It’s hectic out there this time of year. The shopping, the decorating, the rounds of parties—it’s easy to let your own needs fall by the wayside in the excitement of the season. But it’s even more important to take care of yourself at this time of year, and yes, that means doing more than doctoring up your office-party hangover with some ibuprofen and Emergen-C. Making your own needs a priority can help you avoid stress, burnout, and even sickness. A little regular self-care between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve will help ensure that you’re happy, healthy, sane and ready to make merry with your friends and family.
Here, seven busy women share their tips for foolproof holiday season self-care.
1. "My top tip for self-care over the holiday season is to keep a journal. We often allow everything to get on top of us at this stressful time of year, but the simple act of writing things down can help us to keep our mental and physical health in tip-top shape. Plan, create lists and itineraries, tick things off before bed, and track the quality of your food choices and the frequency of your workouts. It works wonders!"—Melanie Murphy, beauty and lifestyle blogger
2. “Order gifts online! Shopping during the holidays is stressful: the crowds, the parking, the long lines, and high-fat mall food. Put on some cozy PJs, make a cup of tea, and order all of your holiday gifts. Some stores even wrap them for you, so you’ll save many hours that you could spend getting a massage, working out, meditating, getting a manicure, or relaxing with your family.”—Lisa Defazio, R.D.
"We often allow everything to get on top of us at this stressful time of year, but the simple act of writing things down can help us to keep our mental and physical health in tip-top shape."
3. “I would be lost without the Headspace meditation app. It offers an easy way to make time for a 20-minute break each day, and its 'streak' tracking feature incentivizes me to be consistent. Every 15 days I hit in a row, I earn a free month to give to a friend. I remember it isn't 'selfish' to take care of my own needs. Like in the airplane safety video, I have to put on my oxygen mask first before I can help others.”—Leigh Stein, writer and co-organizer of BinderCon, a conference for women and gender nonconforming writers
4. “My self-care usually revolves around being grateful, present, and helpful and maintaining my own routine. This involves daily meditation and time to practice yoga or work out. This is especially important while traveling to stay grounded and reduce tension.” —Sarah Beth Mosser, Youtube yogi
"Like in the airplane safety video, I have to put on my oxygen mask first before I can help others."
5. “Use the word no. The holidays are a time of increased obligation, and unfortunately, when we agree to too much, we compromise our health and wellbeing. Stress is also terrible for your sleep patterns and can contribute to holiday weight gain. I'm very selective in who and what I commit to during this time, and I find I'm much happier and actually get some enjoyment—isn't that what the holidays are supposed to be about?”—Linda Anegawa, M.D., weight-management expert
6. “My self-care focuses on being able to pick and choose who I spend my time with during this time. I often find myself spending the time with two or three close friends or alone. Alone time is so rare and precious for me that I welcome it. This is the time of year that I spend reflecting on everything I've accomplished the year; I start making goals for the year to come. I get to celebrate myself and my successes.”—Feminista Jones, an author, speaker, and activist