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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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