Tips for Practicing Self-Care Around the Holidays
Last updated: December 2022
Practicing self-care is necessary to get through challenging times with chronic illnesses like lupus. It can be difficult to find time for ourselves when life gets busy. We asked our patient leader team of contributors, "How do you practice self-care or take care of your mental health during or after the holidays?" Here is what was shared:
Accept that the holidays will not always be perfect
Prioritizing self-care and mental health during the holidays is hard because I have such a limited amount of time to squeeze them into as it's such a busy time of year.
These things are still a priority, but I find the world is a little different during the holidays. So instead of a therapy session, I might do a short meditation. Instead of a long self-care experience, I might just take 15 minutes to myself to come back down to earth and remember that it's ultimately not that big of a deal if everything goes perfectly or not. This helps me focus on what truly matters instead of getting caught up in frivolous demands. – Ava
Take a social media break
The mental break I will take is that I will not answer the phone after the holidays nor get on social media. It will definitely be a mental break for me. Sometimes I go to the park and walk with my children and then spend quality time with my family. After the holidays, my nails are a mess, so I will take a few hours out for me time to enjoy myself. Eventually, I will hit the gym and work out for 2 hours. Doing a little cardio is great for my muscles and a hot shower makes my joints feel so much better at times. Sometimes it's more of me having rest for my body to heal after putting so much pressure on my body to get things done. – Jokiva
Set boundaries and breathe deep
I have learned to take breaks. The holidays can be so exciting that it becomes a time of overload for me. Taking breaks to breathe and meditate helps me tremendously. Focusing on my breath brings me to my present moment and helps me focus on tasks. Stopping also allows me to prioritize things that I can handle and delegate other things to family members.
Self-care for me during the holidays usually looks like saying no to myself. When I want to fall into the trap of overworking myself to seem strong to those around me, stopping to breathe and take a break works to put it all in perspective. It helps me realize I am human with limitations and I must honor my body by listening to its cues to rest. – Racquel
Postpone cleaning and additional events
I'm still a work in progress, but I don't take decor down right away or do any sort of cleanup. I carve out time to just rest mentally and physically to unwind from everything and the people around me know that too.
I try not to have any scheduled appointments or events during that time as well so it's truly free for me to rest and recover. It would be helpful to come up with a holiday wind-down routine. – Gabrielle
Journal and keep therapy appointments
If I am being honest, I am not great at practicing self-care during the holidays. I love gift-giving and really spoiling those closest to me. As cliche as it sounds, I would rather give gifts than receive them. But I am really trying to remember myself this year, which looks like checking in with myself daily, assessing my physical and mental health by journaling, and keeping up with appointments with my therapist. I also try to rest more and get outside for some vitamin D. We all need to remember that we can’t fill anyone else’s tank when our tank is empty. – Amber
When all else fails, treat yourself
During the holidays, I am super guilty of online shopping. There are so many great deals, and just a click of a button makes it that much easier. Plus, everything gets delivered so there is no need to ever step inside a mall and deal with the crowds and germs.
Another guilty pleasure of mine before Covid was facials. I haven't had a facial in so long because I am still uncomfortable around people without a mask. But I really miss it. Getting a facial was just so relaxing and made my skin glow and look super refreshed. It was a nice recharge and getaway from the world. – Geri
Have there been things you have learned along your lupus journey that you wish had been explained to you by a healthcare provider earlier?