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15 Ways to be Kind to Yourself, Bringing Peace to the Chaos
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15 Ways to be Kind to Yourself, Bringing Peace to the Chaos

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. These lyrics, most often sung at Christmas-time, were originally written by Jill and Sy Miller for the International Children’s Choir. 

What a hope-filled line, especially sung by a group of children, right? 

And, as far as thoughts of peace, brotherhood, and unity across the globe, this is such a beautiful and needed message. 

But, do you ever find as an adult, that songs sung about peace during the holiday season can hit a bit differently. 

I mean, the holidays often bring about so much chaos. Our to-do lists are compounded, we’re rushing here and there. 

And, aside from the busyness of it all, the holidays can bring up many emotions for those who’ve suffered loss. 

Then, this time of year can feel overwhelming financially, deadlines loom, and the pressure to make everything perfect for everyone else can lay unnecessary burdens, far too heavy to bear, on our shoulders. 

In a time when we desire nothing more than to take a breath and soak in time with friends and loved ones, we’re often so stressed by the hustle and bustle that we can’t even enjoy what could be the most wonderful time of the year.

If you feel like you’re desperately searching for peace amidst the holiday hustle, you’re not alone. 

So then, how can you find peace in the chaos? You can let it begin with you.

Self-care throughout the holiday season is crucial to curbing stress and promoting peace. 

In other words, as our thoughts are turned to kindness towards others this time of year, we need to remember to also be kind to ourselves during the holidays, and here’s 15 ways to do just that! 

How To Be Kind To Yourself During The Holiday Season

1- Take Inventory

If you feel like you’re overwhelmed this holiday season, whether it’s November 1st or December 23rd, stop for a moment to reflect. 

Grab a journal and be still for a moment. Think: where are you struggling, what is burdening you at the moment? 

Whether it’s friends, family, a busy schedule, financial stress, or even unrealistic expectations you’ve been putting on yourself, when you know what the problem is, it’s easier to find a solution. 

Then, as you seek a solution, remind yourself that a bit of struggle is normal. 

And, ultimately, don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend or professional if you need to talk things out. Ask for help from your spouse, children, friends, and loved ones, and make a plan to work through the struggle.  

2- Realistic Expectations

Holidays are filled with expectations, both the expectations others put on us, and those we put on ourselves. 

And, unrealistic expectations can lead to a lack of peace. 

It’s okay to reevaluate even your own expectations throughout the holiday season, adjusting to-do lists, schedules, and traditions if needed. 

Carrying out each and every expectation at the expense of your peace is not worth it. 

So, as you begin the season, be sure both your expectations and those of your friends and family are realistic, timely, and fitting. 

And, if you become overwhelmed along the way, be flexible, adjusting where needed so everyone, you included, can enjoy the season. 

3- Year-End Reflection Tornado

Odd heading, right? Let me explain…

Unfortunately the joyous time known as the holiday season is also situated at the end of the year, a time when many of us reflect on the joys, sorrows, successes, and failures of the year as a whole. 

Such reflection can be a good thing, as long as you maintain proper perspective. 

Keeping a good frame of mind this time of year is crucial because during the holiday season reflection often leads to feelings of pressure. Then, the more we reflect, the more our thoughts can spin, pulling us up into a whirlwind (or tornado) that spews out debris all over our holiday celebrations. 

So, how can you keep end of the year reflection healthy, avoiding the whirlwind? 

Be present in the moment. Don’t let thoughts of last year’s holiday spoil this one. And, don’t let thoughts of next year’s ambitions (no matter how great they are) keep you from enjoying moments here and now

4- Just Say No

All you people-pleasers just cringed, I know. For some, it’s so hard to say no, especially during the holidays. 

We have many people we love and care about, and when someone asks us to do something or be somewhere, we add one more thing, and one more thing, and one more thing to our list until we’ve violently sacrificed our peace on the altar of yes.

It’s okay to say no. 

In fact, one way to have peace this season, one way to be kind to yourself, is to not only say no when needed but to also not feel guilty about your decision. 

