The Secret to Finding Joy Around the Holidays

While the winter holiday season can be a source of great joy and celebration for many people, for some, it can be immensely difficult. Memories of lost loved ones can often surge during this emotionally charged, nostalgic time of year, and it can be hard to cope sometimes. The best thing to do in the face of any low feelings you might be feeling around this time is to practice self care. Even so, finding the motivation to treat yourself with kindness when the rest of the world is so busy isn’t always easy. We hope we can help.

In this article, we’ll give you four tips for practicing self care around the holidays:

  • Exercise
  • Healthy sleeping habits
  • Letting yourself feel
  • Living in the moment


Most of us tend to slack on our exercise regimens around the holidays. There’s so much food around us already, so it hardly seems worth it. We can just work it off with our New Year’s resolutions, right? Well, maybe. But in the face of increased depressed feelings, we need to show ourselves the self care we would be showing ourselves during any other time we’re feeling depressed. Exercise is proven to help give you both serotonin and dopamine boosts--both of which are also found in anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications.

Make sure you’re getting a good amount of sleep around the holidays. It will help to keep you energized for all the activities you’ll be participating in.

Sleep Well

Holidays are stressful, and sometimes sad, but we shouldn’t be losing sleep over them. Set aside some protected sleep time--a certain range of times in which you’ll put away all your distractions and allow yourself some time to sleep. Cut out caffeine if you can, and definitely don’t have any after 2pm. The better you sleep, the less stress and irritability you’ll face in your waking hours.

Get in Your Feels

Especially in the face of grief, the holidays can bring up some pretty intense feelings. Even if it hurts, the best thing is actually to just let yourself feel--negative emotions and all. Don’t try to cover them up with things like food or alcohol. Those are only temporary reprieves, and your feelings will still be there when they wear off. Sometimes the best self care is just letting yourself go through the emotions.

Be Present

It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the stress that comes with trying to make sure that you and your friends and family have the best holiday season possible, but sometimes you can get so caught up in your plans that you forget to enjoy it. If you find yourself stressing about whether or not everyone else is enjoying themselves, take a moment for yourself. Try to come up with one thing that you feel good about in that moment, and let yourself dwell on it. You might find that your stress the lifts away as you allow yourself just this little bit of self care.

The holidays can be tough, but there are things you can do to make them a little easier on yourself. Even if you’re grieving, even if you’re stressed beyond belief, there are still some little things you can do to practice self care during the holidays.

For questions, partnerships, or to get covered on the GRW blog, click here.

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