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Last Updated on November 23, 2023
Holidays = Stress central! With gift shopping, dinner plans, family chaos, and more, it’s a lot.
And you know what that means…you need self-care STAT. Lucky for you, this 12-day holiday self care checklist has all the best ideas to get your dose of “me time.”
How to Take Care of Yourself During the Holidays
Between family time and time alone to recharge, the holidays are totally a balancing act. Your #1 self care reminder for the holidays: slow down and take it easy wherever you can.
This means taking intentional breaks. Think: a quick walk, a cozy coffee break, or even deep breaths in a dark room alone.
This also means getting real comfortable with the word “no.” Give yourself the gift of boundaries. I promise, your sanity will thank you for it! You don’t owe anyone anything, and you deserve to fill your cup before trying to fill others’.
So if you struggle to take time for YOU during Christmas, this holiday self care checklist will be your go-to guide! Let’s dive in.
Your Holiday Self Care Checklist: 12 Ideas to Beat Christmas Stress
You do NOT wanna forget about this holiday self care checklist! Pin it to come back later!
1. Take time for yourself to simply be alone
Starting off this holiday self care checklist, this is probably the simplest and most important thing you can do for yourself.
You’ll likely be spending a lot of time with family and friends this season, naturally, and that is great!
But we all have a social battery that needs to be recharged every once in a while. Taking time for yourself amidst all the Christmas chaos is an absolute must.
You can take a brisk winter walk, a warm bubble bath, a nice long nap, or anything else that gives you that special me-time.
2. Have a plan for difficult interactions with family
We don’t exactly get to pick and choose our family members, and some of them just simply don’t get along with us.
If you have an argumentative or controversial family member that always seems to start drama, make a plan ahead of time for what you’ll do.
You might want to make it a hard rule not to engage, to divert the conversation to another topic, or to walk away. Whatever feels best for you, make the decision with the goal of protecting yourself and your energy!
3. Create a new Christmas tradition
Who says you can’t make new Christmas traditions of your own?! Gather some friends, family, or your significant other together and create a new Christmas tradition to spice things up!
Christmas tradition ideas include…
- Cooking or baking a new treat together
- Doing a small celebration together on Christmas Eve
- Donating to charity or supporting those in need
- Making DIY Christmas cards
- Getting crafty and making a Christmas craft
4. Put together a DIY self care kit
Simplifying your self care routine by creating a go-to self care kit that you can grab and get to it is a game changer! A self care kit can be filled with all the goodies that self-soothe and make you feel good.
Ideas for a DIY self care kit include…
- A journal, like my printable mental health journal
- Weighted blanket
- Your favorite comfort movies or music
- Stress balls
- Coloring books
You can get a full list of ideas and inspiration over at my post on 25 DIY Self Care Kit Ideas That are Simple & Soothing! This is a super fun tangible thing to do for your holiday self care checklist.
5. Treat yourself
Treat yourself to ANYTHING! Your favorite food or dessert, a day at the hair or nail salon, that cute outfit you’ve had your eye on for a while…the list goes on!
Since it’s Christmas time anyway, there’s no shame in getting yourself a little Christmas gift!
You’re probably doing a ton already for friends and family this time of year, so treating yourself to something special isn’t a bad thing at all. We could all treat ourselves every once in a while just to simply boost our mood and feel good!
6. Slow down and be mindful
Whatever this looks like for you, take a moment to pause, breathe, and regroup yourself.
Don’t worry about how that family gathering next week will go, or about how much money you’re spending, just give yourself this moment to be present and immersed in the now.
You can do this on your own, or I personally really appreciate the help of a guided meditation.
My mind wanders all over the place when I meditate, so I need soothing words to guide me and ground me.
Headspace is my favorite guided meditation app and it is perfect for beginners who struggle with meditating! You can try it free for 14 days here to ease your holiday stress. It’s certainly worth trying!!
7. Schedule a therapy appointment
While there’s a lot of fun holiday self care checklist things you can do this Christmas, you might need to dig a little deeper.
The reality is that the winter season can bring about a lot of negative experiences, like seasonal affective symptoms, anxiety, and low mood.