5- Maintain A Routine, Begin A Routine

The holidays can wreak havoc on our routines. And, a lack of routine can truly wreck our peace. 

We’re talking about daily routines here as well as those small, simple, daily practices that are crucial to our mental and emotional well-being. 

So first, try your best to stick to your normal routines this time of year. 

And secondly, if you don’t have some time set in place for yourself already, plan to take 5-10 minutes each and every day (mornings are recommended to start you off on the right foot) to do any of the following, showing kindness to yourself: 

  • enjoy a cup of coffee in silence
  • meditate
  • journalize what you’re grateful for
  • go for a walk
  • practice deep breathing exercises
  • listen to your favorite music

6- Budget

Finances can overwhelm folks this time of year. But, you can avoid this unnecessary stress by making a budget, and sticking to it, prior to the holiday hustle and bustle. 

Make a realistic budget for your holiday spending, including gifts, experiences, gatherings, meals, and more, then respect your budget. 

By sticking to a budget, you’ll reduce your stress both during, and after, the holidays. 

7- Nutrition

This topic is a coin, with two obvious, and equal, sides. So, let’s take a look at both here. 

I don’t need to tell you that there’s multiple opportunities to indulge throughout the holiday season. 

But, those indulgences can lead to bloating, fatigue, even added stress, and irritability. 

So, plan to indulge responsibly to avoid these symptoms which exacerbate the overwhelming feelings that often accompany the holiday season. 

If you know the office holiday party is on Friday, and you plan to have a few drinks and enjoy a rich meal, be mindful of this throughout the week, making healthy choices. 

Say no to the cookies, cakes, and candies you’re not especially thrilled about (don’t eat them simply because they’re there) so you can say yes to the peanut butter fudge you look forward to each year at your sister’s Christmas gift exchange party. 

Likewise, if you overindulge, be kind to yourself. 

You wouldn’t trash talk your mother for enjoying an extra slice of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, so seek to show the same grace to yourself. 

It’s pie. You had two slices. It’s not the end of the world. Simply enjoy the moment, then get back to your normal, healthy routine. 

Thinking of our coin analogy…

Heads: know the pitfalls of overindulgence and plan accordingly. 

Tails: if you overindulge, be kind to yourself.

Or, as we like to think of it (outside of the holiday season as well), keep the 80/20 rule in mind throughout the season, eating (and drinking) with your health in mind 80% of the time, leaving that 20% for your favorite holiday foods and beverages. 

8- Say No To Clutter

Lots of items make their way into our homes during the holiday season, and this can lead to clutter. 

Clutter can increase anxiety and stress levels, decrease your focus, and even disrupt your sleep, each of which can negatively affect your health. 

Many have found success when looking to decrease stress caused by clutter by following the one in-one out rule. 

For each item (gifts, clothing, decor, etc) that comes into your home, donate or give away one item. 

And, if this rule sounds a bit too rigid for your liking, simply be mindful of what’s coming into your home and have an organizational system in place to keep clutter from getting out of hand. 

9- Be Intentional With Decor

Similar to the clutter concept and how it leads to stress, as many of us enjoy decorating our homes during the holiday season, this decor can be both a blessing and a curse.

Over the years we can accumulate a lot of decor, and without an intentional purge now and then, even something as joyful as decorating for the season can seem like a burden. 

Likewise, simply having a lot of decor throughout your home can feel overwhelming. It’s one of those things that, for some, is happy and festive for a few days, but over the course of the season can contribute to feeling overwhelmed. 

So, as you decorate for the season, be intentional with the items you choose to display in your home. 

Start small, including those items that bring you the most joy and happiness. And, don’t feel like you have to use all the things just because you have all the things. You can even seek to donate items you no longer want or need.

10- Schedule Down Time

Amidst the busyness of the season, plan, schedule, work-in, intentionally leave space for you.

Block out some time, an hour or two, whatever you need, for alone time. 

Maybe you can spend this time taking a much needed nap for twenty minutes, then slowly sip on a cup of coffee (our preferred method of me-time). 

Plan turn off all your electronics, silence your phone, and curl up with a good book…one you want to read, not one you have to read. 

