Self-Care During the Holidays
Anyone who has ever had to pull together a Thanksgiving feast, or brave the crowds for Christmas shopping, or simply take a trip to visit family, knows that the holidays can be stressful.
But just how stressful the holidays can be is quite surprising.
According to researchers, your heart rate jumps by as much as 33% when you're Christmas shopping, (1) which essentially means it's as stressful as running a full marathon.
All that stress can age you, sap the joy out of the holidays, and even compromise your immune system. So while the holidays are a time for Christmas cheer, it must also be a time of sacred self-care and self-love.
The Essential Elements of Holiday Self-Care
Self-care isn't just about lighting some candles and taking a soothing bath (although those aren't bad ideas!). To truly restore your spirits, protect your energy and heal yourself emotionally, spiritually and physically, your self-care habits this Christmas must address the key principles of rejuvenation and self-restoration.
The Wheel of Health, as outlined by Duke Integrative Medicine, addresses these important areas of focus. (2) In the middle of the wheel is you and your awareness. Surrounding you are either prevention and intervention habits, such as movement, exercise and nutrition, and conventional and complementary approaches, such as relationships and your personal development.
This Christmas, ease the stress and truly embrace the joy of the season with the following self-care ideas inspired by Duke Integrative Medicine and their holistic approach:
1. Talk to a Professional
Self-improvement and self-growth aren’t just limited to the courses you might find here on this site, or the coaching calls offered by our team. After all, self-improvement isn’t just about improving your mind.
It’s also important to think about this from an integrative, holistic approach. Consider consulting an integrative health professional. These pros specialize in different areas that you may find helpful this holiday season, such as business coaching (if you’re trying to juggle the holiday madness with your work) or decluttering (perfect for when the gifts and festivities pile up around you and stress you out).
2. Move Your Body with Mindfulness
In numerous studies, as well as within Duke’s wheel, both mindfulness and physical movement are keys for wellness and self-care. Why not combine the two? Examples include tai chi, yoga and even contemplative prayer while running or working out.
Well-documented research shows how mindfulness and exercise can help with anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, self-esteem, and many other issues that often rear their ugly heads during busy, hectic holiday times.
3. Find Your Social Supports
Human connection is an important part of self-care. While many self-care tips and tricks focus on solitude and quiet time, restoration can also take place within a relationship context.
Confide in a close friend or family member. Share with them what you’re experiencing. You may find this confidante has a similar story and you can bond over shared experiences and stresses. They can also help carry your holiday burden with you and lend a gentle ear so you feel supported, loved and heard during these busy times.