Written by Meg Metzger

Ahh the holiday frenzy is officially upon us. Whether you’re a prepared, gift-giving wizard or a last-minute present procrastinator, we all tend to feel pressured to give the perfect gifts every year. Sometimes (okay, a lot of times) this holiday pressure gets coupled with stress. Whether it’s financial stress, health stress, or stress from complicated family dynamics, it can be a lot to handle and it’s important to create a healthy balance between it all.

In past holiday seasons, you’ve probably devoted all of your time and energy to those you love, but this season don’t forget to include a very important person on your gift list- YOU!

Give yourself the gift of calm this year, for mind, body and spirit. By creating space for yourself, you will ultimately have more love and energy to dedicate to others without feeling burnt out. The practice of creating space, or “replenishing your cup,” may look different for everyone but the outcome is similar.

Here are some examples of ways to cultivate more peace, intentionality, and balance this holiday season.

First, Make Quiet Time

Make it a priority to slow down and invite stillness into your space. For those who have adopted the do-it-all-right-now mindset, it’s especially important to press the pause button on the busyness of life and get really present.

This is a great time to develop or deepen your mindfulness practice. You will be surprised at how much more you are able to take on when you slow your pace. By doing so, you will feel rested and recharged so that you can show up with more intention in your life.

Second, Fill Your Cup with Joy

Life can feel so heavy these days, particularly with the COVID chaos. When joy presents itself, be open to it. Better yet- create it!

Think back to what used to bring you joy as a child. Think carefree and screen-free. Activities such as sports and outdoor activities, board games, dancing, arts and crafts, or cooking can help free your mind of that stress about all those to-do’s.

The point is to focus first on what brings you joy, so you can be better mentally-prepared to stay in the moment for those you care about, throughout the holiday season.

Third, Reprioritize Your Well-Being

We all inherently know that rest and play are the best things for us, but our minds push back with, “but you should be doing XYZ!” We place more value on our productivity than our self-care and mental well-being.

Ask yourself, what do I want and need today? Answer honestly and reward yourself with action. When you fulfill your own needs, you can show up more organically for those that mean the most to you.

Most Important, Be Your Own Gate Keeper

Advocate for yourself and don’t be afraid to say no. Overextension only leads to exhaustion and resentment. When someone asks a favor of you, take some time to check-in not only with your schedule, but your mental energy level and capacity. If it’s not something you can take on without feeling depleted, respectfully decline. After all, we can’t pour from an empty cup.

In order for you to show up fully and authentically as your true self this holiday season, you need to actively strive for a healthy, realistic balance between giving and receiving. You can achieve this by slowing down, creating space, seeking joy, and setting boundaries.

Take the time to check-in with yourself and prioritize your own needs. By doing so, you will be giving the greatest gift to your loved ones- a healthy, happy you!