Take Care of Yourself this Holiday Season

Holiday season has just begun: deadlines, parties, gift shopping, greeting cards, decorating, cooking, all on top of your daily routine. The world demands your attention and there’s nothing more you want than a day off. Busy periods put you at risk of self-neglect, which in turn increases your chances of getting overwhelmed and wearing yourself out. In order to continue to be fully available for everyone, it’s vital to take care of yourself, no matter how hectic life gets.

  1. Prioritize. Distinguish what is important from the unessential responsibilities. Say no to anything that falls into the latter category. Give yourself permission to stop being “responsible” and focus on what’s important.
  2. Form a support system. Ask for help. Delegate. Outsource. Call a cleaning service. Have you always been the organizer for the office holiday party? Recruit a new employee to deal with some of the details. Ask a family member to help with dishwashing or laundry.
  3. Get more sunlight and take your vitamins. Eat fresh produce and whole grains. Popping a daily multi with your breakfast will fill in the missing nutritional gaps, however your body still needs whole foods to stay healthy. Especially if your work confines you indoors, be sure to go for a walk during your lunch break, or go a few bus stops further to get your dose of Vitamin D and exercise.
  4. Speaking of exercise, yes, that… and yoga. Just do it. Ten minutes daily, minimum. Take the stairs up one or down two flights. In the kitchen or vacuuming? Put on some music and dance!
  5. Be silly. Dance with the broom. Sing with the wooden spoon as your microphone. Watch your favorite funny YouTube videos. Call your funny friend for a good chuckle. Laughter really is the best medicine: clinical studies show that a good hearty laugh benefits you physically, mentally and spiritually. As Charlie Chaplin aptly put it: a day without laughter is a day wasted.
  6. Let go of the need to feel productive every waking moment. Like electronic devices, you need to recharge. Take a bath with essential oils. Treat yourself to a massage or a yoga private session. Meditate every morning with a steaming cup of tea. Bring a loved one with you to a restorative yoga class. Your body, mind, and heart will all feel relieved, and thank you for the down time.a41
  7. At bedtime, write down five things that you are grateful for, or one thing five times, in a gratitude journal. It will make a lousy day seem not so bad after all, and a good day even better.
  8. Single task. Honor your limits. Accept that you are human. Be kind to your brain. Focus on one task 100%, and you will be more productive in the long run.
  9. Create routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Prior to bed time, set out your clothes for the next day. Cook a large batch and store half in the freezer for the busier days.
  10. Be proud of yourself. Compliment yourself. Reward yourself from time to time. Gently and firmly replace any negative self-talk with positive encouragement and reinforcement.

These are only ten of many suggestions. Taking care of yourself in order to continue to be fully present and available to your loved ones is a yogic value. You will learn more ways to take care of yourself in the yoga classes through December. I look forward to sharing a holiday season filled with peace and bliss with you.

© 2013 Amy Dara Hochberg. Photo from http://www.heykiki.com/blog/2012/12/28/a-very-yoga-christmas/
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