5 Ways to Carve Out "Me" Time This Holiday Season

With all the shopping, cooking and entertaining that goes hand in hand with the holiday season, it can be hard to find time to relax and unwind. We’ve got five surefire tips to help you zap holiday stress and ring in a healthy, happy new year.
  1. Go holiday shopping -- for yourself.

    Photo by Thinkstock / The Nest

    You’ve made your list, checked it twice -- but somehow, you still forgot to jot your own name down. After a full week of holiday shopping for friends, in-laws and everyone in between, it doesn’t make you any less generous to take a moment to nab yourself a little something. You know, that one thing you really want, but you’re pretty sure no one got the hint about? Channel your giving spirit and go for it! Hey, what better time to make an impulse purchase than holiday deal time?

  2. Sign up for a holiday fitness promotion.

    Photo by Thinkstock / The Nest

    Gyms, yoga studios and other fitness facilities capitalize on those inevitable weight-loss resolutions to get people to sign up for classes and memberships during the holiday season -- and they offer some of their best deals of the year. Take them up on it! Then schedule one, two, three -- however many sessions you can reasonably squeeze in per week.

    Now, working out is an official part of your calendar. (“Nope, can’t make the holiday brunch this weekend. I’m signed up for Zumba at 1.”) You'll be fighting off those holiday pounds before they even have a chance to sneak on -- and you’re releasing feel-good hormones that will carry you through the mayhem (and beyond).

  3. Say “No, thank you” to at least one holiday (so-called) obligation.

    Photo by Thinkstock / The Nest

    Are you one of those people who’s easily guilt-tripped into attending each and every holiday soiree you’re invited to? Think of it this way: Is there any other time of year when you’d allow every single weekend -- and some weeknights -- to be monopolized by social events? (I know, we should all have such problems.)

    Give yourself a break: You’re not a bad friend/coworker/neighbor if you miss a holiday party (or maybe two) without a good excuse (if you feel that bad, arrange to have a gift sent over). Between the traveling, the late nights and all that eggnog, you can only take so much before that first cold of the season takes hold. Better safe than sorry.

  4. Gift wrapping: Turn a chore into some treasured alone time.

    Photo by Thinkstock / The Nest

    Forget the clumsy, desperate, paper-wadding attempt to get all your gifts wrapped and ribboned and stuffed under the tree at the eleventh hour. (“Did somebody see my scissors?!”) Instead, treat gift wrapping as a time for you -- and just you.

    Whip out a wine glass, break open that bottle of red that’s been tempting you all week and blast some music that’ll make you dance your way through a mountain of boxes and frustratingly misshapen containers that would otherwise drive you up the wall.

  5. Taking a cooking class -- all by yourself.

    Photo by Antonis Achilleos / The Nest

    Hey, you have to cook for 5 to 10 people this holiday, don’t you? Sign up for a fancy cooking class and consider it a “work-related expense.”

    There’s no one in this equation who doesn’t stand to benefit from your proactive measure. Your guests get a confident hostess who can bring some impressively delectable dishes to the holiday table. And you get a day to yourself to do something you probably wouldn’t ordinarily do.

    Plus, you get to do it guilt-free because, after all, you’re taking this class so you can make other people happy. See? You’re such a giver!