It’s the season of giving—ensure you include yourself!

Self-care is important to practice all year long, but it can be especially beneficial during the hectic holiday season. 

The end of year is a popular time for people to give their time and talents—to friends, family, and fellow community members. This busy season can also be a time that self-care practices take a back seat. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

What is self-care?

“Self-care” is a term that can mean many things. Oxford Languages defines it as, “The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own wellbeing and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. The World Health Organization considers the broad concept of self-care to include:

  • Hygiene
  • Nutrition
  • Lifestyle (exercise, leisure, etc.)
  • Environmental factors (social habits, etc.)
  • Socioeconomic  factor (income, cultural beliefs, etc.)
  • Self-medication

Alexa Lautenbach, the wellbeing administrative coordinator at George Wellbeing provides a bit more context into the idea of self-care. “Self-care goes beyond quick fixes. It promotes your physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing. It takes practice, and should be integrated in daily life.”

Some examples of self-care activities include:

  • Visiting a healthcare provider
  • Receiving a wellbeing therapy
  • Meditating
  • Moving your body
  • Making a nutritious snack or meal

Self-care is important all year long

For some people, making time to focus on themselves is challenging—especially at the end of the year. However, there are many benefits to developing an ongoing self-care practice. One timely example is that self-care can help you to be more present, connect with others, and be better prepared to give and receive.

Alexa elaborates that regular self-care practice can help to prevent burnout, provide a sense of accomplishment, and empower you to be more in control of your health and wellbeing. She acknowledges that the “practice” is where the effort is. “Self-care isn’t something you do once and are done. It requires you to sustain a practice so that you can grow.”

How to make time for self-care

Self-care can happen in small doses—even in just a few minutes. In fact, you might even strive to integrate self-care throughout the day by finding moments you can be present with sensations.

Alexa suggests creating an intentional sense of routine at a specific time, or on a certain day during the week when you can set aside time to connect with yourself and step away from the constant barrage of external feedback in today’s world. A consistent routine helps to make self-care practices more sustainable. For example, you might:

  • Create a daily practice like prayer, meditation, mindful movement or breath work
  • Practice a regular body scan
  • Journal at lunch
  • Cook a favorite recipe 
  • Spend time in nature connecting to the sights and sounds
  • Find ways to be creative through music, writing, painting, crafting or dancing

“Self-care doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It should be something that feels good, and that you can enjoy,” she says. Although the label “self-care” implies it’s something you need to do alone, it’s important to know when to ask for help in your self-care efforts. Alexa suggests working with others to support your self-care—whether that’s a coach, mentor or therapy provider.

Ready to get started?

George Wellbeing is a resource to help you develop or deepen your self-care practice. Services include health and wellbeing coaching, massage, nutrition coaching, meditation and more. Additionally, group acupuncture is available at the Midway and Blaisdell Y locations.