Here in Oz, not only is Christmas our most celebrated annual holiday, it also is coupled with the end of the school year. This makes the lead up to Christmas chockablock full of Christmas shopping, concerts and parties as well as graduations, presentation days, and school formals (proms).
The enormity of what has to be organised can feel completely overwhelming. Having a few self-care tips up your sleeve can not only get you through this stressful season, it can increase your capacity to enjoy it. And that sounds good to us!
Here are 7 ways you can care for yourself during Christmas time.
Over extending ourselves can be one of the main stressors at Christmas. Giving more time, money or energy than we can afford will cause us to feel like we are at a loss. Setting clear boundaries is a way to prevent this. Practically it might look like, setting a budget, creating a time management plan, reworking your schedule or making effective ‘to do’ lists. Eating well, making sure you get enough movement and sleep, and guarding your rest time are also important self care practices.
Self care is not just about giving yourself what is good for you, but also making yourself feel loved. Ask what you can give yourself to make Christmas great for you. Some like to wrap it and put it under the tree, however if this feels strange, simply keep it to yourself. We like the thought of women being confident enough to say, ‘I know what I'd like and I'm going to give it to myself this Christmas.’
It seems obvious, but to reduce stress we need to avoid the stressors. This can be accomplished with a little thought and planning. Shop in the early morning, late at night or online. When negotiating public transport, plan ahead. Say ‘no’ to being in environments that make you feel uneasy. Avoid family conflict.
Christmas can be a time when grief and unresolved emotional pain creeps up on us. This is because the season is closely associated with family. If you are dealing with emotional or psychological distress that is connected to family, it's important to know how to manage it. Some opt to escape and not celebrate at all. This is understandable and totally fine if your wounds are fresh, however you don’t have to miss out on Christmas because of something that happened years ago. Work with a professional to develop a way to cope when triggered. They may suggest exercise, medication, journaling and the like.
Connecting your way means joining in on Christmas celebrations how and when it suits you. If you are not a big party person, decide to meet those who are important to you one on one or in a small gathering. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of events you have been invited to, confidently decline an invitation or two. Know how you can participate in Christmas celebrations authentically and meaningfully. Alternatively, if you feel energised by crowds and meeting new people, make parties a priority.
Christmas is always a time when lots of photographs are taken. This can make some of us feel uncomfortable. Feeling beautiful can really help us to be less self conscious and in turn increase our enjoyment of the season. We don’t know about you, but a new cut and colour, a facial, a pedi or medi, a massage, an eyebrow wax or a long warm bath makes us feel extra special. Dress up, wear stunning jewellery pieces and cute hair accessories that make you feel beautiful.
It's amazing how practising generosity makes us feel. To give agenda-free, without obligation and from the heart is not only good for the receiver of the gift, but also extremely nourishing for the soul. To us, when it comes to gift giving at Christmas time, sincere, thoughtful generosity, that is within our means is the best kind of self care.