3 Simple Ways To REALLY Take Care of Yourself This Holiday Season
With the end of the calendar year fast approaching, it can feel overwhelming to think about everything you need to get done – both at work and at home.
Family obligations, final reports, year-end fundraising initiatives… Sometimes, it can feel like everyone around you is enjoying a cozy season, while you're busy warding off near-constant anxiety.
Holiday Self-Care Includes Saying “No.”
Take stock of what's on your plate this holiday season. Make a list of all the projects, deadlines, volunteer tasks, parties, gifts to shop for, dates to plan, etc.
Now go through with a highlighter and mark the ones you're actually looking forward to. Don't take your time, and don't overthink it – we're encouraging those kneejerk reactions!
Why? Because humans are really, really good at guilting ourselves into saying "yes" to far more than we want to. This generally winds up also being more than we have the energy for.
Before you think about what you have to do, think about what you want to do. Be honest with yourself and try to withhold judgment.
It's okay if you don't feel excited about a particular holiday party, or the over-gifting your extended family members are fond of. It's been another tough year, and even in the best of times, our mental health and ability to be at our best depends on our willingness to prioritize the things that energize us…
And say no to the things that don't.
Incorporate and Protect Your Routines
Incorporate grounding, centering rituals throughout your day – and guard them fiercely.
Maybe you step out of the office every day at noon and read a novel in the park across the street for an hour while you eat your lunch. Maybe 2pm is your daily gym hour, or you set aside 25 minutes in the afternoon for a cup of tea and some quiet reflection.
These small rituals are easy to daydream about – sometimes even easy to make happen once or a few times. But just as important as defining them is making sure they happen.
There will be a million different reasons every day for you to cast aside the ritual you've laid out and tend to something else. But prioritizing real, long-term self-care means structuring the majority of your days around the things that keep you well and healthy – not the other way around.
Get Some Fresh Air
You've heard it before, but we'll say it again: one of the best ways to clear your head and keep your stress levels under control is to get outside and into the fresh air.
Getting outside a couple of times every day, away from your computer and your ringing office phone, into the fresh air with the sounds of birds, wind, or even the background noise of the city (where no one's asking for your attention!).
Any one of these will be enough to disrupt your stress and help you regain perspective.
For more great self-care tips and other resources for nonprofit leaders, become a member of NPO Centric!