Self Care During The Holidays – Creating space to enjoy.

We are here… Holiday Season!! ✨


The holidays are meant to be a joyful time. A time of celebration, good food, family & friends.


Many people have special holiday traditions they love this time of year… perhaps it’s getting away for a while or simply enjoying a cup of hot chocolate while out in the snow.


We need to also recognize that this time of year can often come with its own set of stressors. The shopping, the hustle and bustle, financial pressure, time pressure, and even family pressure.


This additional pressure and stress – isn’t so great for both our mental or cardiac health! Both of which potentially increase our risk of a cardiac event.


So…To be our best (and healthiest) selves during the holiday season…  so we can soak up all the positives around us, it is important to make sure we are taking a little extra time for self care.


What do I mean? I’ll explain.


1) Set your expectations: 


Do you envision your holiday season to be straight out of a warm and fuzzy holiday movie?


Perhaps you see your home decorated beautifully, all the meals and wonderful holiday treats prepared, the gifts lighting up your loved ones faces.


The outings you will have, the party you will throw, how everyone will get along and be one big beautiful moment.


It’s easy to get drawn into wanting to create the perfect holiday time. You have the best intentions, however, our hearts are often bigger than we think.


We set off full steam ahead to bring our vision to life, and then before you know it you are frazzled, stressed, and disappointed because it didn’t turn out the way you hoped.


That’s no fun!


By setting realistic expectations for yourself right from the start you are taking the pressure off, and creating space for you to actually ENJOY and be present. – Which is the most important piece of all.


Set expectations for your time, your finances as well as understanding what you can actually control. The weather, other people – all are taken off of your mental plate.


2) Plan 


I know… who likes planning?!! As much as going with the flow is lovely…. Planning during this time really helps.


Once you have your expectations in check – you can set your priorities for the most important elements for you. And then plan around it.


✨ Plan your time:


Shopping:  It’s easier to do shorter trips than running yourself into the ground trying to get it all done at once. – Look at the timing of when it works best for you as well as perhaps when the stores might be a little calmer.


Cooking & Decorating: Taking care to enjoy the moments – put on music and set the environment to be relaxing and go with the flow.


Personal Health: Plan it in!


Exercise: We know how much exercise helps manage stress & look after your heart – so don’t leave it out. Look at your week – when does it work for you.

Relax time: What are things you love to do – hot bath, read, crossword puzzles, knit. Make yourself a cup of tea, grab a cozy blanket and enjoy your down time.

Meditation & Journaling: if you have a self care practice like this… keep it up. It is so valuable in these times to keep centered and approach your days with a good mindset.


Social outings: When are they happening, what are your priorities. Remembering those expectations – remembering it’s OK to say no. – Listen to yourself. “I should go, but I don’t really want to” – give yourself permission to let go.


3) Give yourself a little extra:


The holidays can be an emotional time – with the expectations you place on yourself and trying to live up to that, as well as emotions surrounding potential family & friend connections.


Perhaps you feel a sense of loss of a loved one a little stronger this time of year. Changing health conditions, family dynamics, memories – all can get those emotions coming on a little stronger.


Recognize that – and give yourself a little extra grace and care.


Take those deep breaths and do what helps you navigate through those emotions.


Soak in the good…. recognize the others and allow them to float on by.


Wishing you all a wonderful healthy holiday season. Take care of YOU! ✨


Cam & Shawna



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Shawna Cook

Shawna is a Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, who has been working in Cardiac Rehabilitation for over 10 years. Her years in the health and fitness field however have spanned over the past 2+ decades. As an elite level athlete she fell in love with understanding the human body, and how the choices she made, affected how it performed. This led to a degree from the University of Winnipeg in the stream of Athletic Therapy, and the passion towards helping others recover from injury and "be their best selves" grew.