The twelve days of self care is a countdown to Christmas, which is the holiday I grew up celebrating. I wanted a topic that everyone could relate to regardless of which religion they practice. Self care was perfect. As a result, I haven’t touched on the holidays at all during the countdown. Today, I thought it’d be nice to feature a guest post on six reasons you should put self care first this holiday season. I do hope that you enjoy the post and check out the author details at the end.

Every year, as the holiday season approaches, I go into a state of panic. There’s so much to get done, a lot to buy with so few funds, and of course, there’s the anxiety of socializing with all of your family in one day. Though we can’t remove those stressors, there is something that we can do to make the holidays more enjoyable: Take care of ourselves! A little self-care can go a long way in turning your stress and anxiety into joy.

Happiness is contagious

We’ve all known people who are just so darn happy all the time that you can’t be miserable around them. Sure, at times, these people may be aggravating if you are trying to maintain your bad mood, but secretly you are grateful when they snap you out of it. A quick confession: I’m an overbearing optimist, and my husband is quite the opposite. Every now and then, he will admit that my optimism is what snapped him out of his funk. It’s something I take pride in, and I try to remind myself of that when my positive vibe doesn’t seem to be having the effect on others I would like it to.

Don’t you want to be the one to brighten someone’s day, and not drag it down with complaints and negativity? If you want to be a source of joy for others this holiday season, it all starts with you. Find your happiness by taking care of yourself, and you’ll be better suited to take care of others.

Physical Heath isn’t Selfish

I am definitely guilty of putting my health and wellness on the back burner. Many times, I have convinced myself that it just isn’t as important as making sure my family has what they need. The problem with the back burner, is that it never gets used. I mean, never. You have to make your physical health a priority. You’re not just going to magically lose weight or gain the strength and energy you need to keep up with your kids. You have to work for it.

While it may seem like taking 30 minutes out of your day to focus on your workout is selfish, it most certainly is not. You may feel like you are being silly by ordering something more complicated at a restaurant because you are trying to watch you weight (such as a hamburger without a bun) but there’s nothing silly about taking care of yourself. Sometimes others might feel intimidated by your motivation, often if they are lacking in theirs, but they know that what you are doing is a good thing and there’s no denying it. Being physically healthy and being mentally healthy go hand in hand.

Appearance Isn’t Everything, but it IS Something

For the first few months of being a mother, my appearance went down pretty low on the priority list. After a few months of avoiding the mirror and pretending not to notice that my husband wasn’t too pleased with what he saw, I finally started to focus a bit more on how I looked each day. Part of that was losing the weight I gained during my pregnancy, but the other part was just taking the time to get ready each morning.

Being a stay at home mom, it’s easy to fall into the routine of only getting ready when you have to leave the house. To be honest, even when I was working, I got to a point where I did the bare minimum to look acceptable for the day. On the days where I had a big presentation and I spent some time getting dolled-up, I always felt so much better about myself. Those were the days where I could feel that my confidence had a positive effect on those around me. Looking the way you want to is not just for those obsessed with material goods or the approval of others. We all deserve to feel good about the way we look.

Mental Clarity Increases Productivity

For most people, the holiday season is busy and stressful. It’s hard enough to get everything done, but to add a state of mental fog on top of that makes being productive much harder. It’s amazing how effective 15 minutes of meditation each morning can be in getting your day off to a good start. If meditation isn’t your thing, even just taking a few minutes in the morning to have some coffee and alone time can do the trick.

I like to start my day by creating a quick to do list and taking a moment to myself. On the days where I don’t get this down time, I often find that the day feels much more chaotic and overwhelming. If you want to get a lot accomplished before the holidays arrive, make time for yourself first. You’ll be more likely to have the motivation to tackle that long to-do list.

Don’t Lose Sight of What’s Important

Regardless of your religion or tradition, we can all agree that the holiday season is about spending time with family and friends. It’s about being generous and grateful and celebrating. Don’ let the stress of getting everything done, finding the perfect gift, or somehow making to 12 different places on one day get in the way of the true meaning behind it all.

If you are a ball of stress when the big day arrives, you won’t be contributing to the joy and happiness of others. Practicing self-care during this hectic time of year can ensure that you are present in the moment when the time comes, and not overwhelmed or anxious.

You Deserve It

I don’t care who you are, everyone deserves self-care. You deserve a long, warm shower or a relaxing bubble bath. You deserve to feel and look the way you want to. Most of all, you deserve to be happy.

All too often, we lose sight of what is important in life. It’s not accomplishing every goal or meeting every deadline. It’s not getting everything right all the time. The truth is, life itself is what is important. Living. Every. Single. Day. If you strive to just live, and be the best you that you can be in each given moment, you can be happy. You deserve to be happy.

Spread the joy this holiday season by taking care of YOU!

What do YOU do to manage stress during the holidays? Let me know if in the comments below.

About the Author
Jessica Szekalski is a stay at home mom of a little boy with a big personality. After having her son, she decided to take up blogging as a way to help other moms focus on sanity and self-care. Her blog, Sane Momma, features articles on everything from parenting and marriage, to health and wellness for moms.