3 Ways To Put Yourself First During The Holidays (Because Sometimes You Just Gotta)

I feel like an adult more than ever this year because for the very first time in my post-grad life I have a Christmas tree that wasn’t purchased by my parents and doesn’t reside in either of my parents’ dwellings. While I had no idea just how much Christmas ornaments cost, not even the fact that I spent $14.99 on an 8-pack of sparkly blue plastic snowflakes can get me down because I freaking LOVE the holidays.

Between shopping for the perfect gift, hitting up all of the local holiday markets, making it to every festive event and all of the imbibings and indulging that accompanies the season, there is certainly no shortage of things to do (and eat), places to go, and people to see. While all of this in conjunction with ceaseless holiday tunes blasting through every speaker everywhere can make for some of the best of times … and some of the worst of times.

One of the biggest challenges of the holidays is being able to balance all the good cheer and festivities and spirit of giving with your own priorities.

Like, for the umpteenth time, I’ve overextended myself on my credit card for gifts that I know my loved ones will appreciate...but will also leave me scrambling come January 1st when my rent is due.

I’ve effectively filled every spare moment on my calendar with plans and get-togethers and festivities, which is delightful but also leaves zero free time for my self-care.

And despite my dedication to hitting the gym, because #health and #goals, my rubber arm can never say no to holiday mulled wine. (And I don’t even know what mulled wine is?)

While it seems contrary to the entire purpose or significance of the season, sometimes you need to put yourself first over the holidays. I’m learning this in real time. Here are X ways to put yourself first over the holidays.


1. Make Time For Yourself

It is so easy to get caught up in the festivities of the season that it’s not uncommon to spend our weekends bouncing from party to party to party. But it’s ever so important during the holidays to make sure you’re taking enough time out for yourself.

If you’re all like, yeah that sounds nice, but when? Relax, babe. I’m not talking days at a time — though if you can spare ‘em, go for it! But small snippets of self-care can go a long way in this tumultuous month.

Take a long relaxing detox bath before bed.
Schedule in an extra half hour at the end of your workout to enjoy a steam or sauna at the gym.
Do your holiday shopping solo — go at your own pace and enjoy the alone time.


2. Stick to Your Health Goals

All of my health goals typically going flying out the window the day Starbucks releases their Cranberry Bliss Bar. Between my mom’s incredible home cooking, my dad’s supply of deer and moose sausage (I’m prairie-raised, what can I say?), the bottomless bottles of red wine at every holiday party I attend, and my infamous rubber arm, it’s almost impossible to stay on top of my health and fitness goals.

Like waking up with a bad rum and eggnog-induced hangover on a weekday, letting your health and fitness goals — that you’ve worked so hard to uphold all year long — fall by the wayside for some cheap, albeit delicious, thrills never feels good.

Let me be clear, here. In no way am I suggesting that you abstain from Grandma’s shortbread. I’m simply suggesting you still make time to prioritize your health throughout the season. Even if it’s hard. Even if you’re short on time and must improvise. Even if you’re a wee bit hungover. Both your body and mind will thank you for the self-love.


3. Remind Yourself That It's Okay to Cut Out Toxic People

Unfortunately, we all tend to have those people in our life that are more soul-sucking than life-giving. Some, we’re friends with out of habit despite the fact that we’ve grown in opposite directions. Others, we’re acquainted with not by choice but by work or obligation. Regardless of the relation, if there is someone in your life dragging you down, it’s more than okay to create some distance between you for your own health and well-being.

The fact is, the longer you allow these toxic people to be in your life, the longer you will suffer personally.

If someone is behaving in a selfish, toxic, or destructive way towards you, you're totally within your rights to cut that person out of your life.

While this is never an easy thing to do, the presence of the holiday season makes it even more crucial. You should be spending your time with people you love, people who love you, and people who make you feel good.

Putting yourself first over the holidays doesn’t make you a Christmas Grinch or a holiday bah-humbug. It makes you human. Because like any other day of the week or month of the year, in order to give love and light to those around you, you must fill yourself up first.