The holidays can be challenging for lots of different reasons (complicated family dynamics, finances, dietary restrictions, grief reactions etc). Here are my recommendations for taking care of yourself and mastering your mindset — so you can show up as your best self while also protecting your energy and honoring what you need.
Tune into the energy of choice. Even if you feel pressured or expected to do specific things, remember that you have a choice about how you spend your time and what you agree to. If there is something about your holiday plans that doesn’t feel ideal you can brainstorm adjustments to the plan, decide to not attend certain events or suck it up and choose to participate anyway. Remembering that you have a choice centers you in your own agency and the energy of empowerment. Weigh your options, make a choice and take responsibility for it.
Take breaks. The holidays can be quite triggering and taking breaks is a way to give your system a chance to reset. This might mean coming into contact with family in small doses and doing things like meeting for dinner but not spending the night, booking your own private accommodations, taking a walk if you notice yourself feeling tense or frustrated etc. You might be amazed at how much easier it is to maintain a positive attitude and presence when you take care of yourself by taking breaks.
Bring snacks. Being hangry never helped anyone be on their best behavior. Staying hydrated and making sure you have access to nourishing snacks is a great way to support your nervous system when you are traveling or spending time with friends or family. This is also helpful if you have dietary restrictions or preferences that you aren’t willing to betray. Food is one of the primary ways your body receives information about your environment so this is no idle suggestion. Having access to food that is familiar and supports your health will set you up to be on your A game in any situation.
Double-down on self-care. Any change in routine can be stressful for our bodies. To show up as your best self during the holidays make sure your body and mind are as resourced as possible by taking impeccable care of yourself. Get some exercise, listen to a guided meditation, schedule a healing session, etc. Check out my video on how to use your breath to calm your nervous system and my tips for self-care you can do in 10 seconds or less for some ideas.
Choose a guiding value. Regardless of what anyone else does or doesn’t do you get to decide who you want to be in any situation. It can be helpful to choose 1-2 guiding values so it’s easy to remind yourself of your intention when you get pulled off track. Do you want to be loving and open, curious and courageous, supportive and kind? Setting an intention for your energy won’t turn you into a saint, but it will make you exponentially more likely to show up with care.
Make your own tradition. If you feel constricted by the traditions of your childhood or culture it’s totally cool to make your own. Perhaps you want to spend holidays taking a solo trip, in your pajamas at home with friends or volunteering for a cause you care about. If you have lost someone special you could light a candle in their honor, share favorite memories or make their favorite dish. Choose the plans that feel best for you and make your own meaning wherever you go (or stay).
Do you have any tips I didn’t mention here?
I’d love to hear them!
Good luck out there.