With the holidays quickly approaching it so easy as mamas to put ourselves on the back burner. And while there are certainly seasons where this is absolutely necessary, if you do this for too long, no one will truly enjoy those precious holiday moments. So here are just a few ideas to make sure that you take care of you during this especially busy holiday season.
**NOTE: these are not “get a manicure”. While I firmly believe that sometimes that can be a form of self care, and that you should in fact, get that manicure. I also believe that true self care, the kind that actually nourishes your soul happens daily, multiple times a day. So, with that said, lets get started!
Yep, drink water. I know, you are sitting there reading this like, um, that isn’t self care. But here me out. You should be consuming AT LEAST half your body weight in ounces of water every single day. Your body, your beautiful body, is made up of water. You have to drink it. Period. Yes, that means you’ll have to use the bathroom a lot but who cares. Drinking water will instantly make you feel better. Your body will be less sore. Your skin will clear up. Your attitude will be better.
**worth noting that coffee is not water, tea is not water, La Croix is not water. WATER IS WATER. You can add fruit (actual whole fruit) or herbs to it, but you need to drink real water. I promise you will notice a difference.
MOVE YOUR BODY
I know, I know. No one likes this one. But lets get into it. If you move your body it scientifically changes the chemistry in your body. Our bodies are designed to move. They are made for challenges. They are not made to spend every moment sitting. Movement doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym for an hour. Movement doesn’t mean you have to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Movement means movement. Go for a walk with your kids. I know its cooler, but go. Being outside right now is BEAUTIFUL, enjoy it. Pull up Youtube and do a yoga flow, you will feel so much lighter after. Have a dance party with your kids. This is my personal favorite thing to do during that witching hour right before dinner. This is not about weight loss, this is about mental sanity. I know that it feels like we are doing everyone else a service by always being there for them and taking up the “martyr” role. Mama, here me, this is helping absolutely no one. You want your kids to learn to take good care of themselves right? You want to them to be healthy, happy adult humans, right? The only way that they will learn to that is if you SHOW THEM. Meaning you have to do it first. Also, you are worth taking care of. Did you read that? Let me say it again, YOU. ARE. WORTH. TAKING. CARE. OF. So move your body, every single day. I promise the smile on your face will slowly grow and grow.
HAVE SOME GRACE
During the holidays everyone is busy. Especially mamas and bonus points if you have more than one kid, even more bonus points if you have more than one kid in elementary school. BLESS. I swear the holidays come around and every elementary teacher ever thinks that your schedule instantly cleared and you have all the literal time to bake cookies and craft and show up in the middle of the day. But that is a rant for a different day. Any who, you are allowed to say no. You are allowed to not do that thing that you don’t actually want to do. Rest, doesn’t just mean sleep. It also does mean sleep, so make sure you prioritize that as well, but also what I actually mean here is mental rest. You have to give yourself some grace. You have to know that you are doing your best and that is great. If you hate baking cookies, don’t. Buy some cookies and call it day. Your kids don’t actually care, promise, they just want cookies. Take some time this holiday season and be present with your babies. Have a movie night. Play a board game. Do whatever you will actually enjoy. There is one other thing I want to add when it comes to grace and it has to do with stress. Mama, now is not the time to attempt to make every single thing by hand. You do not have enough time to cook all the meals from scratch, hand make everyone a present, volunteer for every at school party, and still be the wife your husband needs and a functional mama. Now is when it is okay to order Hello Fresh, buy cute handmade presents on Etsy, pick ONE party to volunteer for and go all out… You get the idea here.
SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES
You are allowed to set boundaries that make you comfortable. All the extended family time that tends to go down during this season can be the most stressful part for some people. Don’t get me wrong, I know we all love our families. It is just sometimes difficult to be around some of them. Do not be afraid to set boundaries for these people. For instance, if at every Thanksgiving, your uncle Billy gets crazy drunk and you always get super stressed about how your kids will react, set a boundary. You do not have to be mean about it, but BEFORE Thanksgiving call uncle Billy and let him know how uncomfortable it makes you when this happens. Let him know that if he chooses to get drunk, you will have to choose to leave Thanksgiving early. Don’t tell him how terrible he is for getting drunk. Don’t lecture him about his life choices. Be clear and concise, if _____ happens then I will do _____. Fill in the blanks for whatever situation instantly popped in your head when you read this, I know there was one. Find a way to have grace and compassion for who ever it is, this is not about being rude. This is about your own mental health.
This should go without saying but honestly, when I look back a few of the holiday seasons I have endured, I did just that, endure. I didn’t have fun. I didn’t enjoy the whole process. That really stinks, you know? So this one is last for a reason. If nothing else I want this to stick with you. You, as a grown adult human, are allowed to still have fun, especially during the holidays. Schedule one thing that makes you as giddy as a toddler who just heard baby shark for the 100th time in a row. Hire a sitter and go on date night. (hint: if funds are tight make this your christmas present to each other.) Find a way to enjoy the process of purchasing presents instead of stressing yourself out to find the perfect one. Decorate before it is socially acceptable if you want to. Listen to Christmas music if you feel like it. Make it a priority to actually laugh once a day. Whatever that means for you, you deserve to laugh, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Mama, I hope your holiday season is full.
I hope its full of laughter and joy.
I hope its full of happiness and grace.
I hope it is overflowing with love.
Be the thermostat in your home and set the temperature this holiday season. Set your thermostat for whatever will bring you the most joy and the most peace. Your family will be the thermometer and meet you there.
Ariel Nieto is a wife and mama of 4 little ones, ages 7 years to -9 months. She loves all things health and wellness and loves chatting about mom life. Learn more about her here!