The holiday season is here! End-of-the-year is approaching, and it's time to wrap the year up.

You've made it through all (almost!) the curveballs that 2022 has thrown at you and you're almost at the finish line.

The holidays is indeed a merry time of the year; catching up family and friends, enjoying hearty dinners, and looking back at the memories you've made together for the past year. But it can also be a very stressful and manic time of the year as well, with the whirlwind of gift-giving and countless social gatherings to attend.

closeup photo of baubles on christmas tree

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

If you manage to find some pockets of quiet and alone time during the holiday period, take the chance to recharge your batteries and replenish your energy after the long year you've had.

How can you go about spending quiet time meaningfully during the festive season? Is there a way you can find time to spend on your holiday break amongst all the holiday cheer and celebrations to truly improve your health and your mood, help your productivity levels, and send you into 2023 raring to go?

Put the "me" back into "merry" and take care of yourself this holiday season and disrupt your usual routine with these self-care ideas.

1. Distance yourself from work

Maintaining work-life balance is crucial for your mental health. And what better opportunity is there than to take the holidays to fully unplug and refrain from even being on stand-by for work related matters?

Yes, completely shutting down all contact with work for seven days may not always be the most practical for entrepreneurs or small business owners. Instead of bringing you some peace and calm, this could backfire and lead to you having a miserable week filled with worry about what's going on while you're out of touch, or being bombarded with a workload that you struggle to handle when you get back to the office.

selective focus photography of person using smartphone

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

During the holiday period, stick to a work diet that allows you to breathe. This is up to you and your comfort levels. It could mean checking your email first thing in the morning, and then not looking at your notifications for the rest of the day. It could also be choosing to spend just an hour each afternoon to check in and work on urgent projects, and not heading back to your desk for the rest of the day.

But it most definitely should not be you making yourself available around the clock, all day and at any time. While some days can be hectic and would require for you to be fully present and available at work, it can also deprive you of the distance and mental relaxation you need to be able to function in other spheres of your life if you do not find a balance.

Consider creating an autoresponder that replies with an email stating when you’ll be back in to work so your colleagues are not left hanging, but don’t feel obliged to work through the holiday.

You deserve a break.

2. Share the "holiday work"

When you have commitments in your life; personal, family, friends, or even work, the last thing you would want to do is to be responsible for holiday “work" that you cannot handle alone. This could include re-decorating the house, buying and wrapping gifts for your family, cooking the annual Christmas dinner, sending out post-cards, and so on.

During this hectic period, don't be afraid to reach out for help. Consider asking friends or family members if they would like to share in the annual dinner cooking perhaps, to ease some of your stresses. Suggest a potluck so that you don’t have to spend the entire day cooking for Christmas dinner. Phone a friend who wraps gifts a lot faster than you to lend you a helping hand for a couple of hours.

two woman standing beside woman sitting in front of table

Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

More than easing your workload, sharing the holidays with others can lighten your overall load; mental and emotional. You can look forward to spending time with the people you love while soaking in the holiday atmosphere.

3. Make your own Christmas Cards for your loved ones

What better way is there express your love and gratitude than through a handmade greeting card?

Photo by Tanya Trukyr / Unsplash

In the hurry and chaos of holiday preparations, it is highly likely that we purchase Christmas cards for our loved ones. While this works, find time and do your very best to try something different this year and pour your heart into heartfelt, hand-made Christmas cards this year.

Hand-made greeting cards have a spark of their own. They are leaps and bounds better at conveying genuine feelings and gratitude. Text messages or printed cards may not relay what you truly feel. With handmade ones, you can customize the notes, colors, patterns, and everything else to your liking and your loved ones' liking as well. Moreover, engaging in a fun art-making activity of this sort allows you some time with yourself and your own creative space. In the quiet of making these cards, you can get in tune with yourself and find some peace.

A hand-made card can serve as a powerful reminder of your genuine relationship with them. You refresh your loved ones' memory of you, every time they open up to read your card!

4. Cook a holiday recipe that you've never tried

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina / Unsplash

Trying (and the pressure to succeed) at cooking a holiday meal can feel daunting enough. And this causes most of us to stick to the recipes we know and not try something out of our comfort zones.

But if there were ever a time to shake things up, it should be now! Pull a recipe out that you've always wanted to have a go at, but have been apprehensive about or haven't had the time to try. Break the routine of making your usual meals, and prepare something that can truly blow your family and guests away this year.

Taking such risks, or challenging yourself past your comfort zone, can change you fundamentally. It makes you braver and more confident. Trying your hand at a complicated recipe can reflect and prove that you do indeed have what it takes to make a decision, commit, and go through with it with your best effort. You build faith in yourself knowing you have done it before and can do it again. And before you know it, you will be whipping up more recipes and tasty meals!

Open up Journey to take notes and jot down your recipes anywhere, anytime.
Open up Journey to take notes and jot down your recipes anywhere, anytime.

Start collecting your holiday recipes as early as possible, and give 1 or 2 a go this holiday season. And there is no better place to collate these than on Journey journal app. If you're on the move, Journey's cloud sync feature allows you to open up your journal and take note of recipes from the web or shared with you by your friends from anywhere, anytime. You need not worry about not being able to create journal entries from different places or devices whenever you need to quickly take notes.

5. Set or re-set your priorities for 2023

While you're neck deep in holiday preparations and looking back at how 2022 unfolded for you, spend some time reflecting on the plans you have for, and how you want the coming year to materialize for you as well.

Reflect upon what went right the past year, and what lessons you want to carry forward into the brand new year. You could even spend some time jotting down some new year resolutions, or taking note of major life milestones that you would have to maneuver next year.

If you need a space to jot down your thoughts, reflections, or even start to slowly plan your time and possible schedule for the following year, you could consider using Journey's Eisenhower Matrix to help you decide on and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance, sorting out less urgent and important tasks which you should either delegate or not do at all.

Journey's Eisenhower Matrix template that can help you decide on and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance.
Journey's Eisenhower Matrix template that can help you decide on and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance.

Use Journey PDF planner like the Eisenhower Matrix to do some preliminary planning for 2023, and move into more detailed planning when you dive into the new year. You can then use tasks lists, priority lists, daily/weekly/monthly calendars to iron out your schedule better.

Use Journey's priority list to list and iron out tasks that need to be completed.
Use Journey PDF planner's priority list to list and iron out tasks that need to be completed.

6. Spend Quality Time with your Loved Ones

If you don't have a way around spending some time on work during the holidays, make sure to designate a little time to spend with your loved ones. You could schedule and commit to having a meal with them, or you could work from your relatives' place for a change so that you're around them. You do not have to pressure yourself to spend all of your time during the holidays with family and friends, but you can most definitely make the effort and be intentional about spending time with the people love.

three people having a toast on table

Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

During holiday get-togethers, engage in meaningful conversations, exchange gifts, update each other on where life has taken you the past few months, and enjoy the company of your tribe. Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people will have positive effects on your perspective on life and happiness levels. Give your family the gift of your time, and in turn feel fulfilled as well.

Take steps to decrease your stress levels and do something different than your normal routine this season. Disrupting a mundane, or repeated routine could bring about fresh perspective and give you a little nudge in the right direction for the last leg of the year.

Connect more with people and your surroundings and less with technology. Do things you are unable to do or feel rushed during your normal hectic, working period.

Take advantage of the holiday lull, and allow yourself to take a break!

Happy Holidays!