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Self-Care: Tips on Surviving the Holiday Season

By Kendra Wiley

It’s December and you know what that means! Holiday parties, networking socials, galas and gatherings. It’s so easy to look up in January and be exhausted from all the food, booze, and travel. But what if you closed out the decade and entered 2020 feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the year? I have two words for you: self-care.

I have a friend who goes into hibernation when December hits. He gets off social media and is very intentional about taking time to rest and relax during the winter months. This year, I’ve decided to join him. I’m going to read some books, FINALLY learn how to play my acoustic, and spend some time reflecting on 2019 and strategically planning for 2020.

While this won’t be my first holiday season living away from home, it will be the first time I’ve lived 1,400 miles away from home. In the past I’ve found myself in a whirlwind of happy hours, dinners, and brunches and have returned home feeling completely exhausted. Between trying to see all my friends and spend time with family, I barely have any time for myself. I’m writing this post just as much for myself as I am for others. I’m hoping this will jumpstart you to handle the holiday season with intention.

Take Some Time for Yourself

Get back to the basics. What do you enjoy doing? What have you wanted to do that you’ve not had time for? Take this time to snuggle under a blanket and read one of those books on your “to read” list, or browse the shelves at a secondhand book or record store.

Have you always wanted to take guitar lessons, do yoga or meditation, or take a pottery class? Treat yourself.

Know Your Triggers

This year will be the first time my family and I celebrate the holidays without my grandparents. Knowing that we’ll all feel sad has prepared me as I prepare to travel home for the holidays to try to focus on honoring them and the love and memories they gave us.

Be Intentional About Who You Spend Time With (and Who You Don’t)

I’ve been missing my close friends something crazy, and I told two of them I needed them to make room for me on their calendars when I get home. And their response was: “Great! We can do a girls’ night with food, wine, and good conversation.” In addition to hanging out with people who bring out the best in you, think about those who are toxic and weigh you down with their complaints and negative energy. Can you either eliminate spending time with these people or cut down if you HAVE to see them?

Be Thankful No matter what happened in 2019, we all have things we can be thankful for. Spend some time making a gratitude list for the year or journaling about the highlights. And celebrate the wins! Maybe that means going out with friends and having a toast to the all the great things that happened this year.

Be Selective

Do you need to attend EVERY holiday party, gala, and happy hour? Or can you choose a few, and spend some nights at home binging a new Netflix show? Washington, DC is such a fast-paced city, it’s easy to get caught up in the networking and cool stuff that’s going on and having FOMO. But this may be one of the only times a year you get to slow down.

Don’t Be a People Pleaser

I have a friend with parents who are divorced and both remarried. She and her partner are trying to figure out how to accommodate ALL of the family members for the holidays and split their time between three to five houses. Just hearing her describe the logistics made me exhausted. Navigating between families can be hard, but remember this is your holiday break too.

What three self-care actions can you do this holiday season that are just for you? Make a list and get a friend to do the same so you can hold each other accountable. Here are a few self-care templates to get you started.

Kendra Wiley is a native Texan and health and wellness advocate. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of North Texas, and a Juris Doctorate from Texas Tech University School of Law.


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