The holidays are upon us and sometimes we forget to think about ourselves as we get swooped in to the madness. Kristaleagh of Millennial Whiskey recognizes this and offered her 15 biggest ways to take care of yourself during the holidays. Before we jump in to the post, I wanted to share a brief bio about her and if you haven't already checked out her blog, you can do so by clicking here!
Kristaleagh Walthall is the author of Millennial Whiskey, a blog dedicated to helping millennials connect with one another over shared interests and struggles. She works full time as a bartender in Central Virginia where she lives with her husband Ryan of eight months and their two cats, Dobey and Ember. In her spare time, you can find her in the kitchen trying out new cocktail or food recipes, journaling, watching cooking competition shows on Hulu, and snuggling up with the kitties on the couch.
Find and follow her on Social Media!
Facebook: Millennial Whiskey
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Tik Tok: @kkleagh96
YouTube: Kristaleagh Walthall
The holidays are basically here, and while I'm excited for them, I'm also aware of the amount of stress and craziness that will be coming with them. Some people experience seasonal depression and anxiety, while others, like myself, have their already existing mental illnesses rise during this season.
That's why it's so important to make sure that when the holidays come around that we are taking precautions and taking extra care of ourselves. This is the time of the year that your self-care game needs to be on point.
Here's the thing about self-care. It's super important, but the problem with it is that most people have it in their head that the only way they can do self-care is by basically having a spa day for yourself. While bubble baths and scented candles are amazing, there are so many other ways to make sure that you are taking care of yourself and feeling refreshed.
Things like reading a book, learning a new skill, or going on a walk can all be things that help you feel more like yourself. Even just taking some alone time or some quality time with your partner or a close friend can be really beneficial to your mental health.
The list I've made for you below are some of the self-care methods I've found to be more rejuvenating for my mind, body, and complete self. I encourage you to try some of these out this holiday season because if you do not take care of yourself and your own needs, you will have nothing left to give all of the wonderful people around you.
Let's get to it, shall we?
Take a Nap
Sleep fixes everything. Feeling overwhelmed? Take a nap. Got too many things on your to-do list? Take a nap first. Too many people in your house? Nap time. Give your body a break and wake up feeling better and ready to face everything.
Exercise is one of many habits that usually gets pushed to the side during the holidays, but it's a great way to practice self-care. Exercise helps with stress relief, can be lots of fun when you find workouts you enjoy (I live for my dance cardio), help your muscles grow stronger, and just overall leave you feeling accomplished and ready for everything else you have to deal with that day.
Yoga is great for your body and mind because it centers you and helps you connect with your inner self. I really like doing yoga as part of my self-care routine because it feels like a soft reset. It's not hard on the body, it increases your flexibility, and I find it to be a really good way to just only focus on myself and my needs.
Fresh air is good for you and for your mind and soul as well. When you feel a little crazy or overwhelmed this holiday season, go on a walk or find an outdoor restaurant or cafe to sit at for a minute. Breathing in the cool winter air and seeing the seasons change from what's left over from summer into fall and fall into winter will help you feel at peace and refreshed amidst all the holiday business.
Deep Clean Something
I don't know what is it, but I find deep cleaning to be something that is so calming and relaxing. It really helps me when I'm feeling anxious. This is a more productive type of self-care because if you don't like mess or never get around to cleaning things like your refrigerator or your bath tub, it's so satisfying to watch the difference between the before and after. Plus then your house is super clean and you don't have to clean it again for awhile.
Changing things up can make a place feel new and exciting. Taking some time and reorganizing a room or a desk or even your bag gives you a chance to go through and get rid of old things while also giving it a new and fresh feelings. I personally love to reorganize my kitchen pantry because it helps me find food I didn't know I had and makes it easier to find stuff I want to eat.
Journaling is great for practicing self-care because it gives you a safe and private space to process and let out your thoughts and emotions. You can write about whatever you want: you can reflect on the year behind you or create goals for the year ahead, you can rant about what's going on, or just empty your mind of burdens you feel like you're carrying. It's a wonderful way to spend some time with yourself and think about what you're going through and what you need.
Only See Non-Toxic People
I understand that this may not be possible for everyone. I know most people have at least one or two toxic family members that are at every family holiday gathering and it's not someone you can just un-invite. In this point, I'm more talking about those "friends" who are awful and make you feel drained, annoyed, etc. after you're done hanging out, but you still hang out with because you don't know how to say no or stop being friends with them because you're worried you'll hurt their feelings.
Welcome to my life.
One of the things I've learned in therapy is that I don't owe people my time or energy, especially if they are toxic for my mental health. Take this as a sign that this is the year you say no to spending time with those people and spend more time with people who encourage you, lift you up, and leave you feeling better after you leave them.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Like I said, I know people have toxic people in their lives that they still have to see regardless of their feelings so this step is basically how to deal with those people. By setting healthy boundaries, you take back some control over how much respect people have to give you and how they make you feel. For example, if you have an uncle who likes to start political arguments at Thanksgiving and he picks you to agitate, simply say something like, "I know we have opposing opinions so I'd prefer to not talk about this subject as to avoid an argument," and if they keep pushing, add a consequence, "If you do not respect my wishes, I will walk away from this conversation." or something like that.
This is just an example, but some people will respect your wishes and some people won't. The more you set very clear boundaries with people, they will learn to respect them. Plus, you'll feel better knowing that you are setting the standard for how people will have to treat you instead of just accepting disrespect and mental abuse from other people.
Mini Spa Day
Pampering yourself is probably the most popular way to practice self-care, and it's no wonder why, there are so many different ways to spoil yourself. You can take a bubble bath surrounded by candles drinking wine or you can go get your hair, nails, and makeup done so you feel your best or you can just put on a face mask, grab some snacks, and curl up on the couch watching Tik Toks. There's no right or wrong way to give yourself a spa day because whatever you choose to do is going to be something you enjoy and helps you feel better.
Eat What You Want
I'm not saying that you should eat an entire apple pie for each meal, but I'm saying that give yourself grace and space to enjoy all of the good food that shows up around the holidays. I know personally, this is the part of the year I feel guilty for eating holiday snacks, especially since I am on a health journey. That's the thing though, we have to drop this mentality that we need to feel guilty when we eat "bad foods" because it just makes us feel terrible about ourselves.
You like pumpkin spice? Grab one the next time you're at Starbucks. You really enjoy those holiday cookies your Grandma makes? Go ahead and have one or two. Don't beat yourself up for loving the food around you.
Now if shopping stresses you out, I would recommend skipping this one, but if you find shopping to be exciting and relaxing, then I highly recommend this one. You can do whatever kind of shopping you like best: grocery, online, clothes, etc. I personally really love to shop for other people so I find holiday shopping incredibly calming. It's nice to buy yourself things sometimes; I know it always makes me feel better.
Regift Items You Don't Use
You're probably wondering, "Why is this self-care?" Think about an object in your home that was given to you that just sits in the box it came in, it's on a shelf in a closet, tucked away somewhere, and you've never used it, maybe you don't like it, it's not your style, etc. By giving that to someone else who you know would use, not only are you decluttering your home, saving money, and giving it to someone who would actually enjoy it, but you'll also replace that guilty feeling we all get when someone gives us something and we don't like it or use it with a more refreshed holiday spirit.
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading about these more unconventional ways to practice self care, and that you all have a wonderful and stress free holiday season.
Take a shot for stress we're all facing, and toast to taking care of ourselves during the holidays.
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