3 Radical Self-Care Tips for the Holiday Season

 Photo provided via Unsplash

Photo provided via Unsplash

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not the biggest fan of the holidays. For personal reasons (like for many of us) the holidays can be a very loaded subject. Our culture sells the holiday season as a happy time that’s all about celebrating with family, friends, and gift giving.

Yet, many of us end up feeling isolated and lonely.

Some people truly have a great, healthy relationship to the holiday season and have this warm, happy experience. And that’s wonderful! I’m not trying to sell that the holidays are evil. But it’s important to talk about the shadow side of the holiday season for those who don’t fall into that category. It’s important to talk about this side of the holidays as a way of dismantling the isolation people feel. What we feel, we heal.

Why we need to talk about the shadow side of the holidays.

For some, the holidays bring up painful memories of childhood Christmases. Or it’s a reminder of strained relationships we may have in our family system. Maybe we’ve been ostracized from our family. Maybe politics have created a divide. The reasons as to why the holidays can be emotional are endless.

I think a lot of people don’t talk about their dislike of the holidays for many reasons. Particularly because it’s culturally “uncool” to say the holidays can suck. On social media we see hundreds of photos of friends and influencers posting these epic holiday photos. That’s great—not trying to hate or anything. But as we know, the content we mostly see on social media are the “highlight reels” of peoples lives. Not the behind the scenes. And it can be detrimental to our mental health. Especially during the holidays.

What is radical self-care?

Now, let’s talk about radical self-care during the holidays.

I’m going to continue this conversation during the month of December and January. I want to spread light and provide support to those who have a hard time during these months.

We all know what self-care is. But what about radical self-care?

The first definition of “radical” in Meriam Webster is:

1: of, relating to, or proceeding from a root: such as

a(1): of or growing from the root of a plant

When I say “radical” I mean going all the way. Doing it whole-heartedly and fiercely. And I love Meriam Webster’s definition because it’s describing this sensation of foundation and grounding.

Why we need to practice radical self-care during the holidays.

During the holidays, it’s more important than ever to maintain the foundation of your self-care practice. And it doesn’t need to be complex. Simple strategies are the most impactful.

Especially around the holidays, we’re vulnerable to the emotion mind taking over which then leads to us engaging in some of our not-so-helpful habits and even compulsive behaviors. Overeating (or not eating enough), bingeing on television, being sedentary, over-working, alcohol, marijuana, and checking social media are just a few examples.

So how do we combat this with radical self-care?

Here are three simple radical self-care tips you can implement this holiday season:

 1. Create Routinethis one is so undervalued! Keep a consistent daily routine. This stems from Ayurvedic teachings that I share with my retreat clients. Have a morning ritual that can include journaling, a brief mediation, or a few minutes of silence. Whatever feels grounding for you. This creates an anchor for the rest of your day. Keep up with your routine throughout the day by eating regularly at the same times each day. Do something active once a day (even if it’s going for a walk). Keep it simple and consistent. Routine is something that can be so simple yet profound.

2.  Practice Healthy Boundaries – this one is more challenging for a lot folks. Say “no” to the things you don’t feel comfortable doing. Even if it means saying “no” to your own family. Put yourself first so you can show up in a healthier way for others. As challenging as this can be, you’ll walk away feeling empowered by honoring your needs and truth.

 3.  Eat (Mostly) Whole Foods – Western culture completely underestimates the impact food has on our emotional health. During the holidays there’s a lot of sugary, bready foods out and about. I’m not saying don’t indulge in these from time to time. But keep in mind how an excess of these foods will actually heighten your emotional state and keep you out of balance. And it will make steps one and two above, even more challenging to practice.

Most importantly when practicing radical self-care, remember that you are worth taking care of. It’s not selfish. When we’re taking care of ourselves, we feel stronger, empowered, and balanced. And we show up in a better way for those around us.

Take sweet care of you this holiday season.

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Kelsey UllrichComment