6 Ways To Practice Self Care During Chaotic Times Of The Year

self care ideas for women, #selfcare tips, mental health, self care for moms

This post is in partnership with Hancock Regional Hospital as part of their empowering women and children site. All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are my own. Be sure to check out their site for additional resources and support.

As much as I love the holidays, or back to school season, if I'm completely honest, they also bring pangs of anxiety. They always seem to creep up on me just a little too quickly. One minute its New Years, the next second it's summer vacation, then back to school time, and then the end of the year holidays all over again. I cant help but think to myself, “didn't I just make New Years resolutions, like...a week ago?

While I love the holidays and all the other milestones throughout the year – they always come with some added stress. It seems like family dynamics always get a little crazier, my perfectionistic tendencies rear their head just a little bit more, and there is never enough time to get all the things done. Which leaves me wondering:

How can practice self-care during the holidays or other chaotic times of the year?

Check In Mentally & Physically

Of course that means getting regular lab work and annual doctor visits. But this also means, doing a daily, or even hourly, scan of how your feeling physically, emotionally and mentally. Take particular note if your mood always drops after talking with a specific friend, or if you have anxiety around a specific task. On the flip side, don't forget to do a scan of the positive things as well. Like if you feel a little extra warm and fuzzy after watching movies with your family. The more awareness you can bring to the things that both deplete you and fill you with joy, the more you can do these next steps effectively.

[RELATED] 5 Things To Do When Feeling Defeated & Depleted

Setting Boundaries With People

Since you've been doing regular mental and physical scans, what did you notice? Was it that you always felt a little more sour after a call with a certain family member? If so, now is the time to take action and set some boundaries.

As an introvert, being around large groups of people for long periods of time can feel like my worst nightmare. Two hours in, I'm planning my escape to watch TV alone and recharge my battery. Mix my often misunderstood introverted ways with tenuous family dynamics, it can be a recipe for disaster around the holidays or other family gatherings.

Personally, that lightbulb finally went off during the fourth or fifth holiday spent at my mother's house that ended with me hysterically crying and ultimately leaving early. I need to repeat this: it took FIVE times before I finally set the boundary and decided to stop attending. It's been three years since I've spent a holiday with my mother, even though she lives a half a mile down the road from me, and guess what? I enjoy the holidays a lot more.

This may look different for you depending on your situation, it may mean having a conversation, limiting the amount of time you spend with them, or re-arranging the seating chart to give you some buffer room between you and “button pusher.” I shared my extreme example of no longer going at all because it took me years to realize that was even an option. I want you to know that it's perfectly okay to start your own traditions that include protecting yourself from unhealthy mental and emotional situations.

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Scheduling “Me” Time

I know it sounds a little crazy – you are probably already pressed for time as it is – but by scheduling specific time for your own self-care, you can actually increase your productivity levels and mood. Seriously, it's like the oxygen mask on the airplane, you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. When you are living your best life, that's when it'll overflow and you'll truly be the best version of yourself for those you care about. Instead of grinding yourself to a pulp during chaotic times, prioritize some self-care and notice if you're fuse isn't as short as it normally is.

[RELATED] How To Juggle The Demands Of Work & Home

Letting go of the idea of perfectionism

With social media making it more and more prevalent to document every milestone throughout the year, it's so easy to fall into the comparison trap. Instead of trying to get just the right back to school or holiday photo, focus on building traditions and being present. If the idea of a “perfect” photo begins to consume you or cause you even a little anxiety, challenge yourself to do an “imperfect” photo complete with bed head, no make up, and food stains on the clothes! You're more likely to look back on that bleary eyed shot with more love and laughter than the perfectly staged photo that you were probably getting into a fight over five minutes before it was snapped.

