In terms of recent years, 2020 is definitely a strange bird. It’s likely that your holidays this year might look a little different than it has in years past - virtual celebrations, quarantine recipe practice, getting festive within your own household or even by yourself. If this is you, you’re certainly not alone in shifting your celebrations. One study found that as many as 72 percent of Americans plan to attend some sort of holiday party virtually this holiday season.
It’s also possible that you’re spending the holidays alone and that it isn’t anything new for you. The holiday season, while often romanticized as a heartwarming time with twinkly lights, is not a nostalgic walk down memory lane for all. And that’s totally okay.
No matter where you’re at this year, it’s equally important to manage expectations as well as to commit to caring for yourself. Take some time to recenter on self-care through this holiday season and into 2021 with our five self-care tips.
1. Create a self-care kit.
Create a small packet of little goodies that can help bring the calm internally when there’s chaos around you, be it teaching your family how to connect their webcam or a gift-en-route experiencing shipping delays. Grab your CBD, a refillable water bottle, chargers to keep your phone and music going, some chapstick, a couple of bandaids, something with a great smell (like an essential oil or a piece of cedarwood), and a piece of soft cloth if pleasant sensory experiences help ground you.
If you can’t access all of your typical care routines or just need something to help you ground in the present moment, your self-care kit can help you reset your mental space by taking care of your body.
2. Try out a new virtual activity to “break out” of isolation.
You don’t even have to meet new people to participate in the fun of this one! Bring some intentionality to your virtual family gatherings and try out a few of these ideas:
Whose holiday cooking are you going to miss most this year? Ask them to plan a virtual cooking class and invite friends and family to participate and try their hand at the recipe at home.
Hold a virtual talent show! This one can be great for getting the kids involved.
- Open gifts virtually - you'll be able to witness the reactions on the faces of friends and family, even if you can be there to celebrate in-person.
If you’re looking to branch out and connect with those outside of your existing network, why not try out one of the following?
- Join a virtual book club! You can check in with your local library, worship group, or just round up some of your contacts to get started in an ongoing book group.
Take virtual classes through free platforms like Coursera.
- Take online music, art, or even dance lessons. Many of your local in-person instructors may even have switched to a digital delivery format!
3. Do something to nurture yourself every day.
Commit to at least 15 minutes of “me time” each day. Yes, every day. It doesn’t have to be the same activity each day, just make sure you really do something for yourself. Take a hot bath. Read a few pages of a book. Balance your budget. Spend a few minutes meditating, or just reflecting on what you are grateful for. Whatever tickles your fancy and feels nourishing to you.
There are 1,440 minutes in a day, so this commitment to yourself is only 0.016 percent of your day!
4. Set your goals. Stick to them. Get back to them, even if you falter.
Do you want to refrain from overindulging during the holidays or commit to walking every day? Maybe you want to make it a goal to call and connect with a loved one three times per week. Set your goals ahead of time.
Yes, we know it’s not that simple to just create and stick to a habit or a routine, especially during the end-of-the-year sprint of cheer coupled with a global pandemic. Be gentle with yourself if you eat one too many cookies, or if your daily movement looks more like gentle stretches in bed than a half-hour jog. This gentleness and compassion, at the heart of your goal-setting, can help you circle back to encouragement and stick to your self-care intentions throughout the 2020 holiday season.
5. When you’ve cared for yourself, turn to caring for others.
While 2020 has undoubtedly impacted all of us, it’s been said that we are all in the same storm but not in the same boat. Some of us have boats that are taking on water while others remain in-tact and ride out the storm. Caring for yourself may be all you can muster this season, and that’s still a shining example of strength and resilience. If you find your days unbearable, remember that you can always seek help from your doctor or mental health professional.
If you DO find yourself with energy or time overflowing, consider turning your care to your neighbors and community members. Here are a few ways to make an impact:
- Check-in on neighbors, especially those who might be alone this season. This can be totally contactless: a phone call or text, or a card if you don’t yet have their contact information.
Donate or volunteer. There are even plenty of opportunities to find volunteer work you can do safely at home.
- Donate blood or even plasma if you’re able to - it can save multiple lives!
Remember, self-care is not always an easy or pretty thing. But, after all you’ve survived in 2020, it’s definitely something you can handle.