Recipe for a More Resilient Holidays: 6 Self-Care Tips

By Massage Today, Editorial Staff
November 8, 2023

Recipe for a More Resilient Holidays: 6 Self-Care Tips

By Massage Today, Editorial Staff
November 8, 2023

The holiday season is one of the most beautiful times of the year with its universal massage of peace and good will to all. Paradoxically, the expectations and stress that come with it can sometimes bring a sense of dread and exhaustion that drain the holiday cheer.

With some intention and forethought, however, it’s possible to increase your mental peace and physical resilience so you can truly enjoy the holidays.

For a season at least partially focused on self-care, try this recipe for holiday resilience.

See Also: Myofascial Release as a Self-Care Tool


It’s easy to get caught in the expectation trap—those of others as well as our own. Commercials and ads continuously depict perfect families in HGTV designed homes, laden with holiday bounty and lavish gifts. Before we know it, we can get swept up depleting or exceeding our resources to meet the needs and expectations of society, clients, family, and friends at our own expense. Don’t let that happen. Instead, focus on what makes you feel fulfilled and whole.


This year, what if you decided to put you and your mental health and well-being on the top of your holiday list? What if you gave yourself permission to re-evaluate what energizes and brings you joy, then set and communicate boundaries that resulted in greater balance and meaning? If you’d like to decrease your stress and increase your resilience and joy this season, consider the following ideas. If you have a partner or children, make this a family exercise with each person making their own list and then come to a consensus that honors everyone.


Make a list of people you enjoy and for whom you’re grateful. Spend time with them in ways that generate sincere connection and mutual fun. Tell them why you’re grateful for them. According to Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., professor of psychology at UC Davis and an expert in gratitude, feeling and expressing gratitude decreases cortisol, increases endorphins and self-esteem, enhances willpower, strengthens relationships, and boosts creativity.


Make a list of all your typical holiday to-dos. Rank them in order of those that bring you joy personally, or joy in doing for others. Add in something you’d really like to do but haven’t done, like a fun activity such as ice skating or listening to your body and taking a long nap on Christmas day.


Next, list those to-dos you do solely out of obligation or habit that drain you, stress you out, or make you self-critical. Then, give yourself permission to delete those items. Yes, you read that right, delete them. One of the stresses of the holidays is not having enough time to fit everything in. By deleting the things that drain you, you reduce your stress and free up time for things you enjoy.

Focus on what and who brings you joy, or new activities you’d like to try instead. Feel the difference in your energy level. By deleting those things you don’t enjoy or delegating them to someone else who is willing to take ownership of them, two things happen: You are freed up to do something that energizes or restores you and someone else gets the satisfaction of contributing, as well as the gift to you of taking it off you plate.

If you feel pressured to the point that you feel you can’t give up any particular thing, ask yourself how can you do it in a way that’s easier or more enjoyable. Who else can you ask to help you?


Acknowledge yourself for putting yourself on the top of your holiday list! Feel the lightness and joy that comes from that level of self-love and self-care. Mindfully enjoy the time and mental space you’ve freed up to embody the principles of your beloved holiday traditions. The root of all faith practices is love and peace. What can you do to experience and share them more fully? How can you gift yourself and others the most priceless gifts of all—more love, more kindness, and more peace?

Wishing You Restorative Peace and Happy Holidays.

See Also: 4 Tips for Better Client Retention

KATHLEEN GRAMZAY, LMT is a Body/ Mind Resilience Innovator and Developer of Kinessage® Self-Care, Kinessage® Massage Through Movement, and Kinessage® Mindful Resilience. Kathleen teaches organizations and individuals to reduce stress, burnout, and muscular pain for more resilient workforces and happier, healthier people.