A Holiday Gift: 5 FREE Self-Care Challenges to Carry You Through This Week

Sometimes my clients think that self-care requires more time or money than they have to spare.   Usually, though, getting overwhelmed at fitting in self-care is a good sign that you would actually benefit from that self-care.  These past two sentences only become more true around the holidays.  Let’s remember that it does not have to be time consuming or expensive, and that it’s important.

Here are 5 challenges for you to consider this upcoming week of holiday time.  Check them off and see if you can encourage your loved ones of all ages to try them, too!

Challenge 1: Breathe in Sunlight

Next time you feel the sunshine, stop and take five deep breaths in.  Colorado is known for its sunshine, and even when it’s overcast, the sunlight is powerful.  Feel its warmth and strength.  Let it infuse you and boost your Vitamin D.  Doing this throughout your week for 5-15 minutes per day may help you with seasonal depression, inflammation, blood pressure, muscles, and brain function.  If you’re getting more than that, be sure to consider sun protection during peak hours.

Take it to the next level: Step outside for your five breaths every day outside.

Challenge 2: Silence

If you love holiday songs, this might be a true challenge.  While you drive, leave the music off and stay off the phone.  Pay attention to what you see and hear as you drive.  In doing this, you can tend to whatever arises in you.  Notice those thoughts and feelings that arise when you’re in silence.

Take it to the next level: Invite others in your car to enjoy this silence practice, too.

Challenge 3: Guiding Words

Remind yourself of how you want the holidays to feel for yourself and for those around you.  Is it about feeling flawless?  Warm?  Busy?  Relaxed?  Connected?  Energetic?  Why are those feelings so important?  Choose some words to guide your approach to this month.  Now, as an event or a thought arises and conflicts with those guiding words, just notice it.  You can step away from the guiding words or stick to them.  It’s your choice, and there’s no right or wrong.  Just remember that how you choose to approach the holidays is your choice.

Take it to the next level: Share with with someone what your guiding words are and explain why you chose them.  Let them know if there’s a way they can support your path.

Challenge 4: Nope.

Remember that self-care isn’t always about what you DO do, it’s sometimes about what you don’t do.  Simply say, “No, but thank you so much for the offer,” to an invitation to join something when you feel spread too thin or simply do not want to attend.  No excuses are needed!  Give yourself permission to feel obligated to taking care of yourself rather than meeting the social obligations.  And if you’d like, you can explain that you’re gifting yourself and/or your family with fewer commitments this season.

Take it to the next level:  Think about what you think you MUST do over the next couple weeks.  Now, cross 1-3 items off that list and give yourself permission to say NO to yourself!  

Challenge 5: Walk More.

Okay, this sounds like a sneaky one.  The others require little to no extra time, but now I’m asking you to find time to exercise?  Well, I’m asking you to move.  Start small.  Answer honestly, are you able to take a walk around the block today?  Or could you add a block to your regular walk?  Could you park ten spots farther away in the parking lot?  Could you walk through the house each time you find something that needs to be put away a few more times than you usually would?  Or, if you’re working this week, could you walk to talk with someone instead of sending an email?  Adding 5 minutes of walking a few times throughout your day has been proven to improve one’s mood, decrease one’s appetite, and lessen one’s fatigue.

Take it to the next level: Move for five minutes every hour.  Set a timer if needed, or if you like accountability, get a partner to do it, too, for your first day.

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