Photo credit: WCN 24/7 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

We often think that the holidays are for spending quality time with our family, carrying out traditions and enjoying time at home with the ones we love the most. Although the holidays are truly a special time for our families, so should it be for you and you alone.

For most of us, we make plans to buy gifts, bake, shop, cook the right food, and decorate, but forget to plan time where we are away by ourselves doing whatever it is that makes us happy. Usually during the holidays there is enough support around (family or spouse) to look after the children while we take some time to pamper ourselves, so this works out perfectly.

Why is this time so important for one to take?

It’s like the message the airlines relate to us every time we take a flight – “Please place your oxygen mask on yourself before you tend to your child.” They tell us this because our children can’t be taken care of if we are slumped over from a lack of oxygen. The same is true for us in everyday life, particularly around the holiday season, when we can more easily take time out for ourselves due to the extra support around us. We MUST use this time to do something for ourselves in order to recharge and feel ready and willing to be “mom” or “dad” again.

But why MUST we do this?

Scientists in the Journal of Research in Personality stated that just five minutes of quiet solitude is all it takes to reset the body’s stress-regulating sympathetic nervous system. In fact, when study volunteers took a solo timeout, their heart rates dropped and blood pressure stabilized. Plus, they subconsciously drew deeper breaths. This triple effect left them feeling focused, rejuvenated and 58 percent more energized. So, if 5 minutes can do this, just think how great you would feel if you scheduled an hour or two away by yourself doing something you love!

Here are some suggestions for you to try. Feel free to add your own!

  1. Get a manicure, pedicure, or both!
  2. Go for a walk in nature.
  3. Sit at a cafe and read a book while sipping a latte or tea.
  4. Get a massage.
  5. Take a bath then cozy up in bed with a great magazine and a cup of tea while family or hubby takes the kids out to play
  6. Go to a yoga or exercise class.
  7. Watch a movie by yourself while everyone is out of the house.
  8. Write in a journal or diary. Write about your goals, fears, and things you’re grateful for.
  9. Get a facial or give yourself one at home while everyone is away from the house
  10. Go to the library and search the shelves for every book you said you’d love to read. Sign them out or book them for later. Then sit down and enjoy the peace and quiet of a library while you get lost in a fabulous book.

A whole lot of planning goes into this time of year. Why not put yourself on that list of things to do? Your mind, body, spouse and children will thank you for it.

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