Welcome to the Holiday Season – Again.
This time of year can be extremely demanding. Support your health and remain well during this period with self-care and by taking time for yourself.
Regular self-care is essential, especially during times of stress. It's easy to sacrifice self-care when your obligations to others are high. However, it remains true that you cannot pour from an empty cup. The quality of yourself that you give to others is what sustains and strengthens your relationships. So, give your best by first meeting your own needs for sleep, hydration, outside time, exercise, and eating foods that make you feel good. When you give your body and mind everything they need to be your best self, happiness will follow. For bonus points, schedule in a massage, pedicure, and a day off work!
Our homes, stores, and even the streets are full of festive lights, music, and people. This can easily be overstimulating to your nervous system. Take a break by sitting in a dark, quiet space for 10 minutes. Use noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses, or an eye pillow if needed. Ideally, this space should be where you feel safe. If you are out in public or at someone else’s home, you can also use a remote bedroom or bathroom in a pinch. As long as you can check in with yourself for a few minutes, that is all you need.
Know your limits
Mathematically estimate the people, places, and activities you will be engaging with this holiday season. If you’re attending a party and one or more attendees are especially triggering for you, limit the time you spend at the party. Alternatively, negotiate with the hosts to come early and help prepare, allowing you to spend more time with them in a less stressful environment. Also, if you know it takes you a day or two to recover and feel your best again after an event, don’t agree to attend events in close succession. Truly enjoying yourself is the highest compliment to any host and a reward to you as well.
You are under no obligation to feel or behave in a certain way to please others, but that will not stop you from feeling like you are.
One of the first signs of overstimulation is anxiety. If you notice racing, wandering thoughts, and worries, often accompanied by a headache or a sudden crash of energy, listen to your body and regulate your nervous system STAT. Breathing exercises are particularly useful in stabilizing heart rate and mood. Try finding a quiet place to practice some box breathing. Use an app on your phone to help you track your inhale/exhale in a fixed pattern like 3x3 or 2x4. Breathing like this will activate your Vagus nerve (cranial nerve X) and stabilize your heart rate – calming your anxiety.
Is perfectly normal and somewhat expected during the holiday season. Instead of dismissing the emotion, allow yourself to feel this way. With curiosity, explore what you might be missing and consider adding that. Check-in with yourself and see if there are any foundational needs you can meet. Are you sleeping well, drinking enough water, meeting nutritional requirements, spending time outside, especially when it’s sunny, and exercising to relieve body tension? Then re-engage in socialization with a refreshed body and spirit.
Whatever your plans this season, please take the time to meet your needs first, and take breaks when you need them.
Speaking of taking care of yourself,...at IVY Integrative, you can work with one practitioner or build your own team of holistic practitioners! Reach your optimum health in-person or online. Check out our Get Started page to learn how to work with us!
Author: Dr. Marissa Boyd, ND
This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.