The holiday season can be the source of great joy. And it can add to the stress and overwhelm that physicians experience. The practicing physician may find herself torn between responsibilities in the clinical setting and the preparations needed to make a memorable holiday experience for family and friends.

It starts with rushing from work to make it to the store before closing. It’s planning and decorating and baking and cooking and all the things needed to make the holiday bright. And you may find yourself doing it on a few hours of sleep or in between being on call.

It’s a lot. It adds to the stress of your day. It can rob you from fully enjoying the joy of the season.

So what’s a physician to do?

Incorporating self-care strategies into your routine is critical to maintain your sanity and allow in more ease and flow during the holiday season. Here are 3 steps to combat the overwhelm and bring in more cheer.

  • Set priorities. What are the 1-3 most important things you want to accomplish during this season? It could be a day with the family without your cell phone or pager, focusing solely on quality time filled with love, laughter, and great memories. Maybe it’s carving out some alone time to reflect on your year and consider what’s possible for the upcoming year. Whatever it is for you, make it a priority. Schedule it and then rearrange your calendar to make it happen.
  • As you achieve the goal you set in step 1, Celebrate. Most often physicians move quickly from one task to the next, taking little time to bask in the positive energy of the experience. Before life’s duties come calling you again, take a few minutes to enjoy the moment. How does it feel to engage in deep conversation and laughter with your loved ones? When was the last time you really took the time to feel into the moment?       Do that now.
  • Now Breathe. Simply breathe. Take a life affirming breath and remind yourself of your greatness. With each deep cleansing breath, honor yourself. You are here to experience more life and love and joy and peace. Before returning to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, breathe in new energy and life.