one, is not to answer straight away – give yourself time to figure out if you really want to. And have some standard lines memorised to use when asked to do something.
Thanks, but I don’t have the energy to do that. / No thanks, I have some me time scheduled then. / No I’m not available then, but let’s catch up another time soon. / Or check out how Brene Brown does it. Choose discomfort now, over resentment later!
3. Find time for the people you love
I have to say it… just because they are family, or our oldest friends, doesn’t mean they bring us joy and love. And is that party really what you want to do?
We are all different. My hubby comes alive with lots of people but it makes me exhausted. I love small intimate settings and real talk.
Create time for the people you cherish most, in they ways that are meaningful to you.
Say no to family events if they are likely to trigger you, or have an exit strategy. / Plan the catch ups you want to have, even if that means not seeing everyone before Xmas. / Socialise only when it feels like it will lift you up.
4. Have a self-care routine and stick to it
Being alone and looking after ourself is so important to our mental health and to recharge our batteries. Do you need time in nature? Or a daily swim? Or to binge watch your new favourite series? Whatever your self-care looks like, schedule it in and make it an essential part of your holiday plan.
Spend time alone to reset, doing whatever it is you enjoy. / Take a bath or have a swim, as immersing ourselves in water helps us reset. / Use time between activities to check in with yourself and ask what it is your need. / Practice loving self-talk and be kind to yourself most of all.
5. Holidays don’t need to be expensive
We are led to believe that we must give gifts at the end of the year, and many struggle with all the expenses. It is lovely to acknowledge all the people who have touched us throughout the year, but does it need to cause financial stress? Perhaps there is a way to show we care without adding more things to our shopping lists.
When I was little, I used to make presents – why can’t we still? Or better yet, get the kids to help? I imagine this is even more special to a favourite teacher than another candle or box of chocolates.
6. Remember water, water, water
My number one top nutrition tip that almost no one nails all the time, is to drink enough water. Especially when it’s hot. Even more so when you’re drinking more alcohol, tea and coffee. Water helps us with everything our body does – flushing toxins, digestion, reducing allergies, making energy, helping sore muscles and joints, making you think better, preventing headaches, and even aiding weight loss.
Drink an extra glass of water for every alcoholic or caffeinated drink you have. / Use a water bottle so you can keep track and aim for minimum 30mL per kg body weight, and more if you’re exercising or sweating (I weigh around 68kg so need at least 2L). / Use habit stacking to remember to drink water every time you brush your teeth or do a wee or check your email. / Add more fruits and veggies to increase water intake.
In summary, we will feel happier and more rested these holidays if we remember to look after our own needs first. Put on your own oxygen mask before you help others. Fill up your own cup before you visit the rellies. Choose what it is that will make you feel good. And happy holidays, everyone!