Self-Care During the Holidays in 5 Ways (Out of the Kitchen)

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

Hands holding a grey cup.

Ah, December! We are getting our tree today, and I’ve already set up the mini tree in my office. As the holidays are upon us now, I want to talk about something: self-care. One of the greatest things that I learned this year was how to properly show myself self-care. So often self-care or self love is viewed as being selfish or super glamorous and expensive – such as taking full spa days, or retail therapy or other things in that category.

We tend to feel that self-care is out of our reach. I’m happy to say I’ve learned it’s definitely quite the opposite. Self-care comes in so many different forms and for me, the basic definition is showing ourself the same love and care that we show to those nearest and dearest to us. Getting enough sleep, not overworking ourselves, feeding ourselves on time, knowing when we are pushing ourselves (and stopping that), or even the simple act of saying no to an activity that we don’t want to do. Self-care is so important and is synonymous with self love. One of the things that I’ve realised is that if I’m not at my best for myself I’m not at my best to help others.

Especially during the holiday season, self-care is more important than ever. Things can get very crazy and busy, and instead of a time spent on love and holiday spirit and blessings we can get caught up feeling exhausted, resentful and unsettled. I want to help you get back to some real roots with these 5 ways that you can practice and show yourself some self-care this holiday season. I love this list because it helps to remind me too to truly enjoy the holiday season and time with our families. 2017 has been such a busy and fulfilling year for me. It’s also been a while since I took my last day off, so I plan to take almost two weeks off during the holidays. This for me, will be my ultimate gift to myself so that I can enjoy my favourite holiday and re-charge properly. If you can, give yourself a gift to really enjoy the season, too.

These 5 things are very easy to do, and are so crucial to ensuring you actually enjoy the holiday season. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas when it arrives!

Hot chocolate in a grey cup under a white christmas tree.

Self-Care During the Holidays in 5 Ways

1. Put yourself at the top of your to do list 

I reordered this whole list to ensure that this was at the top, because to me, it’s the most important. Remember, if you’re not your best for yourself, you don’t be at your best to help others and show them love. When I’m not at my best because I’m overworking, I’ve taken on too many tasks or haven’t gotten any sleep (or all three) you can guarantee that I won’t be able to help a soul. Talk about Grinch. Make yourself your #1 priority. Ensure you get your sleep, your meals in, your relaxation, your peace, first. Don’t say yes to a ton of activities, only to be miserable through them because it’s too much. It’s okay to say yes, but it’s also okay to say no.

2. Taking time to express gratitude 

This is a pretty close tie with #1. Whenever I begin to feel down, I do what Gabrielle Bernstein says and I “focus on what is thriving”. That negative loop in our minds is pretty hard to stop, but focusing on what is thriving can really pull you out of it. Whenever I stop, reflect, and thank God for all my life’s blessings, I feel SO much better. It also helps me to refocus on love and happiness, instead of on stress and mishaps. Write down a list of what you’re grateful for, and put it somewhere you’ll see often. Not just physical things, but people, qualities, intangible blessings and even experiences. Remember all those blessings will keep you light and happy and grateful.
Hands holding a cup of hot chocolate under a white christmas tree.

3. Recognise you can’t do it all – and be okay with that 

This is a lesson I’m still learning, that is so crucial for the holiday season. It’s as if when November starts, our to do lists become a mile long, and we become completely overloaded with activities. Thanksgiving this! Christmas shopping this! Holiday party here, there in between several holiday events. It can become insane. Enlist help – trust me. Be it, asking a friend to help you get your tree, or not making every single thing from scratch for your holiday party. It’s the HOLIDAYS! We all deserve to enjoy it. It’s also a great time to hang out with family and friends while they help you out, bringing you closer together and allowing you to relax, since the burden doesn’t all rest on your shoulders. Easy ways you can get help during the holiday season are:
  • Allow the store to gift wrap your gifts
  • Bake some cookies and invite over friends and family to help with decorations
  • At work – if it’s the busy season, maybe hire an assistant/VA/next-door college student/anyone who can help with the workload
  • Have a potluck instead of trying to make everything yourself for the holiday party

4. Take at least a day just for yourself 

I really think, with all the hustle and bustle, some time to breathe and be alone is crucial. This doesn’t mean locking your family members in a closet :). Instead, it’s telling everyone that you need this day to yourself. Draw yourself a bath, meditate, read your favourite book, do some yoga, go for a walk, a lunch alone, anything that allows you to just enjoy some me time and relax. I’ll definitely be doing this on one of my days off with my favourite cup of tea, some books I’ve bought, and by just lounging in the sofa by the tree. If you can’t get a full day, dedicate to even a few hours.

5. Don’t get caught up in the holiday madness. 

This! Trust me, it is so easy to fall into the madness of it all. I got so overwhelmed one of the days on our Thanksgiving trip that I skipped two meals and was pretty close to a meltdown. It was all too much at once rushing up and down with all the other thousands of people, also rushing up and down. Do your best to not lose your morning routine. You want to be in your right mind – breakfast, yoga and meditation would be that for me. Also, do your best to get holiday gifts for loved ones out of the way EARLY. This will save you so much time and effort, and allow you to enjoy Christmas Eve at home, peacefully sipping some hot cocoa by the tree.
I hope you take sometime for yourself this holiday season, and that this list really helps you out. P.S. how are you planning to practice self-care this holiday season?


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  1. Nadine says:

    Jessica, this post is so on point for the season and throughout the year. I’m placing self-care and self-love where it belongs – at the top of my list. I’d fallen into the trap of putting others and other demands before me. I’ve just been going, going, going. Lately, my depression has been trying to steamroll me and my body has been nudging me to start taking better care of my physical and mental health. I’m paying attention now and taking baby steps – yes, they have to be baby steps for now – towards my optimal health and well-being.

    I really appreciate you for sharing these practical tips. I’ve bookmarked this post because I know I’ll need the reminder, going forward. Thanks for nourishing our minds and souls in your unique way.

    Wishing you, your husband, and the rest of your family a safe, happy, healthy, and enjoyable holiday season. May your Christmas and New Year be ever merry, bright, and prosperous.

    By the way, I can imagine how gorgeous your tree is, just from that partial shot. Next time, share some tips about Christmas decorating because damn! 😀

    • Jessica says:

      Hey Nadine,

      Aww thank you so much for your heartfelt comment!! I truly hope that the holiday season is amazing for you, and that of course, you get some quality self care in. I’m really sorry to hear about your depression increasing and I truly hope you get the proper rest, help, guidance and of course, listen to your body health wise like you stated. Remember – you deserve the break!! I hope you and your family have SUCH an amazing Christmas and New Year!! Also haha thank you – I plan to share some proper pictures of the tree!

      You know I’m always here to talk!



in the kitchen everyday