Philautia and the Holidays

Philautia health

Don’t forget about philautia, Greek for self-love, during the stressful holiday season.


When did the holidays get so crazy?

Having grown up first generation Greek, I don’t really remember my mother preparing for the holidays at the level I find myself, and those around me preparing today.  The day before a holiday was “clean house day,” the day of was “food prep day” and of course, the “big day” and the day after was “clean house day” again. That was it.

Today, it seems like every year we start getting bombarded earlier and earlier with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Halloween costumes come out in the stores in September, Christmas items in October and Thanksgiving gets thrown in there too somewhere. Without realizing it we end up thinking about “what we need to do for the holidays” both consciously and subconsciously for a good 6 months! That’s ½ a year’s worth of time planning for a total of three, twenty-four hour events!


We end up stressed out

We find ourselves in such a whirlwind of activity from trying to keep up with all things holiday related/ Even though the majority of our actions are directed towards serving others during this time, we end up not serving the most important person of all in the process, ourselves. Hence, why so many of us find ourselves stressed out, mindlessly over eating, gaining weight, hormones fluctuating and most importantly, not present in the moment.


Embrace Philautia (the good kind!)

Philautia (pronounced fee-laf-TEE-a) was the word that ancient Greeks used to refer to self-love or love of self. Not to be confused with the narcissist form of self-love that includes a complete disregard for the welfare of others. Philautia is the kind of self-love that enhances our capacity to love others even more. The kind of self-love that allows us to de-stress by focusing on the present, rather than being apprehensive because were focusing on the future. The kind of self-love that allows us to recharge and continue to keep up with the modern day world.

For these three reasons alone, the new extended holiday season, or better referred to as the NOW makes for a perfect time to incorporate some self-love rituals into your daily routine.


COURTESY Google Images
COURTESY Google Images

How can we incorporate more self-care/self-love daily?

Greek style of course!


  • Play a game of backgammon (tavli): Playing a game of backgammon, or any game for that matter, OR even just playing is an immediate stress reliever, and has actually been shown to improve health in a variety of ways when done consistently and regularly.
  • Have a coffee with a friend (kafedaki): Connecting with an old friend is a great way to relieve stress and slow down time. Just make sure to focus on the positives going on in your lives rather than the negatives, as doing the latter might actually contribute to your stress!
  • Go out for a drink (poto): Another great way to reconnect with those around you and destress. However, do keep in mind, value moderation in everything (pan metron ariston) when it comes to alcohol consumption as we are all too familiar that a hangover will leave you feeling even more depleted. Not only from the alcohol but from the excess gluten (depending on what you drink).
  • Take a nap (nani): While we don’t have the luxury of experiencing “community quiet time” as they do in Greece, finding a way to carve out an hour or so a day for a brief nap is a great way to relieve stress and improve your immune system too.


Finding a way to incorporate at least one of these techniques into your daily routine is a great way to express some self-love.

The more love that you express towards yourself, the more love you’ll have to give to others.


“All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.” ~ Aristotle

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