Practical self care when the holidays drive you nuts
November 20, 2017
It’s hard to believe that holiday season is right around the corner! That happened fast, huh? You might be excited for really fun family time, a “friendsgiving,” or a relaxing break from work when you can finally catch up on Stranger Things.
Or maybe holidays tend to bring with them a bit of stress. You may even be dreading some really hard stuff. Maybe you’re bracing for rough conversations with family or anticipating Aunt Susan railing on about her diet and giving you the stink eye when you reach for the pie (none of her business, by the way – your body, your rules!).
Maybe you’re sitting with grief or depression and holidays feel anything but joyous.
Wherever you are, here are a few practical ways to give yourself some space and care.
Pause and take a breath. Pause and take a deep breath or two. If it feels good, you might even place a hand over your heart or close your eyes. What is it that you need right now? Do you need to answer someone’s request, “Let me get back to you,” or “No, I’m sorry but I’m not able to do that”? Do you need to blast some seasonal music and sing in your car? Do you need to sit with your anger for a while before you can set that boundary with your mom? Pause and really check in.
Step out of the house. Even the most extraverted people need a solo break to recharge from time to time. Getting some time in the fresh air and sunshine, away from everyone else, may help. Take walks if they feel inviting. If the weather is nice, sit on the porch with a book or just stare into the distance. If it’s cold or raining, take a drive to a spot that feels low stress and savor the peace.
Get a body image pep talk. If you need a buffer from dinner table diet talk or break room body obsessing, grab your headphones and listen to a body image-boosting podcast like Food Psych with Christy Harrison (any episode with Virgie Tovar or Isabel Foxen Duke) or the episode of Everybody with Lucy Ephramor. Here’s a video to cheer on your belly as it is, too.
Change the subject. If painful conversation topics keep coming up, you’re feeling run down, and there’s no easy way to escape, change the subject. Here are some diversions to try out: What movies have you seen lately? What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you since we last saw each other? What was the highlight of this year? What are your plans for the new year? What hobbies are you into these days?
Get support. Have a friend or two in mind who you know you can count on for support. Text, call, or plan a visit with them if you can. Especially if you’re hurting this holiday season, it helps to know that someone who loves you is just a call away. If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one and you know someone else who’s grieving, too, consider making a deal to check in with each other just to say hi and remember you aren’t alone.
However the holidays find you, it's ok to keep self care on your radar. You are worthy of your own compassion and care.
Local Yoga Class Updates
November 29 will be my last session teaching my Wednesday Mindful Yoga class at Hillsborough Yoga Company. Hillsborough Yoga is starting up a massage school, so most daytime classes at the studio are coming to a close starting this winter. I've loved teaching this class for years and I'm so grateful to have shared that time with all of you! Tuesday night Body Positive Yoga is continuing on (thank goodness)!
On Monday, November 27, I'm starting up a new mid-day Mindful Yoga class in Hillsborough, at a movement studio at A Step To Health. It's a lovely and bright space that's been recently renovated. I hope you'll join me! Learn more and reserve your spot here.
Finally, if you need some reinforcement before stepping into the wild jungle that is time with extended family, check out this fantastic speech by Tracee Ellis Ross. Her talk is full of great self care inspiration!