During the holidays, it can be so busy that we can go into automatic pilot and forget about self-care and the true meaning of the holidays.  Here are a few tips to help you stay focused and practice good self-care.

Be Intentional
During the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of the season and lose sight of what is really important to you.  At Centered Therapy Chicago, we like to remind our clients to be intentional. This means asking yourself, “why am I doing this and is it working for me?”  Practicing good self-care means loving yourself and honoring your truest intentions.

Connect With What You Love About the Holidays
When things get hectic, it’s common for people to stop doing things that they love.  Take an inventory of your life and what you want from the holidays. What’s important to you now? What did you used to love doing during the holidays, but stopped doing?  Did you replace it with something?  If not, is there something you want to reintegrate back into your life? What rituals and traditions make you happy? Do at least one thing you love to do during this holiday season.

Practice Generosity
Researchers have found experiencing empathy towards strangers triggers our biological “love button,” the release of the hormone Oxytocin. This subsequently helps us feel calmer and experience a greater sense of love and connection with our family, friends, and ourselves. This special hormone gets released when we practice simple acts of kindness such as volunteering at a homeless shelter, donating gently used items to people in need, or helping elders. Giving our time, energy, attention, gratitude, and encouragement to others also helps us reduce our own stress by increasing our sense of meaningful connection to others and cultivating a feeling that we are a part of something that is bigger than us.

Practice Mindfulness
There are so many beautiful and tasty things around us during the holiday season.  Take the time to slow things down and really take it all in.  Notice the colors, flavors, sounds, and sensations of the holiday season.  Soak it up and notice how it feels to enjoy it all. This special time only comes once a year!