Self-Care: 5 things moms should do now to avoid holiday burnout
The holidays are here! And we all know that means: Parties! Friends! Family! Fun! and allofthefood…
But it can also mean: Stress! Exhaustion! weight-gain! and a general sense of overwhelm.
It’s true: Holidays can be hazardous to your health.
As Moms especially, we tend to push hard during the holidays. We work more and sleep less. We stress more and exercise less. We take care of everyone around us and put our own needs last. And we especially tend to ignore any extra self-care during the holiday season. (Go ahead–raise your hand if you completely skip shaving your legs in December! hehe…and you thought no one would know…)
So I’m here to remind you: You really need to take care of yourself. Yes, even right now, smack in the middle of the holidays.
I happen to believe that it’s possible to come out on the other side of things without: Getting sick, gaining weight, disliking your family, or in general feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck.
And, though it might seem counterintuitive, the key to it all could be as simple as a little intentional self-care.
Yes my friends, the “put on your own oxygen mask first” mentality might just make the difference in your mental, emotional, and physical health this holiday season.
So–are you in?
Here’s five things I highly recommend you make a priority this month:
When you’re over-tired you are more likely to get sick, eat poorly, and be inefficient in the things you do. (not to mention be a big grouch to everyone around you!)
Alarms aren’t just for mornings any more.
Experts suggest you set a timer to go off when you need to hit the sack. Put your sweet little body to bed, and get the rest you know you need. We all have different needs, but my doctor-husband has told me that seven hours is the general recommendation. I know there are a lot of things to do…but they can wait. (And you’ll do them more efficiently when you’re rested too.)
2. EXERCISE. It’s easy to slack off on exercise when things get busy, but that’s not wise. Even a short bout of exercise can get your heart pumping, the endorphins flowing, and in general make you feel better about your whole day. And though exercise may not stop you from gaining holiday weight, research does show that we are more mindful about our eating on the days we exercise.
3. PAMPERING. Though your natural tendency is likely to neglect extra pampering during the holidays, I encourage you to do just the opposite. A little self-care in the midst of the busy season can actually energize you to better serve everyone else!
Recently, my friend Jules and I snuck away for about three hours to get massages at the spa at Turtle Bay. We arrived early enough to just hang out in their peaceful open-air lounge (and pretend we were on vacation). Then we parted ways for an hour-long Aloha Nui Loa Massage (with botanical oils: pikake, ginger, and lime. Yeah, it was dreamy.) At the end we were like wet noodles, so we took some extra time to lounge a little more, sipping cucumber water while wrapped in fluffy white robes. It was a little slice of heaven.
Two hours later we were both back at our homes, folding laundry and feeding our families. But man–that afternoon away worked wonders!
So I encourage you to go for it: Take an afternoon to book a massage, or a pedicure, facial, or do whatever you can to pamper yourself. And if all else fails–exchange foot massages with your husband, take a bubble bath, or give yourself a home facial!
Take good care of yourself this season–not just in spite of the holidays, but because of them!
4. DATE NIGHT. You might think you’re too busy to fit in a date night, but that would be a big mistake. Christmas is the most romantic time of the year! (don’t you agree?) Dinner and some Christmas shopping is a great date idea!
Even if you can’t take much time, a coffee date with a stroll through the Christmas-lit town is pretty awesome.
5. SPIRITUAL TIME. We often skip out on a devotions or time with God when we’re busy, but it’s not worth it. If you’re like me, taking the time to read the Bible and pray will set a positive and peaceful tone for the rest of the day.
This year, I am not only enjoying my quiet time doing an advent study every morning, but our family is loving the Sacred Holidays family advent study every night. (It’s our first time doing an advent study as a family.) If you want to join the Sacred Holiday study, it’s not too late! There are digital copies available at the Sacred Holidays site!
