As the holiday season approaches, many of us look forward to spending time with friends and family. However, this season can also bring feelings of stress and anxiety. When those feelings arise, it is important to recognize them and set time aside to relax, de-stress, and refuel. Self-care is any activity we do to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health, and this can mean different things for different people. It is not selfish to take time for yourself. In fact, paying attention to yourself to make sure you are cared for can provide the energy needed care for others.

Here are some tips for taking some YOU time this holiday season:

  • Prioritize sleep. Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. Sleep reduces stress, improves mood, and boosts your immune system.
  • Set limits. Identify your stressors and find ways to limit them. For example, you may avoid checking emails at night, say “no” to gatherings and commitments that you don’t want to attend, or avoid checking social media.
  • Make time for things you enjoy. You don’t have to meditate or practice yoga to have an effective self-care routine. You may find it more effective or more accessible to read a book, go for a walk, cook your favorite meal, go shopping, or listen to your favorite music. Find what makes you happy and incorporate it into your daily routine.
  • Spend time with loved ones. Being with friends and family this holiday season can improve your social health. Going holiday shopping or walking around your neighborhood to see the holiday lights can also be a way to stay active and enjoy time together during the declining temperatures.

Not sure where to start with your self-care routine? Try starting with the following:

  • Make a plan. As busy schedules pile up, it can be easy for us to overlook self-care and prioritize other things. Schedule time for yourself into your calendar and treat it as a commitment.
  • Stick to the basics. Self-care does not have to be complicated. While meditation may be a great stress reliever for some people, your self-care routine can be as simple as taking time to watch your favorite TV show.

Sources: PsychCentral, Psychology Today. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.