1. Start now.
I know the holidays – Thanksgiving, Hannukkah, Christmas – are weeks away. Now is the perfect time to start taking really good care of yourself or at least start planning what you are going to do! It is so much easier to do something that already has momentum.
Remember – self-care doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It can be small steps each day depending on what you need.
Let’s start now: What can you do today that will show yourself you care?
It can be as simple as going to bed 15 minutes earlier or eating a piece of fruit instead of a cookie.
2. Prioritize feeling good/taking care of yourself over whether you might disappoint others.
Yes, disappointing others sucks. But here’s a secret, it only lasts a little while. This isn’t to say you should not take other people into consideration, it means you deserve to be considered as well.
Taking care of yourself has lasting effects, well beyond the holiday season.
The 100th holiday celebration will go on without you, I promise. Those extra hours you spent soaking in the tub reading a novel you have had trouble making time to read will live on and on in a feeling of deeply caring for yourself.
3. Make a list of what is your minimum self-care.
Get real with yourself. What is the bare minimum for sleep, movement, food, quiet and fun? Not the kind of fun where you spend days recovering (I am looking at you boozy night out), but the kind where you make it through cold and flu season without really ever getting sick?
I have super high minimums for self-care. I share this with you because until really recently I used to think something was wrong with me because I need all this self- care to stay healthy. Turns out, everyone does. Even you!
My minimum self-care is at least 8 hours of sleep a night, some sort of yoga most days (some days a 90 minute class, other days 15 minutes of reset button or some simple cat/cow) fruits and vegetables at most meals (green smoothies make this tons easier) meditation at least 5 days a week (I still love Headspace) and a friend connection – usually a tea date or a lunch out once a week. Oh, and let’s not forget avoiding all forms of cow dairy and shellfish!
Not sure where to get started on your minimum self-care? Want to write your own wellness prescription?
4. Make a list of maximum self-care.
Just for fun take your self-care a step further and imagine if time and money were not a consideration, what would you do to take care of yourself?
I would have weekly therapy, weekly massage, access to a steam room and sauna, at least quarterly girl friend getaways, twice a year yoga retreats and quarterly yoga workshops. And that is just off the top of my head!
That’s fun, huh?
Now let’s try to make some of that happen. Maybe you do something for your birthday or add a massage gift card to your holiday list.
It’s all in the name of good, so do it.
5. Set yourself up for success.
Don’t buy the chips at the store. Or the cookies. Or whatever is your go-to crap food when you have had a terrible day or stressful meeting.
Not sure if you are an emotional eater?
Take a week and write down every single bit of food that passes your lips and for each thing that is being eaten for something other than actual hunger- write the feeling you are eating or the event the came right before you downed those chips or cinnamon toast.
PS – Sometimes my feelings taste like French fries, burgers and bourbon.
What about yours?
6. Start a weekly review.
Every Tuesday I sit down with my wellness prescription (part minimum and maximum self-care list) and I schedule my sleep, food (breakfast, lunch and dinner), exercise (yoga, cardio and strength training), meditation, plus my birthday list and I plan my week.
The simple act of visiting these lists at least once a week helps me actually do more self-care and getting it on my calendar makes it feel important and real.
7. Plan something special just for you during the holidays.
Maybe a vegan cheese making class or a yoga workshop or even an at-home pedicure. Something that makes your heart sing.
8. Make your plan visual.
I keep all my wellness prescription items on individual post-it notes on a price of construction paper. I hang this elementary school masterpiece on my closet door. As I complete each item I move it to the done place. Each night I review ( without judgement!) how my day went and note where I might need extra support or focus in the next few days.
It is simple and for me, it works.
How are you planning to take care of yourself this holiday season?
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In case you are looking for more holiday self-care ideas,you might like:
How I Overcame the Holiday Humbug in 7 Steps
75 Ways to Show Yourself Some Love Today
The One Thing You MUST Be Ready To Do To Take Care of You This Holiday Season - a must read for anyone wondering how to respond to rude comments we get from those who love us most.