(and look for a special contributor on December 23rd! *wink*)
6. QUIET. Finally. Even on the busiest of days, we need to pull away and just be still. Listen to a beautiful Christmas song, or sit under the tree and sip some tea. Do not let this season rush by you without slowing down to enjoy it! Hopefully you have downloaded and printed the Meditation cards I shared recently, so you might want to use these mid-day, or before you sleep! Taking time to breathe and rest in the middle of the season is so healthy for all of us!
OK Moms…Here’s to the most wonderful time of the year! I hope you will take my advice and take care of yourself this season–for the good of everyone!
Share in comments!? Are you good at taking care of yourself this time of the year? How do you stay healthy in the midst of the busy season? Any simple pampering tips? I can’t wait to be inspired!
also, and as always: If you enjoyed this post I would be honored for you to share it with your friends using the social media share buttons below! 😉
PS Are you on instagram? Every week this season I am sharing a video with some #lifestyle tips for the holidays on my @healthyhappyandfree feed! I’m talking about things like our mindset at parties, facing allofthefood, and how to keep your head in it all. I hope you’ll join me over there!
Monica the timing of my reading of this post is ideal. Yesterday I woke up early. First day of vacation. Watched It’s a Wonderful Life. Had this very strong desire to go to the gym….went biking with hubby instead (80 degree Fl weather). Afternoon concert with my mom immediately followed by two parties last night. I feel like my need today is to regroup. As a counselor self care is in the core of our profession (challenging for sure). The meditation cards were helpful Thanksgiving. In need of a daily dose of spiritual connection. My goal this break. 🙂
AMEN! Monica, you nailed it! Great Advice!
Loving #6 tonight, Monica! My ladies’ group and I have been focusing on stillness topic this month, and I just downloaded the awesome meditation cards…thank you for putting those together; I’m totally using them. In Minneapolis the snow has arrived…it’s breathtaking to stand still and watch the snowflakes fall…slowly feel the snow sink under your boots. (Similar to feeling the sand beneath my toes and listening to the ocean waves when we lived in CA – you can relate to that one better!) Merry Christmas 🙂
These tips are so good! I homeschool my four kids (like you!) and my husband and I have a church plant we’ve recently started, so it’s really hard for me to do all the Christmas work + homeschool + regular life and still be sane! So this year I declared December to be “Christmas School.” We’re having a very relaxed month of Christmas prep instead of the regular school subjects, and I’m finding that I’m really enjoying every day rather than trudging through a to do list that’s exhausting. I am pretty certain this will be an annual tradition. I just wish I’d figured this out when my oldest was in kindergarten! (He’s a freshman. Ha!)
Oh Sarah I love that so much! I would love to try that too, I’m just not sure how I could swing it with the curriculums we use where we know exactly which lesson we need to be on to finish the school year at a reasonable time…I’d be willing to sacrifice quite a bit for a relaxed December! Way to go for it. You’ll never regret it! 🙂 XO
I really appreciate this reminder, Monica! After staying up into the wee hours of the morning 3 days in a row- I crashed before 9pm last night-getting nothing done. I bet a little time for self care might have made a much better week. Now, when to fit in a date night?
Thanks, Monica, I needed this reminder. On top of the holidays, my older son is going through some emotional challenges, aka he’s 11 and starting the teen stuff early, so parenting has been hard this month so far. I can’t choose his attitude for him, so I’m praying that God will guard his heart and mind and guide him. And give me the strength to be unpopular with consequences. My fear of him shutting down and our relationship being damaged is very real. I’m too empathetic for my own good and need to do some toughening up myself. Anyway, I’m going to make a conscious effort for self-care and foster my relationship with that cute man who calls himself my husband, so we can do this hard parenting together. Merry Christmas to the Swansons!
I am hoping your kindness and clear boundaries will be gifts to your son!
Oh Paige…I hear you. I read recently (and of course forget where!) that the 11-13 yr. old stage may be harder on boys than the teenage years. I can see why–it’s a very confusing and changing time. Hang in there. And you’re right to do what you can (though it’s hard) to not walk in fear. Setting an example in your own attitude and consistently is often the best thing you can do. Be strong–and absolutely plan that date night! 🙂 Much love to you…