Bryan Robinson, Ph.D., Contributor
Dec. 6, 2021
As the holiday season quickly approaches, a majority of American workers are pumping the brakes for more much-needed “me-time”—a chance to decompress.
According to a recent survey of 2,000 respondents, 61% of Americans say they would do almost anything for more “me-time.” Yet, 70% are putting “me time” on hold when life gets hectic from a variety of stressful holiday tasks such as cleaning dishes after a holiday meal (38%), wrapping presents (35%) and cooking holiday meals (34%). Activities like fitness routines (42%), feel-good hobbies (40%) and healthy diets (39%) are all likely to go on the back burner.
“We encourage taking a break before the holiday craze and spending more time reigniting your creativity, finding a new way to entertain your senses, and being more intentional with your ‘me-time,’” said Nancy Sacco, brand marketing director for WoodWick Candles. “Many wait until it’s too late, and before we know it, the ‘me-time’ activities that help rejuvenate us and keep us grounded are pushed to the back burner. We want to change that and help Americans get ahead of the burnout this year.”
Most of us have been through a lot this year—quarantined and working from home, facing ups-and-downs in the economy and the unease of political and racial unrest. Chances are, you’ve been so busy dealing with all the changes you’ve had little time to relax and enjoy this special time. It’s important not to let the pandemic steal the true meaning and joy the holidays bring. "Many Americans don't find intentional moments for themselves until it's too late and before they know it, their 'me-time' is on the back burner and their stress is too much to bear," said Lisa McCarthy, President of Home Fragrance at Newell Brands. "We want to help people get ahead of the burnout by taking time to themselves to practice activities that feel calming and rejuvenating.”
10 Ways To Make ‘Me Time’
If you’re among the 65% who finds themselves overwhelmed and less engaged at work and in their personal lives, finding moments of “me-time” during the holidays can help you reset and recharge your batteries. When pandemic restrictions cast a cloud over your sacred and fun celebrations, try these 10 tips on how to warm the chill in the air, find “me time” and keep the meaning of the season.
- Do it your way. Have the kind of holiday you want, not the kind merchandisers want you to have. One of the biggest myths about the holidays is that we have to do things the way we’ve always done them—to excess and in a hurry—throwing us into a frenzied whirlwind on top of an already hectic pandemic schedule. Tradition is part of the holiday season, but just because you’ve always done things a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t adapt it to the new normal.
- Keep it simple. Take the emphasis off grand gestures and indulge yourself in simple acts of pleasure. You don’t have to get caught up in the “There’s only X shopping days ‘til Christmas” syndrome. Retain the real meaning the beliefs have for you and your loved ones, and celebrate the season in a safe and joyous way.
- Be creative. Don’t let confined circumstances dwarf our tranquility, happiness or productivity. Celebrate the season in a way that’s meaningful to you without taking unnecessary risks. Consider painting, baking, writing or making holiday gifts that symbolize how you feel about the restrictions as a symbol of your personal power.
- Put yourself at the top of your holiday gift list. If you’re in the habit of putting your needs at the bottom of the list to meet work or personal demands, you can’t be the best version of you. Self-care prepares you to give more to others. When you put yourself first, there’s more of you to go around. So be an angel to yourself and capitalize on the isolation restrictions to be alone and self-reflect.
- Say no to requests that go against the grain of healthy protection. Keep your exercise regimen or online yoga class going throughout the season. Short walks or Microchiller meditations ( three to five minutes of mindfulness) can help you unwind and clear your head. By taking a few moments to relax each day, the holiday/pandemic stress won’t seem as overwhelming, tasks will be more manageable and you and your loved ones can avoid the holidaze and enjoy the true meaning of the holidays .
- Indulge yourself. Just soaking in a hot bath can renew your spirits. Turn your bathroom into a spa by placing scented holiday candles around the tub, playing soft seasonal music, and drawing a warm bath with essential oils or rose petals. Dim the lights, slide into the tub, sip your favorite beverage and soak away the pandemic stresses. Once finished, wrap yourself in a cotton, oversized towel. Cozy up to a fire or under a blanket with a good book and your favorite hot beverage to contemplate the meaning and significance of the month.
- Find intentional moments. When loved ones have gone to bed, indulge in a moment in front of the holiday decorations. Reflect on what the season means to you. Create a cozy, private spot especially for the holidays where you can relax undisturbed and reflect on the season. Meditate on soothing holiday music, burn scented candles or browse through greeting cards and photos of holidays past.
- Give yourself “holiday cushions.” Know where to draw the line with extra time between activities so you’re not constantly rushing, and you can enjoy the festivities without being “hustled and holidazed.” If you’re feeling pressure from friends or family members to get together, buy more gifts or cook more food, make a conscious effort to slow down. When you’re already maxed out, there are limits to how much the pandemic gets to dictate how you celebrate; it’s up to you and your loved ones to choose how you want it to be.
- Get ahead of job stress and burnout. Make sure you realize you’ve hit your breaking point long before stress-warning signs set in. Instead of pushing past them, cushion your workday to soften stress blows. Avoid putting yourself under unrealistic deadlines. Spread job tasks over reasonable time frames. Try leaving for your workstation (even if you’re working remotely) 10 or 15 minutes earlier so you won’t start your day in a hurry. Ease into your workday instead of catapulting into it. Unplug at the end of the day and set boundaries to protect your personal and private time.
- Balance your time between staying active and restorative rest. Don’t risk your health or forfeit your self-care routines. You need them now more than ever. A walk or jog around the block combined with five minutes of meditation both give you a biochemical boost. Activity raises endorphins. Quieting your mind stimulates the part of your brain that dampens the surges of adrenaline and cortisol accompanying stress.
A Final Word
“‘Me-Time’ is about making time for the things that make you happy. It’s those indulgences that make you, you,” said Sacco. “It’s not about spending money on a massage, but about what you can do every day to take care of yourself, to be your best version no matter what the world throws at you. And sometimes all it takes is curling up in your favorite warm blanket, burning a crackling candle to set the mood and your favorite tunes.”
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