The holiday season is filled with excitement, cheer, and a good deal of shopping. A lot of care and thought goes into finding the right presents, supporting those in need, and reaching out to friends and family to express your love and gratitude around this time of year. Often, we end up forgetting to care for ourselves. With so much time spent on others this season, it's important to take a step back and focus on self-care so that you're able to feel reinvigorated and be your best self every day. Follow these tips for some simple holiday self-care and feel the difference it makes this year.
Start carving out some time to do the things you love. You'll feel rejuvenated and even more energized when you start paying attention to the things that bring you joy. Take yourself out to a movie one night a week or go for that hike you keep daydreaming about. Make Saturday afternoon your time for a solo ice skating session, or walk or drive the scenic route home every chance you get. Just be sure you're stocked up with all the coziest winter accessories so you can stay out as long as you want.
Try to take at least one long shower or bath each week. While there are plenty of rushed morning showers to be had, taking time to slow down and really soak will help you feel a bit more relaxed throughout the season. It'll give you something to look forward to that is totally your own. Light some candles, sprinkle a couple of drops of your favorite essential oils, and let the hot water wash away all that stress. Buy yourself a luxurious new bath towel (yes, just for you!) that you can wrap yourself up in and stay cozy just a little bit longer.
To save yourself some seasonal stress, start your shopping early. Make a list and stick to it, so you go into the season prepared and focused. Consider limiting your Christmas gifts to just close family and friends so you don't start stressing over so many recipients. If there are others in your life you want to celebrate, focus on just a few — your essential worker neighbors, your steadfast mail carrier, your trusted dog walker — and keep it simple with cookie tins or other gifts $25 and under.
Does the thought of another holiday party add heaps of stress to your growing list of things to do? Practice saying no more often. You can decline an invitation graciously and even send a consolation gift for not attending — think cookies, jams, or local honey to sweeten the deal. If your kids have been begging for the new video game console, but you'd rather invest in new tablets for online learning, you can agree to consider their requests for an upcoming birthday, but not for Christmas. You'll feel such a sense of relief after making choices that feel right for you.
The holiday season comes with much joy — and also much cooking. Thinking up fun, nutritious, and interesting meals can be exhausting any month of the year, so if you're feeling worn down after a long week of work, treat yourself and your family to a meal that no one has to cook or clean up after. You might even consider having a special day each week for take-out or delivery; let each member of the family have the chance to choose the restaurant. That way, you know there's at least one dinner taken care of during your busy week.
If you already know what your New Years' resolutions are, why wait? The added anticipation might actually make you feel anxious throughout the holiday season. Devoting time to your interests and personal growth is the best thing you can do for yourself at any time of the year. Creative writing, embroidery, or adult coloring books are easy ways to focus on the things you love. Some other ideas to incorporate include breathing exercises, a gym membership, or an online yoga program. Mindfulness and exercise will help you feel calmer and more connected with your body. If part of your resolutions include watching what you eat, another stellar self-care tip is to remember that everyone deserves a few cheat days. Save yourself some stress and go in for that second slice of pie. It's delicious, and totally worth it.
Go forth into this sweet season with some ideas on how to practice self-care throughout the holidays and beyond. Remember to first consider the things that bring you joy, and then try to follow your gut reaction. Trust yourself, treat yourself, and take care all year long!