And when you’re busy, it’s especially tempting to put your mental health care on the back burner. But maintenance is a must, otherwise you invite the opportunity for things to only get worse when left unchecked!
So if it’s been a while since you’ve been to therapy, schedule that appointment! You’ll 100% thank yourself later. Last year, I made the switch to online therapy from the comfort of my home and I haven’t looked back. It’s made getting help so much more comfortable!
If you’re looking to get into therapy too, I always recommend Online Therapy because it’s a comprehensive, effective online therapy toolkit at an affordable monthly cost. Get 20% off your first month at the link below!
8. Have a Christmas spending budget and stick to it
Not gonna lie, Christmas can get expensive! There is just so much gift shopping, decorating, sometimes travel costs…it really is NOT a cheap holiday haha!
But at the same time, you can’t let Christmas break the bank. You shouldn’t have to spend more than you’re comfortable with. Financial stress can be a major contributor to stress this time of year, so you’ve gotta set a limit on the $$$ you’re putting out.
Sit down, add up all the costs you think you’ll realistically spend, and outline a budget you can stick to. Planning in advance, rather than letting the costs rack up and up and up, is the best solution to keep the stress under control.
9. Set boundaries
With events, with people, with spending…and so on. You’ve got to set your boundaries and be firm with them. You have to get comfortable saying “no” if you recognize something you really shouldn’t be taking on.
You might not be able to spend time with every single family member in your entire extended family. You might have to make certain sacrifices and pick and choose how to spend your holidays in a way that won’t deplete your energy.
And you should absolutely give yourself permission to take a step back when you need to. This practice is vital for your holiday self care checklist.
10. Take a moment to journal for your mental health
Feeling overwhelmed with holiday thoughts? Dump them onto paper! Journaling isn’t just about writing; it’s a practical boost for your mental health.
It’s my fave tool to lift my mood, prioritize and tackle my problems, and understand what triggers me. All crucial aspects for your holiday self-care plan.
I wanted to make it easier to manage your mental health, which is why I made the printable mental health journal!
This must-have tool for the holiday season will help you make sense of your emotions, reframe negative thoughts, and overcome unhelpful behaviors that hold you back from feeling your best. Grab it below!
11. Reflect on the year
As you wrap up the year, it’s important to reflect on how things panned out. You’ve changed and grown, and your goals have likely done the same.
You may have faced things you didn’t anticipate, or you may be on a high note now compared to where you started! Nevertheless, it’s good to observe and assess how things went.
Open up a journal and reflect on things like…
- All your wins–both big and small
- The goals you set at the beginning of the year
- Did you meet them? Did they change? Did you adjust them?
- Your biggest challenges and trials this year
- The lessons you’ve learned along the way
- How your day-to-day lifestyle has evolved
12. Remember that holiday stress is only temporary
The biggest reminder I want you to take away from this holiday self care checklist is that holiday stress will pass.
If you’re having a rough time right now, just know that with the start of the new year, this will all be in the rear view! Think back to all the other Christmas seasons you’ve been through and how you made it out alive at the end. This year will be no different.
In the meantime, aim to shift your mindset to all the holiday joys of this season. Focusing on the good will help you cope. Even if things are bumpy, there’s always at least a few things to be grateful for.
There’s warm drinks, yummy food, gifts to be received, and quality time to be spent with people you enjoy.
WANT MORE IDEAS? READ: Christmas Self Care Ideas – 33 Festive Ideas
Why is self care important during the holidays?
The holidays can be a time of stress, high emotions, and just a lot going on. The most important reason why you need to practice self care this holiday season is to prevent extreme states of stress and burnout.
If you’re doing too much and you have a mile-long to-do list (as many of us do during Christmas!), it’s all too easy to neglect yourself and your needs.
But if your mental health and wellbeing isn’t properly supported, you can’t expect yourself to function and get all the Christmas things done, anyway!
Be sure you put self care at the top of your Christmas to-do list so you have the best shot of getting through the holiday season unscathed. This holiday self care checklist is the perfect guide for that!
Grab a Printable Copy of This Holiday Self Care Checklist!
Simply click below to download, print, and take care of yourself!
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