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9 Self-Care Tips for the Holiday Season

9 Self-Care Tips for the Holiday Season

An astounding 69 percent of Americans report feelings of increased stress during the holidays. In fact, the stress level can get so high that 45 percent of people would prefer to skip Christmas and other related holidays altogether. If you are part of either of these statistics, it is wise to start thinking about self-care and how it can help propel you through the next couple of months.

Although it’s true that you may feel more demands on your time right now than usual, this doesn’t make self-care less important. In fact, it’s more vital than ever that you schedule some time for yourself. Here are a few suggestions to help you take better care of yourself during the holidays.

1. Set Aside Small Blocks of Relaxation Time

Right now, you might be thinking that there’s no way you can carve out any alone time until after the holidays. But have you considered how useful a mere 5 to 10 minutes can be? Listening to music you enjoy during this time frame can reduce your stress by as much as 61 percent. Reading is even better because it offers a 68 percent stress reduction in only six minutes. Therefore, short breaks can be very meaningful and provide you with the emotional respite you need.

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2. Take Yourself to a Show

Is your favorite band coming to town? Or perhaps there’s a musical you’ve always wanted to see? Now is the perfect time to treat yourself! You’ll only need to devote a few hours to this form of escapism, but the benefits can last for days. Off-Broadway tours have become increasingly common, which has led to this industry having its highest grossing season ever. Broadway shows are certainly more expensive than doing something commonplace such as going to the movies, but the overall experience of dressing up, going to the theater and becoming lost in the show will be well worth it.

3. Spend an Evening Coloring

Adult coloring has been a huge hit for more than a year now, and there’s a good reason for this; coloring helps people de-stress. There is also evidence that adults who color are able to develop more mindfulness and increase their ability to focus. The best part is that there are thousands of adult coloring books available about virtually every topic imaginable. Whether you want to color cats, scenes from Harry Potter or something related to any specific holiday, you’ll be able to find an applicable book.

4. Don’t Rely on Alcohol

It’s well-known that many people turn to alcohol to help them get through the holiday season. On the surface, this might even seem like a good idea. But the reality is that alcohol is a depressant, so having more than a glass of wine or one beer could actually make it much harder for you to cope with holiday stress. Take proper care of yourself by avoiding alcohol so that you don’t end up with the holiday blues.

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5. Sleep, Exercise and Proper Nutrition Are Key

Exercising for 30 minutes a day is a great way to reduce your stress and improve your ability to sleep. Stress often makes it difficult to sleep, so it’s easy to see how exercising can benefit you in multiple ways. This is especially true when you consider the fact that a lack of sleep will affect your mood, memory and judgement skills. Proper nutrition has a positive effect on your mood, and it can make it easier to deal with the physical demands of the holiday season.

6. Get a Massage

Massages are known as great stress relievers, and they can also reduce or eliminate tension headaches. In most cases, a massage lasts 60 minutes, which provides you with a safe haven from all of the stress and worries of preparing for the holidays. Many people become so relaxed during a massage that they fall asleep, and deep tissue work will release your tense muscles. This is definitely a good way to give yourself some self-care because no one will be able to contact you or bother you during your one hour session.

7. Use Something Cold to Boost Your Mood

Believe it or not, taking a cold shower has been proven to reinvigorate people, and it also has a positive impact on mood and stress levels. Of course, many people don’t want to get through the initial shock of being in freezing cold water. The good news is that you don’t have to go that far to get relief from stress. Instead, simply take a rice bag or wrap that you would usually heat up for pain relief and put it in the freezer instead. When you begin to feel stressed out, wrap the bag around the back of your neck. This provides a quick soothing effect that can help you instantly de-stress.

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8. Don’t Say Yes to Everything

Are you dreading going to multiple holiday functions? Although you probably feel like you have no choice, the truth is that you can decide to say no to some things. If you want, you could even say no to everything. Ultimately, your mental health is worth much more than forcing yourself to say yes to everything simply because it’s the holiday season. Choose carefully where you want to expend your emotional, mental and physical energy. Perhaps this means going to Thanksgiving dinner but skipping a Christmas gathering. The most important thing is to avoid becoming burned out or extremely stressed because you’re overburdened with commitments.

9. Take a Long Weekend for Yourself

Even if you choose to attend every possible holiday function and put your own needs on the back burner for a couple of months, you can still bring your stress level back down by giving yourself a long weekend after the holidays are over. Your weekend could be spent doing anything from watching movies in your pajamas for three days to booking a remote cabin in the woods. Either way, allowing yourself to have some personal time and space will help you start off 2017 on the right foot.

There are many additional simple ways to reduce stress, ranging from taking a walk in the woods to shutting off your smartphone for an hour. The most important thing is for you to be aware that these methods can be very beneficial self-care techniques that will help you get through the holidays. Be sure to start putting your preferred methods in place right now to prevent your stress level from elevating unnecessarily.

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Featured photo credit: martinak15 via flic.kr

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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