BY SUZETTE SMITH
The Holiday Season is notorious for taking a toll on your senses and raising stress levels sky high. Here are some can’t-miss self care tips for making sure your own holiday season is both happy and healthy:
1. Remember the value of your time.
The first step to taking time for yourself is valuing your own time. Your time is precious, so don’t just give it away! Take a moment to remember that your time and energy are limited and have a lot of worth. Start with this important reminder to set the stage for the season.
To take more time for yourself, you have to make more time. Think about holidays past. What worked and what didn’t? Allow yourself to let go of what no longer serves you. Modify or eliminate what doesn’t bring you joy. Keeping it simple lets you de-clutter your life from unnecessary obligations and frees you up to have more time and fun!
Next, decide what is important for you. You can’t do it all! Give yourself permission to prioritize what makes you happy (not just everyone else), and make sure to factor those into your plans. And don’t be afraid to delegate. If you can’t fit it into your schedule, you can give yourself more time by asking others to share the work.
4. Plan ahead
Never underestimate the importance of a schedule! Now that you’ve decided what you’ll be doing, budget your time accordingly. Using your time wisely will give you more opportunity to enjoy yourself. Under-schedule your activities to give yourself wiggle room and avoid rushing. This keeps your nervous system relaxed amidst all the holiday hubbub.
4. Care for your body
Although the holidays are a joyful time, they can be rough on you too. Take extra time to rest and nurture yourself. Treat yourself like a sugar plum fairy! If we don’t re-charge our batteries along the way, we’ll be running on empty by the time the holidays arrive. Get a full eight hours of sleep or take a nap when you need it. Cozy up by the fire, take a bubble bath or light a candle. Also don’t forget that moderation is key: We all want to enjoy our treats and sweets, but try to balance it out with nutritious food. Stay committed to your exercise routine — don’t put it on hold until after the new year. Keep it up now to keep yourself in check.
5. Care for your soul
Reconnect with the spirit of the holidays — it’s about peace and love. Ask yourself what gets you connected to your heart. Get inspired: Read a book, watch a movie or go to an event that makes your heart sing. Sit down and drink your tea while it’s still hot. Take time for stillness.
6. Honor your traditions
Traditions are so valuable. Think back to your favorite holiday memories. Recreate those this season to honor your own traditions, and create some new ones that represent who you are and who you have become.
— Suzette Smith runs Shelter Island Pilates and Barre (shelterislandpilates.com), which is open year round. Ms. Smith is hosting an Oceanfront Pilates & Wellness Retreat in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica!