By: Dena Don, RDN, CDN
Preparing for the chagim can be a stressful experience. You may find yourself feeling like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, especially if you are balancing working with hosting guests for yuntif. However, even though your time may be limited, it’s so important to take care of yourself, even if only for a few minutes.
If you’re new to self-care, you might feel like you are “wasting time” by putting your needs first during this busy time, which is understandable. However, taking a bit of you-time will ultimately help you feel more calm, collected, productive and efficient! It will also help you be more present with your guests and jumpstart your year on a similar focused and intentional note!
Below are 10 self-care practices that you can try during the chagim. I recommend trying at least one of these suggestions (or another self-care strategy) in the next few days!
1. Buy Yourself Fresh Flowers
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time preparing for yuntif at home, it can be nice to have something pretty to look at while getting all of your cooking and cleaning done. For about $10, a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers can brighten your home. We recommend displaying your flowers in a central area of your house so that you can see them frequently throughout the day!
2. Get Your Nails Done
Spending just 30 minutes away from your house to get a manicure or pedicure can help put your mind at ease during this overwhelming time. Plus, your nails will look great for yuntif! Alternatively, if you don’t have time to leave the house, you can take a few minutes to do your nails yourself!
3. Say No and Accept Help
It can be tempting to say “yes” when others ask for your time, however, “yes” isn’t always the right answer for you. It’s totally okay – and encouraged! – to say “no” during this busy time in order to set boundaries for yourself. Your family and friends will definitely understand. Also, don’t feel like you have to say “no” when others ask if they can help you. Delegating can shorten your to-do list and help save you a lot of stress!
4. Talk to a Therapist
There’s a therapist out there who can help you navigate any mental struggle you may be grappling with. If you find yourself feeling stuck with managing your mental health, it may be a good idea to speak with a licensed, unbiased professional. Many therapists see patients over Telehealth, allowing you to unwind from the comfort of your own home.
5. Make Plans With a Friend
Sometimes spending even just a few minutes with a good friend can leave you feeling invigorated, energized and ready to take on another day. If leaving the house is difficult for you, it may be easier to Facetime or Zoom with a friend to get the support you’re seeking.
6. Order Takeout!
With all of the yom tov cooking, you deserve a break! There is no shame in ordering takeout for your family during this busy season. Many grocery stores also sell ready-made meals if you find it easier to do all of your food shopping in one place.
7. Spend Time in Nature
Spending time outdoors can often provide a broader perspective, which can help decrease overwhelm. You may find it relaxing to take a lunchtime stroll (either alone, with a pet, or with a friend). You may also enjoy traveling a few minutes outside of your immediate surroundings to explore a nature trail or hike.
8. Grab a Healthy Treat for Your Carpool or Grocery Runs
Often, it can be hard to take time to eat properly when there’s a lot going on. Eating snacks between meals can help you regulate your emotions and manage anxiety, as things can seem a lot more overwhelming when you’re hangry! You may enjoy these Healthier Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.
9. Prepare Yourself a Warm, Soothing Drink
You may find it soothing to prepare a warm drink for yourself. See my comforting Pumpkin Cinnamon Tea Latte recipe below, which is made with Wissotzky Cinnamon Magic tea. This tea is caffeine-free, which is an ideal choice for those grappling with anxiety. This drink is a wonderful way to welcome fall!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Tea Latte
Recipe by Dena Don, RDN, CDN
● 1 cup hot water
● 2 Wissotzky Cinnamon Magic tea bags
● 1/4 cup milk of choice, steamed
● 3 tablespoons unsweetened pumpkin purée
● 1 tablespoon maple syrup
● Generous sprinkle of cinnamon
1. Pour hot water into a large mug. Steep tea bags in water for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard.
2. Whisk pumpkin purée into tea until even. Stir in maple syrup.
3. Pour steamed milk into mug. Top with cinnamon. Enjoy while warm!
Dena Don, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and writer based in New York City. Dena is trained to help children, teens and adults with a variety of nutrition-related concerns, including weight loss, weight gain, eating disorders, IBS, pregnancy, diabetes, high cholesterol and others. She currently works within a practice that accepts most insurances. To see more of Dena’s work, check out her Instagram page @theartsypalate. Please email Dena at [email protected] with any questions you may have or if you’re interested in working with her!