Self Care Sundays During the Holiday Season

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Are you taking care of YOU this holiday season? It’s important to your family that you enjoy this season while you’re trying to make it special for them. Plan regular Self Care Sundays so that you can rest and reenergize for the festivities.

Whether it’s an hour in front of the fire with a good book or a long walk on your own, consider how you can make Self Care Sundays (or another day of the week) a priority in your week.

white photo mug with a pink and orange collage of the letters LOVE on a black table top with a black background

I don’t know about you, but I can feel it already. That tug of war that happens each fall as the holidays approach. There are SO MANY fun things that I want to do with my family and friends, SO MANY regular workaday things that I need to accomplish, and NO extra time to make the two mesh seamlessly.

The holidays can feel rough with all the work, school, and home management of a regular week with lots of extra activities and running around thrown in.

It’s not that you don’t want to celebrate, it’s that you want to make it special. Special takes extra work and the days are already pretty full.

Something’s gotta give.

In the old days, aka my 30’s, I thought that what had to give was me. If only I worked harder, got up earlier, moved more quickly, I could get it all done!

Oh sweet, young mamas, I know you don’t want to hear that you’re not invincible, but [whispering] you are not invincible.

That’s why Self Care Sundays are so important, especially at the holiday season.

stack of gingerbread crinkles on a white square plate near a towel with owls on it that says Happy Owlidays.

Self Care Sundays? Okay, it’s a newish term for me, too, but it’s actually a practice I’ve long heard about and aspired to. (My Home Reset is part of it for me.)

Twenty years ago I remember a mom telling me she didn’t cook on Sundays. Say what? Nope. She cooked extra on Saturday night so she could take Sunday off.

To which I say, Amen. Hallelujah.

Now obviously, it doesn’t have to a Sunday, per se, but the idea is to set aside one day where you give yourself rest and grace. I have a feeling Self Care Sunday may have been what God was talking about with the whole don’t work on the Sabbath thing.

I’ve talked before about the importance of caring for your spouse at the holidays. I stand by that. And I think that taking care of you at the holidays is super important as well, thus Self Care Sundays!

(Or whatever day of the week you can make it happen.)

Let’s plan for Self-Care Sundays, shall we? Do you need a special self-care plan for the holidays? I think so. If you say you’re going to do it “someday”, someday will never come. Make a plan and put it in action.

Consider these ideas as you plan your next six weeks of festivities and merry-making:

1. Get physical rest.

While it’s super tempting to stay up late with friends and family over the holidays, especially on the weekend, it’s better to keep regular bedtimes and/or take a nap on your Self Care Sundays.

Make an effort to get the sleep that you need so that you can enjoy this season. If a late night is what you want, then compensate by clearing your morning’s schedule to sleep in (if the kids will let you) or take a nap.

2. Make sure you’re eating well.

This is the time of year when desserts and sweets call to us at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And dessert.

Please pass the pumpkin pie.

You and I both know that we won’t feel that great if we keep that kind of diet. 

During your Self Care Sundays, put a plan in action to keep your own nutrition at the forefront. Make a few meal prep salads. Keep a water bottle at your side. Make sure you take your vitamins.

Spend an hour or two on Sunday meal prepping. A lunchtime meal prep will not go amiss and it will set the right tone for your week to come.

Don’t let January come and see all your regrets. Treat yourself kindly now.

trees that are changing to fall colors along a deserted boulevard on a sunny day.

3. Get some exercise and fresh air.

Along the same lines, make sure you’re moving and breathing deeply. You can do this with your partner and/or the kids so you’re also getting in some family time. Or go it alone for some solitude.

You don’t have to spend hours doing this. If you don’t already have an exercise regimen that you enjoy, consider working in movement into your Self Care Sundays:

  • Rejoice in that parking space in Outer Mongolia. You have a chance to get some walking in.
  • Head to the mall an hour before it opens and take a few tours of the hallways without the crowds.
  • Download a yoga app and spend 10 to 15 minutes stretching .
  • Head outdoors for a romp in the park or a walk by the lake.

Your body will thank you. I promise.

planner with post-its, pens, and markers open on a black table, showing the weekly to do page.

4. Reduce the to-do list.

It’s okay to say NO. It’s okay to say NO. It’s okay to say NO.

Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s super tempting to go all out for the people we love, despite what our better judgement might whisper in our ears. After all, it’s the holidays.

But, at the same token, we aren’t doing anyone any favors if we run ourselves ragged. Dedicate some time on your Self Care Sundays to consider your to-do list and what you can legitimately eliminate this year.

Be okay with saying no, with reducing your Christmas baking list, with crossing off un-necessities from your to-do’s. Enough is as good as a feast.

running water into a bubble bath in a white towel bathroom, there is a loofah and a scrub brush on the tile near the faucet, the sun is shining in.

5. Treat yourself.

It’s okay to treat yourself to a few fun things. Treats don’t have to be expensive or elaborate on Self Care Sundays.

  • When you buy a bath bomb for someone else, throw an extra one in the cart for yourself.
  • Light that candle you love.
  • Indulge in that favorite holiday drink.
  • Prep a DIY Spa Gift Basket for yourself and hop in the tub.

Enjoy your favorite things on your Self Care Sundays. It’s the holidays, after all. 😉

I know from past experience that doing all kinds of lovely things for other people is a really good thing, even if they don’t acknowledge it.

I also know, practically speaking, that it’s tempting to feel bitter when it’s not reciprocated. I can curb my bitterness if I treat myself to Self Care Sundays. It’s a great way to rest and refresh for the week ahead.

text overlay on picture of Love Mug on black background.

This post was originally published November 20, 2017. It has been updated for content and clarity.

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  1. Good tips! My husband and I decided to not send Christmas cards to our cousins this year. We’re still sending them to our parents, grandmas, aunts & uncles and a few friends. (We have a lot of cousins between us so this is a big list to cross off!) I also took the easy way out and ordered the preprinted photo Christmas cards instead of including a family picture and writing in.every.single.card.

  2. Jessica, your advice is so timely, and spot on, and doable! Thank you for everything you do to make our lives more manageable, cost efficient, and pleasant, and our relationships with our people richer, deeper, and fuller. God bless you!

  3. We don’t have to do it all! For me, I enjoy hosting Thanksgiving and I’m even learning that no matter how I feel in the crunch of the last couple of hours, I always enjoy the meal and those I’m sharing it with.

    Then for December I just take it slowly. We’ve got some themed movie nights planned and we always go to the Christmas lights parade with cookies and hot cocoa. Afterwards we drive around town seeing the lights we haven’t already seen. Christmas eve is a church service and Christmas day is laid back with a snacky day.

  4. These are great concepts to keep in mind for the holidays. I’m definitely missing the empty days at the start of all this pandemic craziness, but I know I’m in the minority there. I hope to be able to keep the Christmas season less hectic this year. My main stressor is finances, it’s been a rough year. Anyway, thank you for the tips! I will be putting them to good use.

  5. Sundays have been a day of rest for me for about 20 years. After church we eat a simple lunch and put on a movie. I nap. Sometimes I read first. While I don’t make a plan to not cook, I also don’t go out of my way to feed people either.

    1. Love it! We have “fend for yourself.” Available for consumption are snacks, pre-packaged (boxed mac & cheese, ramen, frozen, etc.), leftovers, or whatever they want to fix for themselves (usually omelets).

      1. It started as cereal for breakfast, sandwiches that my oldest son liked to make for lunch, and I’ve forgotten what dinner was. Then it became fend for yourselves, but that mostly failed. I’d feel guilty fixing something for myself and not making enough for the rest of the family.