SWIM Through the Holidays with These 4 Self-Care Habits

It’s December. The holidays can bring an array of emotions with them, the most common ones being overwhelm and stress. I'm sharing 4 self-care habits that help me keep the overwhelm at bay (so long as I do them).

And because I have geeky tendencies, I made it into an easy acronym for you to remember: SWIM! This stands for simplicity, water, intentionality, and movement. I love that this acronym connects with an ocean metaphor for life. Waves will always be there to knock us down; it’s important to keep swimming and embody the spirit of flow rather than resistance.

Read on to see what I mean.


Make things easier on yourself by lowering self-imposed expectations for what you "must" accomplish. I did this for Thanksgiving, because I just had too much going on. Usually I like to bake and cook a few things even if I'm not hosting, but this year I was teaching in the morning and was commuting to the family gathering so I decided to make nothing and just show up. It was mind-blowing how good it felt (and literally no one cared that I didn't make anything)!

So skip the ego-driven, complicated fancy dessert you wanted to make for the holiday party if just thinking about it makes you panic. No one will remember if you show up with a store-bought item or nothing at all--they want to see YOU, not your culinary creations. Likewise, if seeing all the relatives in the same day across 3 different houses makes you want to find a dark hole to hide in, change your plans!! It’s really that simple. Think of other solutions that would make it easier on everyone, yourself included. Yes, it will require an exercise in boundaries (that’s a story for a whole other blog post), but it will completely change your experience. Keep. It. Simple.


Are you drinking enough of it? We tend to disconnect from water this time of year, but we need it more than ever in the drying, cold winter weather you might be experiencing if you're North of the equator. I'm all up on my tea and coffee these days, and we were lucky enough to get some much-needed rain here in San Diego, but I'll admit that I've totally forgotten about hydrating my body regularly! I'm feeling it. My guess is that you might have, too.

Water is our body's primary element. Hydration supports brain and nerve function, happy tissues, organs and digestion. It's essential. We need it even more during a time when many of us take part in increased levels of coffee, alcohol, savory and sweet foods.  Alcohol, coffee, and salt are super dehydrating. And even if you aren't indulging in those holiday mainstays, water isn't something we tend to think about in the Winter because we sweat less often.

Ideal intake is about 80-120oz (2.7-3.7L daily)! Women need a bit less than men. That's a lot, but we don't need to get it all from plain water. Soups, water-rich fruits and veggies and herbal teas work, too. Best way to hit that target is to use a 30-50 oz non-BPA reusable water bottle to hydrate throughout the day with the goal of refilling it at least once. Your body and mind will thank you (and you’ll be less likely to indulge in junk that leaves you feeling like junk).


Set intentions around what truly needs to get done, what is a "would be nice" kinda task, and what would feel nourishing and supportive. If you prioritize and drop certain to-dos or places-to-be off your list, you'll be amazed at how spacious and easy everything starts to feel! Again, most of the overwhelm we experience comes from our desire to DO and BE everything to everyone. Giving and gratitude are beautiful things, but not when they are ego-driven and come at the cost of our own wellbeing.

Also: set an intention to connect with yourself every day in some way. That space is important. Whether it's a silent cup of morning coffee, 5-10 minutes of meditation, just staring out the car window at nature after dropping off the kids, or sitting outside breathing mindfully, that intention of prioritizing what fills your cup will give you the GO to do everything else after those moments have passed.


Move your body! I know it's tough--even I will make a million excuses to "not have time" to move and connect with my body, and I'm a yoga teacher, for crying out loud. The struggle is REAL. But making time for movement and setting it as a priority WILL keep you sane, healthy (this is prime sick season too, you know), and happy in your body. It's massive. As little as 5-10 minutes of movement a day can make a HUGE difference.

So instead of scrolling for 30 minutes, get on my Playbook app and take a class with me! Or practice 5-10 sun salutes (I have a class on that too). Or try the simple poses down below which I've shared this month. Or take a walk! There are so many ways to make this happen so long as you SWIM. :)

That’s it! Of course, you can always do more. Mindfulness, breathing, etc. etc. But I feel like these are practices we can easily incorporate throughout the year and have the capacity to change our experience of doing our work in the world with greater ease and presence.

Sometimes a self-care list can become just another list of things to squeeze in. SWIM is very much about HOW you are doing everything, rather than WHAT, and I think that’s what makes it so powerful. It’s yoga practice… in action!

Did this resonate with you? Spread the love! Feel free to share it with those close to you and leave a comment below with your thoughts. I love hearing from you.