Or, maybe you can take your dog for a longer walk, get a mani/pedi, enjoy a massage…whatever you do, schedule some down time for yourself this holiday season.

And, to take this one step further, block out an evening or day in your busy holiday calendar for your family. 

Leave open space for a relaxing Saturday spent enjoying one another in your pjs, or simply leave room for a day of rest, allowing the time off to take you wherever your hearts desire: building a snowman, watching a favorite Christmas movie, baking cookies, going on a long walk together…the possibilities are endless, so be sure to block out some free time.

11- Move Your Body

Exercise isn’t just an option for some needed me-time in the holiday season, it’s a perfect way to keep your stress levels at bay, period. 

If you already incorporate exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle, don’t loosen the reins throughout the holidays. 

And, if you don’t exercise already, start today. 

Engaging in some form of movement each day relieves stress and anxiety, improves energy, aids in weight management, and more.  

Then, as a bonus during the holidays, an appropriate amount of exercise can also keep those Christmas cookies and eggnog from affecting your waistline. 

12- Don’t Skimp on Sleep

We know you’ve got shopping to do, gifts to wrap, treats to bake, dinners to plan, deadlines to meet, holiday programs to attend, family gatherings, office parties, and on and on. 

But, one of the best ways you can be kind to yourself this season is by getting enough shuteye. 

You need adequate, restful sleep to keep your immune system functioning optimally throughout a time of year when treats, stress, and sickness abound. 

Your body uses sleep to essentially regenerate itself, restoring and promoting health. 

So, one of the best ways you can be kind to yourself this season is by getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. 

13- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Like sleep, your body needs water to function properly. Unfortunately, the busier we are, the less we tend to drink. 

Then, throughout the holiday season we also tend to indulge in alcoholic beverages and rich foods more frequently, necessitating even more hydration to compensate for the effects of the toxins often present in these foods and beverages.

Not hydrating enough during the holidays (and everyday) can make you feel sluggish and just downright awful, compounding the stresses of the season. 

Plan to keep a reusable water bottle or canteen with you throughout your busy days and seek to drink 25-50% of your body weight in ounces of water (or other hydrating beverages) each day. 

14- Hands On

Feel the stress mounding? Not sure what to give your loved ones this year? 

Give the gift of time and creativity while simultaneously keeping your stress levels at bay this holiday season. 

Write a letter, make handmade cards, bake some healthy holiday treats, make ornaments, and much more…all done by hand. 

Why?

Working with your hands on meaningful tasks such as gifts for your loved ones throughout the holiday season is known to improve your mood, boost mental and emotional health, and relieve stress and anxiety. 

Something as simple as working on a holiday project with your hands can also promote mindfulness, helping you stay in the moment and focus on peace amidst the chaos of the holidays.

15- Don’t Bottle Up Your Emotions

For many, the holidays can be emotional. Lost loved ones, disappointments in life, and other traumas can often be felt on deep levels throughout a season when many are bubbling over with joy. 

Rooms once filled with people, now nearly empty, can cause an emotional ache that little seems to soothe. 

And, even those rooms teeming with people, laughter, and smiles can still feel lonely when you’re struggling emotionally this time of year. 

It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to cry. 

Don’t ignore or bottle up overwhelming emotions throughout this season. 

Calling a friend, reaching out to loved ones, or finding professional help when you need it this time of year may be the greatest, and kindest, gift you give to yourself

And, you are worth it! 

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    References:
    https://holisticconsultationllc.com/how-to-be-kind-to-yourself-during-the-holidays/
    https://bemorewithless.com/take-care/
    https://www.leisurecare.com/resources/how-to-find-peace-during-holidays/
    https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/treatment-program/aftercare/holidays-with-self-care/
    https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/what-does-clutter-do-to-your-brain-and-body
    https://www.healthcoachinstitute.com/articles/20-tips-for-holiday-self-care/
    https://draxe.com/nutrition/how-to-stay-hydrated/
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prescriptions-life/201906/working-your-hands-does-wonders-your-brain
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prescriptions-life/201906/working-your-hands-does-wonders-your-brain

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