How To Make Self-Care A Priority During The Chaos Of The Holidays

The most wonderful time of the year is here. All of the family or friend gatherings, the yummy food, gift-giving, and the overall joy of the season are just some of the reasons why many people love the holidays. But it can also get pretty chaotic with all the frenzy of the season, and it can be easy to get lost in that chaos (via MultiCare Vitals).


As wonderful as it may seem, the holidays can spark feelings of anxiety, stress, and even depression as a result of what is also considered one of the busiest times of the year. The holiday blues, which can affect anyone during this time of year, are nothing to dismiss. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), they occur throughout the holiday season, with symptoms like loneliness, stress, fatigue, feeling worried, a sense of loss, and more. Whether it's because you feel like you're constantly running around, or financial stress is taking its toll, it can have an impact on your wellbeing. This is why it is important to take care of yourself by practicing self-care this season.


If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Follow a routine

In the midst of chaos, having a set routine can be a really helpful way to prioritize self-care. By setting a routine, you are essentially cementing a schedule of what you need to get done in an organized manner that helps you focus on the tasks at hand, one at a time. In doing so, you can better plan for more self-care activities, such as a hobby or exercise, that will greatly benefit your mental health, per Harvard Medical School


"Though no day in my life is ever the same, I do have a formula that allows me to feel like there's a routine," blogger and influencer Jessica Torres tells Who What Wear. "Every day, I do an activity that makes me feel good." Having a set routine can bring more structure to what may feel like a jumbled mess during the holidays. With a routine, you can still check things off your holiday to-do list and properly make time for yourself as well.

Let your feelings out

Venting is an important coping mechanism, as the holidays can bring up pent-up emotions, per Health Coach Institute. Letting out anything and everything you feel during this season is important. If you have someone you can trust, such as a friend or a family member, they might be a great candidate to be your safe space for opening up. If you feel like you can't confide in others that way, consider journaling to write down all your feelings and experiences in a trusted outlet.


With a plethora of benefits, journaling during this stressful time can help relieve feelings of anxiety, allow you to better control your emotions, and can even promote physical healing (via WebMD). Journaling also makes you more aware of your emotions, and especially if you're experiencing negative ones, it helps you understand that you need to make self-care a priority. 

If you are stressed about finances and holiday shopping or difficult family members, you can express it all safely through journaling. Plus, it's easy to do. You can write your feelings or type them out, but all that matters is that you have a safe outlet to openly express them.

Get a good night's sleep

Taking proper care of yourself during the holidays includes being well-rested. With such a busy holiday season, stress levels may increase and sleep time may decrease because of your long list of duties and stressors. Things like consuming holiday foods that you don't normally eat, attending or hosting holiday parties, and even looking at Christmas lights can also affect your sleep over the holidays.


But the less sleep you get, the more you are prone to feeling increased anxiety, depression, stress, and getting sick from a weakened immune system, according to Healthline

There's no need to sacrifice a good night's rest for holiday responsibilities. After all, sleep can help improve your mood, mental health, and brain function, which will allow you to be more productive. Emotions that are hard to go through can also be triggered by the holidays, and getting adequate sleep can help. So to make self-care a priority, make your sleep routine a priority, too.

Practice mindfulness and meditation

If it feels like your mind is racing a million miles per hour during the holiday season, take some time to slow down and breathe with the practice of mindfulness and meditation. It's important to ground yourself in the midst of chaotic thoughts and busy days, so try to make time for this every day when you're feeling stressed during the holiday season. You can meditate by finding a quiet place to sit down and shift your focus into the present moment by noticing your breathing, per Mindful. Take time to get comfortable and notice the sensations in your body to help ease your wandering mind. 


According to Harvard Medical School, research has shown that mindfulness and meditation is helpful for those experiencing mental health conditions such as anxiety, or even physical pain. Additionally, you can also practice meditation during other activities like sipping a comforting hot tea or folding the laundry, so long as you are focusing on your breathing (which helps calm your nervous system).

Treat yourself with kindness

As you face any hard emotions or stressors caused by the holiday season, remember that the best thing you can do to make your self-care a priority is being kind to yourself. Prioritize your wellbeing by asking yourself what is important to you during the holidays. Shift your focus to things that will lift you up. This can include doing things that you love for you, such as pampering yourself with a pedicure, a new haircut, that new lipstick you have been eyeing, or simply anything that will make you feel good (via Health Coach Institute). 


Being kind to yourself also means trying your best to remove any pressure to feel perfect or meet certain expectations, per The Jed Foundation. Avoid the comparison trap to avoid feeling discouraged or disappointed in yourself when you can't meet these unrealistic expectations. Engage in words of affirmation with positive statements that help you to feel better during these hard times.