The holidays can be a challenging time for any family member. Not everyone feels as jolly or merry as they think they need to be and the pressure to be cheery can weigh heavily on a person.

Additionally, visits from relatives and friends and travels can be stressful and tiring, especially after a long year. Here are a few tips for caring for yourself and your loved ones during the holidays.

1. Start with the basics!

Eat enough healthy food and drink enough water. Get enough sleep! Burning the candle at both ends sounds like a fabulous idea, but really you aren’t doing yourself or your loved ones any favours.

2. Move your body!

A walk around the neighbourhood or some beach bats before a swim can be enough to keep your body’s metabolism fired up and help you feel invigorated and strong. Of course, a hike, a game of tennis or an enthusiastic family football match are also a great idea.

3. Experience, rather than expense.

The thought of the rands running out of your bank account, or even worse, the debt mounting on your credit card, can easily leave you feeling bleak. Keep it tight and focus on making memories, rather than mountains of wrapping paper. Bring and share, Secret Santa and games rather than gifts are all great ways to keep connections alive without the overdraft.

4. Include everyone!

When you are stretched, it’s sometimes hard to remember Aunt Ann or even that neighbour down the road, whose family has emigrated, but reaching out will make you remember the true meaning of the holidays. Imagine the conversations you can have! New traditions being created are almost as important as the long standing ones. And don’t forget our little ones and our older folk, everyone wants to be involved, right from the beginning, so call in help to make the meringue, roll the dough, light the fire. Inclusion is the most precious gifts.

5. Quiet time too…

Be sure to make some time to sit quietly and reflect. Help others to have this time too and hold space for those that are too young or not able to do it for themselves. Sometimes it’s OK just to have no plans and sit quietly together, or alone.

These most certainly aren’t all the tips for the holidays but it’s a start, to get you thinking and remembering everything you’ve made great this year and thinking towards next year too.

Happy Holidays everyone!