It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and the most stressful. Of course, lots of us spend the holidays with the people we love. But we also spend tons of time fulfilling obligations, shopping, and traveling.

All this busyness can make it really hard to care for one really important person—you. So here are a few ideas to help you slow down and practice self-care during the holiday season.

Holiday Self-Care Tips - Free Period Press

1. Set boundaries with family and friends

Sometimes, the people closest to us can stress us out the most. While we want to build relationships with loved ones, we also don’t have to set aside our own feelings. Before gathering with family or friends, think about how much you want to share. If a conversation feels uncomfortable—it’s okay to follow your instincts.

2. Notice how you're feeling

It’s always a good idea to be aware of your emotions. Are you feeling stressed out? It might be time to take a break and go for a walk. Filled with the joy of the season? Then pour another round of eggnog. By understanding how you’re feeling, you can change your response to help manage your emotions.

3. Practice gratitude

What are you thankful for? Taking a few moments to write down your thoughts in a gratitude journal can give you a positive mental boost. If you appreciate the people in your life, it never hurts to reach out and tell them, too.

4. Understand it's okay to say "no"

No, you do not have to attend every holiday party you’re invited to. And, no, you do not have to buy a present for your uncle’s boss’s new girlfriend. Saying “no” can be uncomfortable, but it can also be empowering. It’s also an amazing way to prioritize the people and events that are most important to you. 

5. Focus on the here and now

Stay present when you’re opening those presents! Keeping your attention on what’s going on around you, gives you a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. This way, you’re not thinking longingly of holidays past or stressing about the coming new year.

6. Make time to rest and relax

It’s easy to get run down with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. That’s why it’s essential to get enough sleep. Winter is also an ideal time to work on your relaxation skills and set aside moments for self-care habits like meditation, yoga, journaling, or reading.

7. Reflect on your values

Christmas goes hand in hand with commercialization. Set aside time to think about who you are and what you value. If creating handmade gifts matters to you, don’t stress when you see others exchanging expensive store-bought presents. Just stay true to yourself.

8. Enjoy the good times

Don’t get us wrong! The holidays aren’t all about drama. When you come across one of those magical moments that make the season bright, there’s only one thing to do—savor it!

Looking for some self-care gift ideas? We got you covered!