Let’s face it: we all want a picture-perfect holiday, but at what cost?
In November, and the stores are already decorated for Christmas. The radio stations couldn’t wait another three weeks to play holiday music. The TV commercials are setting the tone for shopping, decorations, Santa’s list, and more.
Women are more likely to experience high stress during the holidays than at any other time of the year. According to recent studies, women report an increase in stress in the holidays compared to men. Working women are constantly juggling tasks all year round. Then in November and December, they are bombarded with pressure to create or recreate the magic of the holiday advertising.
In addition to the increased traffic, the long lines in department stores, the growing children’s list, the menu and anticipation of dealing with the relatives, (everyone has one of those relatives that just can’t ride the holidays without some drama), the overall stress level increases around the holidays. Instead of responding accordingly, like taking time to relax, women tend to bite the bullet. As a result, they end up sick, worn-out, overwhelmed, and even burnout. The solution is and has always been, having some self-care, but can you do it? Here are my suggestions for you to change your old ways this holiday season:
1. Pay Attention to Your Body.
Stop the bus. No one can be running on low or no fuel. Because stress will reduce your sensitivity to hearing your body’s needs, set regular schedules for eating, sleeping, and disconnecting from people and electronics. I know it is not easy to tell the children that you need twenty minutes alone, but you can do it. If this is not on your agenda, it is unlike to happen. So do it now.
2. Ask for Help.
Women have a hard time asking for help. They thrive on wearing the superwoman cape and singing the lyrics, “It’s not easy to be me” from Five for the Fighting song “Superman.” Most women who avoid asking for help are afraid of rejection. They just don’t know how to hear the word “no,” so they settle for doing it all themselves. Asking your partner, your children and your relatives for help will reduce your stress, and you won’t have to do everything by yourself. Most people are willing to help if you believe and really want their help.
3. Make Time for Yourself.
People wonder how can one make time for themselves during the holidays when all year round, there is very little time already. The key is to create the time and space to recharge. You can’t serve others from a place of depletion. Also, no one wants to be around a host that is tired, cranky, and unhappy. Mark the time on your calendar when you will have uninterrupted quiet time. You can also say no to the holiday events you don’t want to attend. There is nothing wrong saying “I’m sorry I can’t make it, I already have plans” and leave it at that.
4. Drink More Water
Start your day with 2 glasses of lukewarm water. Staying hydrated helps maintain your energy level by keeping your muscles energized. When we are busy, we tend to forget to drink water. Plus, dehydration will cause you to feel more fatigue. Instead of drinking more caffeinated and sugary drinks to review your energy, stick with eight glasses of water a day. Your body will respond faster and love you back.
5. Be Kind to Yourself.
The holiday season is a good time for women to lower their expectations of themselves and others. Kindness is a gift. Self-kindness is a must. The increased stress women experienced around the holidays is self-imposed, although they are not aware. When we remember to be kind, not only to the organizations looking for our contribution but to ourselves first, kindness has a way of making the holiday season special. January 2nd will arrive, and you won’t resent the way you spent your time for the past six weeks.
6. Embrace Chaos.
I hate to break to you but… if you follow the last five suggestions above, your holidays will NOT be perfect, but it will be real. You may have an epiphany that the holiday season is about family, connection, fun, and really messy. And that’s okay. You will have a renewed relationship with the holidays. You will know what old traditions need to be broken.
To help you on your road to self-care this holiday season, I have reduced the price of my book ”Self-Trust – A Healing Practice for Women Who do Too Much” 2nd edition on Amazon. The kindle version will be FREE, FREE, FREE for 3 days December 26 – December 28, 2019.