6 Ways to Take Care of Yourself During the Holidays

If you’ve been up late shopping or cooking or wrapping presents in years past, you already know that taking care of yourself during the holidays is something that often slides to the side. It comes naturally in a season of giving to want to make everybody else’s holiday joyous, but the cost is sometimes higher than we realize. Here are a few ways to take care of yourself this year.

Find Your Focus

We had a less than ideal first Christmas after our daughter was born. I had expectations I couldn’t fill. By the next Christmas, my capacity to celebrate was greater, but I also knew that I could quickly drive myself crazy trying to make the holidays special. In the process, I’d make everyone around me pretty unhappy.

So I sat down with my husband and daughter and spent time talking and making a list of the three most important things for each person in the family. We used that list to guide where we spent our time and energy that year. It helped us feel better about saying no to some opportunities we knew just weren’t a good fit for our family at that time. Taking the time to reflect on what matters most lets you off the hook and can increase your contentment and peace in a busy holiday season.

Make Time for People

It may seem like a no-brainer that we would be with others over the holidays, but that may look different this year. When virtual school and work-at-home arrangements have provided a LOT of together time, our first instinct may be to seek personal space or disappear into our own tasks. It’s also equally possible that “doing” for the people in your life over the holidays eclipses simply enjoying each other. Either way, don’t forget that things like date nights and family movie nights still bond us and release stress. And a Zoom call with a cherished friend you haven’t seen in person in awhile can be just way to take care of yourself when you’re at the end of your rope.

Recognize Your Limits

Everyone has them. Yet when it comes to the holiday season, most of us treat the month or more between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day like a full out sprint, rather than what it really is: the functional equivalent of a half marathon.

This year, spend some time reflecting on where you’ve pushed those boundaries too far before. Do you routinely stay up late and wake up groggy trying to get it all done? Is just one more gift leading you to end up with big bills you regret later? Do you give up workout time more often than you want because you’re trying to do it all? Does hosting and prepping a big meal stress you out? Reflect on how you can better manage your boundaries this year to allow in the good without going overboard. Enlist a friend or spouse if you’re struggling with how to scale back.

Daily Check-Ins

Make time to check in with yourself and figure out what you need that day to keep going. Sometimes it’s as simple as time to watch a favorite Christmas movie that makes you laugh. Sometimes, reaching out to a spouse or parent for a little help occupying the kids so you can spend an uninterrupted hour working on tasks is a little planning pays dividends over and over. Choose to prioritize doing things that fill you up, even if that means getting some alone time by driving around listening to music.

Get Comfortable With ‘No’

The middle schooler who is begging for the phone you don’t think they are mature enough for. The office Christmas event you hate. Maybe it’s the extra sweets that left you with five pounds that you have to lose come January. Maybe it’s the extra family engagement that means two more hours of driving on a busy day when you know your kids will be strung out. Know that it’s okay to say no. You don’t owe anyone explanations. We tend not to like disappointing anyone during the holidays, but the truth is that it doesn’t matter what we do; disappointment is a part of life. Choosing what fits you and your family is always a “yes,” and it’s also another simple way to take care of yourself.

Steward Your Health

Admittedly, one of the toughest things to do in a year when gyms have been closed and schedules have been skewed and life often feels emotional and exhausting is take good care of your health. And yet, it’s one of the most important ways we as moms can care for ourselves. Eating foods that fuel our bodies well, staying active, getting good sleep, and attending to our emotional and spiritual health all put us in a better position to cope and to care for others.

What do you plan to do differently this year? When you look back on the holiday season, will it stand out as a year when you made changes for the better?

For more ways to take care of yourself this holiday season, check out 5 Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Health this Holiday.


Deonne Lindsey
Deonne lives in Lansing with her husband Tom and their daughter. She is a stay at home mom, runner, scrapbooker, and lover of all things genealogy. When she’s not reading to her daughter, you can find her tracking down chocolate hummus at Aldi, or coaching a weekly workshop at WW.


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