Stress-free(ish) Holiday Season

10 Tips for Staying Happy and Stress-free(ish) during the Holiday Season

Welcome to New Year time! Don’t we all wish we could create parties, see loved ones, take a week off to the sunshine, at any time of year? Whether it’s Holiday season or not, we know that self-care makes the day go round. Here’s a little something from me to you, a few tips that help me get through the parenting and (daily-life) jungle.

  1. Meet the rainbow of colorful food. Consume more fruits and vegetables by creating more vibrant and tasty holiday dishes filled with minimally processed ingredients. You’ll feel good in your body and about what you are eating at the same time. Pregnant or nursing or chasing a toddler, we all know we have to feel well to get through the day. Don’t be shy to ask your guests to make something more healthful than usual for a potluck. If you’re struggling to get creative, ask a friend to come and help you gather new recipes and chop veggies. When we follow the rainbow, our body and mind thank us.

  2. Make water your friend. Hydrate. Carry your own spill free cup with you, everywhere. Nourishing yourself with water, decaf herbal tea, smoothies, and even a homemade warm cocoa with your choice of milk, will make you a more regular gal, and a happier gal! Your skin will love you, too. Don’t we all know it’s far too convenient to run for an unhealthy snack when we could be reaching for a warm, nourishing sugar free beverage. Watery snack foods like apples, oranges, melon, or smoothies are great choices, too. Make at least three servings of each snack or wholesome meal, and have it in the fridge in single serving containers for the week.

  3. Forgive yourself. It’s not easy being on this planet all the time. Or being a parent. People disappoint. Children spill. The hot water runs out. Sleep is lost, night after night. If you’ve yelled, said things you didn’t mean, have forgotten to meet the rainbow or made water your friend, give yourself a hug, and make a cup of tea. Get back into the moment. Yes, it was awful, you lost it. But here, and now, you can gather the guts to start again, and get on with it with more self love. Talk yourself back up as if you were your best friend, and keep onward.

  4. Ask for help. Who is your village? Who is helping to clean, to make a treat, for you, and not just for your kid? Who will watch your child while you work or bathe or take a walk or go to therapy. Who do you trust? Jot down your needs and start spreading the word. Bring on the village. P.S. Ask your partner (if you have one), for help. It looks like this: I would really like it if you…; If you could do this, I’ll do this…; Could we tackle this together before the day is done?…; I love you, thanks for helping me….

  5. Get moving. Jump into an indoor pool. Take a long, sweet hike without looking at your phone. Attend a dance or spin class. Sweat it, or shake it out, however feels good. Your body may feel different these days, and it (and your pumping heart) needs you to schedule weekly workouts, and to take that flight of stairs instead of the elevator. Turn on some high vibe music and dance with your child. Watch him light up. Just get moving.

  6. Sleep. See that baby sleeping? Get under a heavy blanket and let the daily grind go. Ask your mind to take a break. Thank it for reminding you of the million things you have to do in each moment, and then thank it for letting you reset and recover for just this one hour. If you’re not going to fall asleep, try and lay down without the screen and be in rest/reset mode, however you can. Be gentle. We’ve created big habits around multitasking and being energizer bunnies 24/7. Let’s break this habit, together.

  7. Rearrange your home or a room or an area of a room. Disorganization, clutter, bad energy getting you down? Store it, move it, replace it, cover it, exchange it, get rid of it. Tis the season to be jolly, they say. When you walk into your home, what makes your heart sing? What doesn’t? What needs to shift? Make changes however works for you, super quick within an hour, or with a short term blueprint. You know how you work.

  8. Make to-do lists. Make them detailed and get to them when you can each day. If helpful, set due dates and timelines for the week. Celebrate when you get something done. And, remember children can be little helpers too. Show them how to vacuum, mop, wipe surfaces, and fold the clothes. You’ll smile more. Don’t forget to celebrate.

  9. ​Receive pleasure. Get a foot rub, a massage, a mani-pedi. Take a hot bath with salts and roses or your favorite oils. Ask your friends to write you a love note and tell you 3 things they adore about you. Better: write yourself a love note. Tell yourself 10 things you are proud of, about you! This holiday season, be a queen. Wear that thing that makes you breathe easier and feel shiny.

  10. ​Lastly, be true to yourself . If others are saying mean and inappropriate things, remember they are struggling and in pain, and lack the emotional intelligence to approach people and life in healthful, loving ways. Remember, you’re a parent now, your child chose you, and you have a sweet gift of raising him emotionally intelligent, kind, and loving. So be easy on you, and be true. Be present to your child, and most importantly to you and your needs as a parent.

Erica Shane is a single mom to a 17mo old boy, a long time childbirth professional, and a woman with stories to tell. She’s lived and worked with new parents around the globe, and currently lives in Lancaster PA closer to her immediate family. Erica works closely with Birth Day Presence, NYC’s most trusted and long standing platform for doulas (she’ll find you a rad doula) and childbirth education. She has a passion for guiding new moms to find themselves amidst the chaos, and to gather self-care practices that bring healing and love back where it belongs.

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