We all know the importance of self care, but knowing something versus putting it into action don’t always go hand in hand. Intellectually you can know something, but…especially around the holidays, it can be easier to talk the talk than walk the walk.
When you’re in a good place, the extra stressors don’t trigger you in the same way. Things roll off your back. It’s such a nice place to be, isn’t it?
Dishes in the sink or a snarky comment from your stepkid, an email from the ex, don’t hit you as hard when you’re feeling connected to your partner, getting your workouts in, and eating nourishing food.
At least this is true for me.
Christmas can be a stressful time, and during stressful times, even though it’s tempting to let self-care go, it’s actually more important to do the opposite, and up the ante.
Did you know, on average, women are interrupted every 3 minutes and 24 seconds? Isn’t that MIND-BLOWING? So this season, I beg you, get in that alone time, stepmama.
Carve out time to be alone. A morning routine is always important, but during the holidays because even more so. Even 15 minutes in the morning to stretch, journal, or read can change the tone of your day. If morning isn’t for you, find a time that works; after the kids go to bed maybe, or sitting in your car in the afternoon with a hot latte. Challenge yourself to get time alone every day leading up to the holidays, and I promise you’ll feel more grounded.
GET THE GREENS IN
It’s so easy to say you’re too busy to eat well around the holidays. But there’s really no excuse since there are now green juices and smoothies you can easily make or purchase if your day is too slammed to make a salad.
During the holidays we eat differently, which can lead to remorse. Of course it’s fun to imbibe those extra glasses of wine or cookies (as you should!) but being sure to get your greens in too will help stabilize your mental health.
FOCUS ON YOUR MARRIAGE
Date night and quality time can be the first to go when the holiday season arrives. With so much gift-buying, errands, cleaning, and cooking to do, it can strain your relationship with your partner. Remember, date nights don’t need to be epic dinner and a movie style. Even relaxing at home and cooking a meal or watching a show can be regenerative for your connection.
Trust me, your marriage will thank you, and then you can enter the holidays like a team, instead of feeling like you’re on different planets.
TAKE A BREAK
If possible, go outside for fresh air or a walk around the block. Call someone to vent. Write a ranting page in a journal. Get a hot beverage. Then, come back calm, cool and collected.
If you feel a trigger coming on, go to the washroom and ask yourself, is the story I am telling myself here true? What is going on? Why am I feeling this way? What’s the worst that could happen?
PLAN REACTIONS AHEAD OF TIME
Chances are you know what’s going to trip you up this holiday season. Maybe it’s an interaction with the ex. Maybe the ex is running late again. Maybe it’s a comment from an in-law about you not being a biological mom. Maybe it’s when your stepkids mention what they got from their mom or or what they used to do when their family was all together.
Plan in advance how you’re going to react to these stressors ahead of time. For example, you can think, If my stepkids say something that hurts my feelings, I’ll say I’m going for a quick walk.
Or, if she’s late again, I’m going to laugh it off with my husband.
Or, if a relative asks a nosy question, I’m going to shrug and smile, then walk away.
Being proactive with your stepfamily stressors is a game changer. It prevents the emotional reactions that often lead to feelings of regret. Trust me, I’ve been in plenty of situations where I haven’t had anything planned in advance and they’ve led to me being in tears or in a fight with my husband. I get it. If it’s something that needs to be addressed, you can always circle back to it once the holidays pass.
You got this, stepmoms, and I’ll be here right beside you.