A Simple Self Care Checklist For The Holidays

The holiday season is officially here, and I know for many of us it can be a particularly daunting period of time. There’s parties to go to, money to spend, presents to buy, family to visit, food to eat, and drinks to drink. And that’s just the first week! 

This final stretch of the year can also be a super busy time with work, trying to meet deadlines, plus baking one million Christmas cookies, making sure there are presents under the tree for your family, and hitting the holiday party circuit. It’s a lot! 

Since this time of year is supposed to be about giving, I propose we take the opportunity to provide ourselves with a little self care. 

If self care sounds hokey to you, fear not! It doesn’t have to be about writing in your journal or taking a candle-lit bubble bath. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things – it’s all about carving out time for things that replenish you, and to each their own. 

My holiday self-care checklist is all about keeping it simple, so you’ll have the energy to focus on the things that really matter. 

1. Pick a done-by date

I like to have a done-by date early-to-mid December. This is a date I choose by which to have all of my holiday shopping done – because late December shopping is for crazy people.

Anything I can’t get done by my done-by date doesn’t get done, and I’m totally ok with that. It’s a zoo out there! Stay safe and sane and get it done early if you can. Then just sit back and sip on Pumpkin Chai Lattes and enjoy some peace and quiet. 

two pumpkin chai lattes on a grey background with ornamental pumpkins and a grey tea towel

2. Stay hydrated

At this time of year the air is drier, the food is a little saltier, and the booze is a little boozier. Ok, maybe there’s just a lot more of it on offer. Regardless, it’s a good idea to be mindful of your water intake. 

3. Get outside

No matter how tired / busy / stressed you are, getting outside even for a short walk will do wonders for your state of mind. Even if it’s just taking the dog for a walk or running some errands for a change of scenery, getting out of the house feels great – especially if you’ve been cooped up with your family all day. 

4. Take a break

You don’t have to go to every holiday open house, concert, or dinner event. Say no when it feels right to you, or when your body or mind are begging for a break. Sometimes a chill night at home with a bottle of wine, some cheap takeout, and a good series is just what the doctor ordered. 

Every year we host a holiday party for our friends, and it’s my favourite part of the season. This year, with a newborn and a construction project in the apartment, I’ve decided we need to take a break from it. We’ll come back next year better than ever, but this year we need the rest and that’s ok. 

5. Eat the things!

Holiday eating, ammiright?! I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of holiday eating survival guides lately (here’s mine: how to make peace with holiday eating) filled with helpful tips about eating a healthy snack before you hit the buffet table and choosing a smaller plate and blah blah blah. 

Screw that, I say! Eat the things! Most of the special foods we eat during the holidays are just that – special, and around for a limited time. So I say throw on those stretchy pants and enjoy!  

Hand holding a bowl of Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili with Quinoa and Whole Wheat Honey Corn Bread // www.heynutritionlady.com

6. Then eat some green things

This *is* a nutrition blog, so I have to remind you to eat some green things. Listen to your body, it’ll tell you when your cheese ball to salad ratio is getting out of whack, or when you should back away from the rum balls and go for a walk. 

Other than a few special days that are devoted mostly to beige and brown foods (stuffing, gravy, chocolate), I like to load in at least one veggie-centric meal per day *most* days during the holidays. But I’ve also made peace with holiday eating and am aware that it’s a finite and special time of year. 

So, yay for green things! Yay for being in tune with our bodies! And most yays of all for chilling the eff out about it. 

7. Catch up on sleep

Don’t forget to catch some zzz’s this holiday season! It’s a time to rest and re-load, and if you need to take a break from the party circuit and spend a day snuggled up under the duvet, then so be it. 


  1. Louise says

    Katie, what a great and timely post — thank you for that! Wishing a happy and healthy holiday season to you and yours–enjoy!

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