Give to Yourself: Practicing Self-Care During the Holidays

a white ceramic mug sitting with the word begin engraved on it on a wooden table Written by: Reya Siby & Hiba Elsadati

Photo by: Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

December is a time filled with the stress of getting everyone the perfect present and decorating your house to make it Christmas-y, all while studying for final exams. So it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed during this time. Among deciding to give to your parents, siblings, friends, cousins, and others, you might forget about giving to yourself. Yes, yourself. While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s important that you keep your mental health in check during this time. Here are some ways to take some of the weight of the holiday season off your shoulders:

1. Eat Well

Amongst the chaos of the holiday season, you’re eating schedule might be all over the place where breakfast might turn into brunch and lunch into dinner. This might also be the time where you eat a lot of candy canes, Christmas cookies, gingerbreads and more. However, it’s better for your body if you eat meals at consistent times each day with the occasional snack, so you can avoid overworking your stomach and causing bloating or indigestion.

2. A Morning Routine

What do you do after you wake up? Do you check your phone right away? Do you make your bed? Or do you immediately start working? Scheduling a small amount of time in the morning to do something relaxing can really motivate you to have a productive rest of the day. This can be taking a walk outside, writing in a journal, exercising, or meditating.

3. Plan Things Out

You might feel like you have a lot on your plate right now. Whether it be figuring out what to give for your Secret Santa, deciding what presents to give to your relatives, or finishing all of your school assignments. First, you can try to create a study schedule and allocate specific times you are available to studying. Next, create a spreadsheet of all the people you plan on giving gifts to this year, what you could get them, and where you can find the gifts. Also, make sure to have a budget in mind.

4. Practice Self Compassion

During this busy holiday season, I urge everyone to practice self-compassion. Whether it is letting yourself have that chocolate cake you were craving or taking a day to focus on yourself. It is crucial that you allow yourself to take a break and be kind to yourself. And remember to try not to be too had on yourself.

5. Get Plenty of Sleep

Developing a healthy sleep schedule is crucial to you overall well-being. Sleep impacts your health, mood and how you operate in your day-to-day life. Some helpful tips to improve your sleep hygiene this holiday season includes:

  • Exercise regularly. Schedule exercise times so that they do not occur within 3 hours of when you intend to go to bed. Exercise makes it easier to initiate sleep and deepen sleep.
  • Don’t take your problems to bed. Plan some time earlier in the evening for working on your problems or planning the next day’s activities. Worrying may interfere with initiating sleep and produce shallow sleep.
  • Train yourself to avoid taking naps.
  • Make sure you get 8 hours of sleep.
  • Get up at the same time each day, 7 days a week. A regular wake time in the morning leads to regular times of sleep onset and helps to set your biological clock.

6. Do Something Creative

Recovering from exams can be exhausting, you start to feel burned out and unmotivated. A good way to get out of that rut is to try to do something creative. Paint that magnolia wall that you’ve always hated, dye your hair green, learn how to ski, go sky diving. The options are unlimited and they’re there for you to explore. 2020 has been year of self-discovery and reflection. End this year on a good note and end it with a bang.

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