Why is Self-Care Important?
It is that time of year again. The holiday season is fast approaching, and while this is an exciting time of year that we all look forward to, it can also be hectic and overwhelming. You might be thinking that there is no time to practice self-care during this busy time of year or that practicing self-care during the holidays is selfish. However, this is exactly when a majority of us need self-care the most.
Raphailia Michael, MA explains that self-care refers to any activity that we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It is “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.” This practice not only allows us to live a healthy and balanced life, but it also helps build up our resilience so we can better handle stressful situations. Most importantly, Michael explains that self-care isn’t selfish. Taking care of yourself ensures that you are fully equipped to take care of your family and enjoy your time together to the fullest.
Practice Self-Care During the Holidays
- Eat a Healthy and Nutritious Diet: It can be difficult to follow a healthy diet while celebrating with family and friends. Not to mention all the seasonal sweets and other temptations. Our best advice is to keep your main meals balanced and nutritious and still allow yourself to enjoy your seasonal favorites in moderation. Also, keep in mind that many holiday staples can actually be very healthy when done right. Click here for some healthy holiday meal and snack inspiration!
- Exercise Often: Exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress levels, it also keeps your immune system strong and healthy! Luckily, there are many ways to stay active while celebrating the holiday season. Look up holiday themed walks and runs in your area, visit a tree farm, walk through your neighborhood admiring the lights and decorations, take your family ice skating, go skiing or snowboarding, etc. The opportunities are endless!
- Spend Time in Nature: Studies show that spending at least 120 minutes in natural environments per week leads to numerous mental and physical health benefits. During this holiday season, try to spend some time out in nature every day. It could be enjoying your coffee or tea on the patio, a walk around the neighborhood with your dog, a jog through a local park, going on a hike, or anything that gets you outside!
- Have Healthy “Me Time”: Many of us turn to social media during our down time. While this is a great tool to stay connected with family and friends you aren’t able to see this holiday season, it can also be draining. Disconnect for a while and practice mindfulness meditation, journal some positive thoughts and feelings of gratitude, spend time doing your favorite hobby, take a bubble bath, read a book, etc.
- Create and Follow a Routine: Having a daily routine can help you focus on the present and stay on track during stressful times. The holidays can often disrupt our full daily routines, but there are a few things you can do to keep you on track. For example, waking up at the same time every day, scheduling in a time to work out, and avoiding staying up too late can all help you keep a partial routine, as well as boost your mental and physical health.
- Check in With Yourself: Check in with yourself daily and ask yourself how you are feeling. It could be first thing in the morning, during a meal, or right before bed, whenever works best for you. The main goal is to evaluate your emotions and stress levels. Ask yourself if you feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, tired, etc., and then think about what you can do to help alleviate those feelings. Sometimes, just simply asking yourself these questions and becoming aware of your emotions can help you process them.
For more information on practicing self-care and setting self-care goals for this holiday season, click here!