Taking Care of YOU this Holiday Season

Self-care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Self-care includes exercising, eating whole unprocessed foods, meditation, yoga, reading, time with friends and family, and the list goes on and on.

Too often when life gets busy and/or more chaotic, what are the first things to go? You guessed it, self-care behaviours. During a time of year when schedules are full and emotions are running high, self-care is CRITICAL.

Self-care during the holidays, will help you stay more present and in the moment, focused on what this time of year is really all about, as well as happier and healthier.

Why Self-Care is So Important?
For many people, especially women self-care = selfish. This could not be further from the truth!!!

Changing your mind-set about taking time for yourself and self-care will go a long way in improving your health and well being. You can’t be a good Mum, Dad, wife, husband, etc. when you are running ragged and not engaging in behaviours or activities that increase your health and well being.

You will have a hard time staying in the moment and appreciating the holiday season for what it is meant to be. A time of celebration and joy.

Taking the time to exercise, attend a yoga class, cook nutrient dense whole foods, or take a bath will keep you from losing your sanity and having your stress levels skyrocket this holiday season.

Stress can dramatically impact your waistline, productivity, sleep, and emotional well being. Most if not all acts of self-care will help to reduce stress levels.

Don’t Let the Holidays Be An Excuse
The holiday season can bring about a whole new set of excuses about WHY you don’t have the time or energy to exercise, prepare your meals, or get to bed at a decent time.
Understandably you may have more going on this time of year than you do during other months but that doesn’t mean your exercise, nutrition, and other acts of self-care take a backseat until January.

Really it just comes down to making choices. You have a choice as to how you handle the “expectations” of the holiday season and how they affect your time and schedule. Keep in mind that the majority of us put these high expectations on ourselves.
Remember, those that care about us just want us to be happy and healthy. Letting go of perfection and expectations during this holiday season will allow you to care for yourself in a way that is in line with your needs. It also allows for a lower stress level and more enjoyment. Who doesn’t want that?

I asked ones of my amazing female bootcamp ladies what Christmas used to be like for her. This was after she had mentioned it used to be a really stressed time of year!

My Experience
For many years, I had the expectation and mind-set that the holidays had to be a certain way.

I had to put up a Christmas tree, I had to bake “traditional” Christmas cookies, presents had to be wrapped a certain way, Christmas cards had to be sent, I had to find the perfect gifts, and I had to make an effort to get together with all family and close friends.

I would stress out about details, that I now know were unimportant and by the time Christmas was near, I just wanted it over! I never enjoyed the actual holiday, I just wanted it done so life could go back to normal.

This stressed out state led me to overeat and miss workouts. When January 2nd came the scale was at least 5 pounds heavier than normal. By the way, surveys say that the majority of people report at least a 5 pound weight gain during the holidays.

Here is a newsflash: YOU DO NOT “HAVE” to do anything! I didn’t enjoy all of the things listed above, I did them because in my mind that was what was expected of me.
Do It Because You Want To
Let go of expectations and make the holidays and the time around them what YOU want it to be. If you want to do everything and you can do it without creating lots of stress, then by all means do it:-)

But if that is not the case, set boundaries and learn to say NO. That is not selfish at all!

In my mind it is actually more selfish to say Yes when you really want to say No, because you will not show up in a way that serves you and those around you. I have been more true to myself during the holidays the last few years and you know what, I enjoy them much more, am happier, less stressed, and in turn I am better person to be around.

Take some time to set some intentions for this holiday season. Remember that self-care is essential and critical. And most importantly ENJOY your time with loved ones.

Hope this helps everyone

Chris Bradley

Transformation Coach

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