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6 Ways to Prioritize Self-Care During the Holidays

Holiday baking, shopping, decorating … there are a million things that you may prioritize over health and self-care during the holidays. It's time to move yourself to the top of your to-do list.

Why is self-care important? Because regular self-care, over time, helps you stay healthier and happier, and reduces your risks of illness and injury in the long term. And it doesn't have to involve lots of big changes, either: Here are 6 easy ways you can prioritize self-care during the holidays.

1. Know your limits.

Avoid setting unrealistic expectations only to produce extra holiday stress and hurt your physical and mental health. If throwing a big shindig has become overwhelming, this may be the year to let someone else host the parties or do the shopping.

2. Learn to say no.

There's an endless flow of invitations during the holiday season, but there's simply never enough time! It's OK to set boundaries and politely decline some of those party invites. Explanations aren't necessary: Simply let the event host know that you are touched by the invitation but are unable to attend.

3. Schedule your down time first.

Set aside "me time" for when you need it most. This can be small daily breaks, longer weekly time slots, or even a day of self-care. Make a care plan that includes time for physical activity, adequate hours of sleep and spending time on hobbies that reduce stress and bring you joy. Once that's set, you can fill in the rest of your schedule.

4. Make self-care a habit.

Practicing self-care is not a one-off proposition. It's important to establish a regular self-care routine so your physical and emotional health remain your top priority. Choose self-care times that make the most sense with your lifestyle. For example, take a short walk on your lunch breaks or meditate quietly 5 minutes before starting the day.

5. Let small self-care activities add up.

Self-care doesn't need to be difficult or time-consuming. Just build in small acts of kindness for yourself throughout the day: eat healthy foods for at least one meal a day; get up from your desk for a few minutes every hour; decompress with a new book before bedtime. These are opportunities to reset your stress level with a little self-care that eventually adds up.

6. Don't overlook the value of a primary care provider.

A primary care doctor is not just a care provider you run to when you're already sick. Your primary care provider (PCP) can help you be proactive about your health. They'll listen to your concerns and health goals and give you a plan to engage in self-care practices that will move you toward those goals. In addition, the holidays are peak time for colds and flu. By having a partner in health, you can have easy access to virtual visits and direct messaging in case you do become sick.

ABOUT PRIMARY CARE
A BJC primary care provider is your partner in health. Your primary care team is here to handle routine health needs and treat illnesses, injuries and chronic conditions. A primary care provider can help you reach your wellness goals. Learn more.

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