- Don’t short yourself on downtime, so that you are grumpy and can’t enjoy the season.
- Do find ways to catch up on rest, get your downtime, and help yourself relax.
Holiday travel and changes in our daily routine can disrupt important things we do to rest our minds, restore our spirits, and get enough sleep.
Even if there are things we really want to do, taking care of our emotional well-being means slowing down to think about what we need to feel good over the course of several days.
First, feeling rested can help you get each day off to a good start:
3 Bedtime Rituals to Help You Manage Stress
Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer of the Cleveland Clinic offers these tips to keep rested for the sake of your emotional well-being during the holidays:
- Keep the times you go to sleep and wake up the same when possible. Even if you have a late night event, or need to get up earlier than usual, try to get back on schedule the next day. Do this even on weekends. A consistent cycle of sleep and awake times helps “encourage a more relaxing night’s slumber,” Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer explains.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine four hours before going to bed. While alcohol may help you relax and feel drowsy, the body keeps working to process it as you sleep. When your body needs to metabolize late intake of alcohol, it often wakes you up before the night is over, disturbing the sleep you need.
- Calm your mind before bedtime. Maybe you feel stressed about how you’ll manage your shopping, cleaning, travel, or time with people who can be challenging for you to interact with. Anxiety happens! How can you take care of yourself when you feel that familiar knot tensing up?
Think about why, deep down, you feel concerned. Turn to a loved one and share your worry. See how you might find the support or help you need. (“I know I’ve let things pile up on the desk. I want the room to look neat when our company comes, but that job has me overwhelmed. Could you help me get through the stack of papers? I’d love your help.”)
Once you’ve restored your body’s vital energy, take care to enjoy it. Here are some tips for handling holiday demands without burning out.
9 Quick Self-Care Tips
Keep reminding yourself to take care of your stress. Otherwise, you may just keep going, without realizing what you need to do for yourself, such as:
- Taking time for reflection or our mindfulness practice
- Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night
- Taking a nap
- Listening to music, humming, singing, or playing an instrument
- Exercising, be it a walk, jog, or yoga
- Having regular meals
- Pausing for a coffee break, a cup of tea, or other brief break for yourself
- Pacing ourselves when eating special foods and drinks
- Pause and breathe
Links to Soothing Guided Meditations
Try a guided meditation, breathing, or other relaxation technique. Here are some to explore:
- A selection of guided self-compassion meditations by Dr. Kristin Neff
- Guided meditations by Jon Kabat-Zin, a leading expert in mindfulness training
- A 7-minute meditation video from the Mayo Clinic
- A paragraph on a muscle relaxation technique from the Mayo Clinic
This is Tip #9, When There Aren’t Enough Hours in the Day, From: 11 Holiday Stresses, and What to Do Instead.