By Chris Coward, VP of Coaching for Apollo Health

Oh, that wonderful time of year!  The holidays can be joyous and fun, and it’s also the season when many of us struggle to manage things like holiday parties, home decorating, buying gifts for our loved ones, and cooking and baking up a storm. You get the picture. And I feel it emerging — the slipping of my self-care. 

Everyone has their own reasons as to why their self-care slips during the holiday season. For me, it’s a feeling of not doing enough and a feeling that there’s a right way (and a wrong way) to be with the holidays. I enjoy social gatherings, yet when there are four in one week, I start not having as much fun attending them. I enjoy giving thoughtful gifts to those I love but don’t enjoy feeling the self-imposed pressure of tracking my list of people to make sure I haven’t forgotten anyone. Since this is something I wrestle with, I have found numerous ways to support my self-care that I’ll share with you below, and they happen to line up nicely with the Bredesen Seven (B7)

1. Nutrition:  Instead of letting healthy eating go by the wayside, I stick with a close version of KetoFLEX 12/3. I love our KetoFLEX-approved recipes for holiday meals, and if there’s something nostalgic for me, I either create a healthy swap or mindfully indulge, knowing it’s only once a year. 

2. Exercise:  I’ve found that getting outside even more than usual during the holidays works wonders for my mental health. My dog loves our longer-than-usual walks!

3. Sleep:  It’s easy to forgo sleeping enough when it feels like there is always more to do. Following optimal sleep hygiene helps even though there will always be a few nights in the week when my Fitbit tells me I came up short. For tips and techniques, see the guide for PreCODE and ReCODE members, “The Critical Role of Sleep.”

4. Stress Management:  Everyone’s schedule is different, but I have learned to be intentional during the holidays to find time to destress. If I am not finding the time, it’s a signal that something must come off my schedule. Meditation, writing, and connecting with friends and family over the phone are helpful to me. And, of course, exercising. Grief often comes up for many of us during the holidays, and I’ve learned to embrace it and not push it away. The emergence of grief at strange times doesn’t have to make sense. I’ve found that a good cry or sharing a childhood memory with my siblings (sometimes at the same time) feels healing. 

The rest of the B7 (Brain stimulation, Detox, and Supplementation) can also be supportive self-care elements through the holidays, but I won’t cover those in this article.

In addition, Julie Gregory has written a beautiful blog post on gratitude, and we know that gratitude is a great way to shift to increased positivity.

I’ll leave you with a few coaching questions as you consider your strengths and challenges in how you address your self-care over the holidays:

● What aspects of the holidays bring you happiness or joy?

● What is one act of self-care you can take on this holiday season?

● If you are caring for a loved one, how can you create a break for yourself, leaning into the support of others?

● What and to whom are you grateful?

Wishing you a holiday season of intentional self-care!

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