[RELATED] The Truth About Fear & Perfectionism & How To Beat Them

Stay Healthy

Resist the urge to put yourself in a food coma during gatherings. You will probably just regret it later and the sugar crash will probably just lead to increased feelings of irritability and exhaustion. Who's got time for that?! Instead try to think of your body as a furnace that you are adding fuel to throughout the day. Focus on eating a well-balanced meal (get those veggies in first) and make sure to keep up with your regular exercise routine, even during chaotic times. Even 10 minutes of exercise can get endorphins going for some people! If nothing else, the very act of exercising for even just 10 minutes, will force your body to take deep full breaths, something most of us don't do enough throughout the day, and can alleviate some anxiety.  And as always, make sure to get all those regular doctors visits in before the year is over!

Ask For Help

As a woman, I definitely have a tendency to feel the need to do it all, and I know I'm not alone. If we are all honest, I'm sure we've all told ourselves, “if I want something done right, then I just need to do it myself.” However, nothing is going to land either of us in burnout city faster than taking on that mentality. It's true, you may have to go back and fix things to your liking, but start delegating asap! Ask friends or family to help take some of the responsibilities off your plate so you have more time to focus on all of the other things and taking care of yourself.

Remember, women's health issues aren't talked about nearly enough. And while the stigma of mental health is starting to subside, we need to keep the conversation going and lean on others in times of need. Check out Hancock Regional's article on 5 women's health issues that aren't talk about enough, and know if you're struggling with any of these that you aren't alone.

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Originally published on 11/17/17

14 thoughts on “6 Ways To Practice Self Care During Chaotic Times Of The Year”

  1. That quote…. man… I need to print that and put it all over my house.

    I think I struggle with putting myself first because I feel selfish. So I’m learning to talk it through with my hubby to make sure that I’m not being selfish and that I need to say no to something…

    It happened this week – I was supposed to go stay with my parents to spend time with them but I’ve been exhausted, sick, T.O.M…. and it was my dad and my hubby that suggested I just stay home instead and get some rest (and my mom came to spend time with me instead!) and it was a great way to realize that people around me are aware of my needs but I’m not and I push myself too much all the time!

    Great blogpost!

  2. I always love your posts and this one was so great and filled with awesome tips for self care! Definitely will be using them this holiday season 🙂

  3. Yes to all of these! “Me time” is important all throughout the year, but especially during the chaotic periods!

  4. These are such important reminders. I’m lucky to have good relationships with my family, but there have definitely been rough patches where it would have been beneficial for me to keep these things in mind. Especially as we become “adults” and can make our own decisions about how to spend the holidays!

  5. these are all great tips for getting through the chaotic times of the year. back in Florida, I had to do the same with with my dad on the holiday’s. tbh, now we don’t really even celebrate anything. like I didn’t even realize Thanksgiving is next week until I tried to book a flight for mon-wed next week and the prices were SO expensive and I was like ummm what is going?! and then I realized Thanksgiving is already next week! I swear it was just summer like yesterday haha

  6. I’m working on scheduling “me time” into my day. It’s hard when you are a workaholic! I always give myself excuses like “hey, you like your work- just keep working!”. Now I’m setting aside time for lunch each day away from my computer and phone to just relax and enjoy a book. It’s a whole new concept for me!

  7. Elizabeth Johnson

    Yes, yes, yes!!! I definitely put high expectations on the holidays and to let go of perfection helps so much. Love this post!

  8. LOVE this post girl. I totally need to make sure that my tendency to make everything “perfect” doesn’t get the best of me this year. I always want my home to be so pretty and perfect for when everyone comes over that it drives me crazy. We opted to do a more casual party this year, so I think that will help me SO much. Also, me time is never a bad thing! 🙂

  9. These are really wonderful tips, and I appreciate your focus on self care over the holidays. I find “me” time helps me so much. Just having an hour to sit down and read and be quiet is very rejuvenating. Exercise also always makes me feel much better!

  10. These are great tips! I realized kind of in a panic this morning that I’m not going to have any me time until after Thanksgiving… I think I’m going to need to get better at saying no so I don’t have stretches this long again!

  11. Such a thoughtful topic, Rach. Learning those boundaries may seem hard, but truthfully, it’s better for everyone involved when they are respected. I hope your holiday season has started off calm! xo

  12. Self care is so important, and something I don’t do enough of. I think my biggest thing is learning how to ask for help.

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