Radical Self-Care for the Holidays!

Image by Flickr/Lyss Nichole

Heading into the holidays is like relationship boot camp. Your family of origin (FOO) brings out the best and the worst in you and your loved ones. The invitation to return to your FOO role as…pleaser, golden boy, scapegoat, prankster, the favorite, the youngest, the hero, the clown, or the lost child is irresistible. Years of adult lessons in detaching, letting go and mindfulness are forgotten, old wounds surface.

What would it be like to approach the holidays with radical self-care? Self-care can include physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual behaviors to maintain personal balance and well-being. People in a state of balance are more likely to have the resources to self-regulate when there are bumps in the road. During the holidays, bumps manifest in a myriad of ways: traveling with small children, traveling alone, working under time pressures, having unrealistic expectations, doing something undesirable because someone you love asked you to, increasing financial burdens, triggering emotional baggage, and so much more.

Before you show up for others during the holiday, try showing up for yourself first. Remember the oxygen mask rule on the airplane:

Oxygen and the air pressure are always being monitored. In the event of decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your own mask first, and then assist the other person. Keep your mask on until a uniformed crew member advises you to remove it.

So many metaphors and so little time! In the event of stress, conflict or a bump in the road an “oxygen mask” in the form of radical self-care will appear in front of you. What does extreme self-care look like for you? Pull self-care towards you. Caring for your mind and body begins with noticing what is going on physically. Minor ailments, chronic complaints, seemingly insignificant symptoms that are ignored can contribute to a general sense of depression or negative outlook. Tightness in your muscles may indicate stress, anxiety, poor diet or a lack of sleep. Although it may not seem like deep breathing is useful, oxygen is flowing into your body. Breathing slows things down, and that is good. Take care of yourself before you try to take care of anybody else.  When you are rested, properly fed and breathing deeply, helping others is easier. It makes sense on the airplane, and it makes sense on the ground.


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Physical Self-Care

  • Eat healthy meals, regularly
  • Exercise, Dance, Walk, Sing, Play
  • Take time off
  • Make regular medical check-ups
  • Sleep, Take breaks, Go on vacations
  • Get a massage

Psychological Self-Care

  • Journal
  • Say “no” sometimes
  • Be curious
  • Be self-reflective
  • Practice receiving
  • Be present
  • Decrease stress


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Emotional Self-Care

  • Love yourself
  • Allow yourself to cry
  • Laugh More
  • Spend time with children
  • Spend time with people
  • Connect with loved ones

Spiritual Self-Care

  • Spend time in nature
  • Connect with your community
  • Be open to not knowing
  • Practice optimism and hope
  • Seek inspiration
  • Meditate, Pray, Sing
  • Look around with awe



Transform your holiday with radical self-care. The more you take care of yourself the more you can give and receive the most valuable gifts of the season.