by Tara Casagrande

As the holiday season approaches, we all tend to get very busy.  There are parties to host, dinners to attend, presents to buy, and so much more. In the wellness and fitness industry, we typically see a dip in attendance as December approaches. And yet, it is precisely during the busy holidays that self-care, mindfulness, and physical activity can provide the most benefit.

Often we get to January first and declare our readiness to change with a set of New Year’s resolutions. Why not make a resolution today that your own self-care will not fall victim to the holiday season?  Make a plan to enter 2018 feeling strong, centered, and full of energy.

Making a commitment to a happier, healthier life means saying “No” to the things that do not serve us and “Yes” to those that do. And, like putting your oxygen mask on first, saying “Yes” to ourselves enables us to show up in a kind and giving way for others.

Here are a few tips to lead you through the holiday season:

  1. Set an intention for the holidays and live by it. What is your purpose this holiday season? Whether your intention is to connect more with family or friends, to travel, or to rest and relax, things will fall into place when your intention is clear before you.

  2. Schedule time for self-care. Put time for you on your calendar just as you would for a holiday party or work event. For example, plan your yoga class, fitness session, or walk in the park and promise to yourself that you will show up. Start this practice today.

  3. Pace yourself. The holidays are to be enjoyed and savored. Say no to invitations you receive if they are simply too much for your day or your week.

  4. Give something on your to do list to someone else. If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask a friend, spouse, or relative for help or pay someone to help you. Look at your to-do list and ask yourself if each item is essential and, if so, how you could make any task easier?

  5. Take frequent time outs. Set an hourly chime on your phone. When it sounds, pause, breathe deep into your belly, come back to the present moment, and exhale.

  6. Surround yourself with people that fill your cup. Make time for friends who make you laugh and who love you for who you are. Do it simply. Meet at a yoga class and grab a bite to eat after.

  7. Offer gratitude. Before you get out of bed each morning, recall five or more things for which you are grateful. Write them in a journal by your bedside or simply say them aloud. Acknowledge and reaffirm all the good things you have in your life.

  8. Remove the word “busy” from your vocabulary. Live intentionally and slow down.

Creating a balanced, stress free, healthier holiday season for yourself takes planning, commitment and dedication.  The gift you receive in return is the strength and joy you feel when entering into the New Year!