December is the hardest month to practice self-care. Though it may be arduous, we grow stronger as we keep moving through what is most difficult for us. We conquer some of our own demons when we maintain calm in the midst of a stressful time. When we can retreat into our own sense of self and find the nurture within, the stress and excess of this season does not have to push us over the edge, leaving us feeling sore and achy from the holiday battle.
For many, this becomes a month of guilt, due to family issues and food choices. Guilt is the greatest stressor of all. Usually our own mind is the enemy, not what’s actually going on. So if we start with that premise, let’s see how we can take good care of ourselves during the holidays and enter the New Year in a positive and joyful spirit.
For optimal well-being during the holidays, we need to practice self-nurture and care. We cannot expect to feel great if we don’t give ourselves moments to gather our energy, relax our mind, and feed our body.
There are many stressors during the holiday season, so instead of focusing on all the things you’re not getting done, try focusing on what you are getting done.
Ways to nurture.
Compile a list of things you enjoy doing and allocate them into how much time they take. As you stop to pause between the day’s journey of tasks and obligations, you should ask yourself, “What do I really need right now? What is my body asking me for?” Then, refer to your list and do something you enjoy that fits into your time frame.
Feed your body.
- Make sure you get your daily servings of green foods. These help you digest and keep your energy going. Green foods also allow your body to cleanse, and they enhance your well-being, mood, and your nurture because of the many nutrients packed in them. One way to ensure you get your daily requirement is to always make sure you have a side of something green at your meals.
- Keep refined sugar out so you don’t keep getting stuck in the sugar blues and cravings for more the day after.
- Add some sweet, comforting root vegetables to enhance relaxation. This will also keep your sweet tooth nurtured instead of tortured.
- Get enough sleep. Tired people are more irritable.
- Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated keeps energy up and cravings down.
- Limit stimulants. That means have tea over coffee and keep alcohol to a minimum.
Nurture your soul.
- Take a break for a stroll in a park or neighborhood you love.
- Enjoy a quiet cup of tea. Alone.
- Go for a yoga class or take a trip to the gym.
- Take time to practice simple relaxation or meditation. Even five minutes makes a difference.
- Take a quite moment with a book instead of the TV. That will keep you sane and encourage a better night’s sleep.
- Give thanks for what you have in your life instead of focusing on what’s missing.
Balance your life.
- Incorporate a daily routine of movement; even if it is just five minutes of stretching.
- Use your breath to calm you and energize you.
- Make fitness fun, and incorporate it in all the little chores you need to do anyway.
- Speak your truth (gently). During family gatherings, many unspoken words can end up becoming a cause of anxiety, anger, and resentment.
- Ask for help. We are not separate from others; everything we do is connected.
- A mind that is resolved is simply present. That’s a nice and peaceful mindset for entering the holiday season.