The holiday season is upon us. The “most wonderful time of the year?” Or the most stressful time of the year? Buying gifts, family gatherings, overconsumption of holiday foods and sugary desserts, finding parking anywhere, going to holiday parties, hosting holiday parties, financial burdens, traveling, lack of time. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a very large percent of people in the United States chose to skip the holidays rather than deal with the stress. And that hasn’t changed much today. But it doesn’t have to be distressful. To help keep your balance and enjoy the season, we’ve shared some self-care tips below:

Set an Intention and Be Realistic. Set an intention of how you want to enjoy the season. Who do you want to spend time with? How do you want to feel? Intentions can help you stay focused on things that matter most to you.

Check in with yourself. For example, based on classes from the Tamarkoz method of meditation, ask yourself how you feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Acknowledge your emotions and understand what is stressing you out. Choose carefully what is feasible and realistic for you to do. Try not to overexert yourself.

Set a Budget and Respect it. Plan according to what you are comfortable with spending for the holidays. We all want to be generous with loved ones. But we don’t want to fall into debt to spread holiday cheer. Create a budgeting system to keep track of your holiday expenses and stick to the budget you planned on.

Thoughtful gifts do not need to be materialistic. For example, homemade gifts, baked goodies, or an organized day trip to a town or attraction can genuinely be joyful for people. Consider zero-waste gifts that are non-materialistic such as donating time or money to a charity you care about with your loved ones. If your loved ones are art-enthusiasts, consider an art, pottery, photography, or drawing class for them. Or tickets to the local cinema for a featured film they are interested in. Or better yet, gift the Tamarkoz app for health and wellbeing.

Let Go… Try to let go of family drama. Put aside differences to enjoy your time. Allow yourself to enjoy meaningful experiences and memorable moments. No need to strive for the ideology of perfection. It’s okay to let go of expectations and authentically accept “good enough.”

Make a Holiday Gratitude List. Every night before sleeping, make a list of experiences in your day you are grateful for. Include all the things in your life that you feel appreciation towards. Spend time acknowledging what is going well in your life and celebrate it. Write it down. There is so much science behind the many health benefits of gratitude, including improved sleep quality, mental health, physical health and emotional health.

Say, “No.” Give yourself permission to not do everything. It’s okay if you decide not to buy something for an old friend or cannot attend every event. Make time for yourself between all the holiday work or school functions, traveling, family gatherings, and gift exchanges.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle Most of the Time (with room to indulge). Try not to get too off-track from your healthy lifestyle routine. It’s okay to indulge, but just watch your portion sizes. Too much sugar, fat, or salt can affect mood, energy, and your motivation.

Pause for Yourself. You may think you’re too busy to take time for yourself. But this is when you may need it the most. Try not to lose sight of who you are. Take time to stay centered and replenish your energy. Stay calm during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Our tips are below on how to pause for yourself to help improve mental and emotional well-being:

  1. Tamarkoz meditation. Deep breathing techniques from the Tamarkoz method of meditation calms the mind, relaxes the nervous system, provides clarity, calms the heart, and rejuvenates the body’s energy centers. Balance the flow of energy in your body with Movazeneh. You’ll notice the effect it has on your whole being. Connect with your stable, balanced, true self through heart-focused Tamarkoz.
  2. Take a moment for self-reflection.
  3. Go for a walk outside for some fresh air. If you are short on time, just 10 minutes can be impactful.
  4. Smile…even if you do not want to. Try it now and you’ll notice it immediately lifts your mood. Studies show smiling improves brain health, reduces emotional reactivity, and increases feelings of calm. Plus, smiling takes less muscle strength and energy than frowning.

Remember that this season is considered one of the most wonderful times of the year. So let go of expectations. Try not to overexert yourself. Check in and take care of yourself.

We wish you all hope, wonder, love, peace, and joy this season!

Seasons’ greetings from our family at the MTO Tamarkoz App, to yours.

Enjoy the Holidays!