We all know it, the holidays can be equal parts stress and magic. The first snow, the joy of holiday lights in the windows of beautiful homes, and then the trickery that is finding a balance with work, family, keeping yourself alive, etc etc.
These periods of time require a little more intention to stay sane, and especially to enjoy them without every day flying by so fast, full of to do and grocery lists, that before you know it, it's January and the previous year is gone for good.
So: while not all self-care has to involve expensive masks and unreasonable luxury, taking a small amount of time to rest and nourish your body is immensely valuable.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
1.) Book a yin yoga class. If you are not familiar with yoga, this is a class dedicated to de-stressing your body. It is a series of stretches and slow movement, the perfect "yin" to the "yang" of the hustle of the holidays. Even if you aren't super flexible, the hour of focusing on caring for your body and your mind with breath and focused stretching will de-stress your mind and help you take on your days with more intention and purpose. If you don't live near a yoga studio, lay a towel or soft blanket on your living room floor and use whatever device you're reading this on to google a yin routine on youtube and listen to it.
2.) Take 20 minutes out of your day, preferably when you first wake up, or before you go to bed, to focus on what you are grateful for. Extra points for writing it down so your future self can look back on it and be reminded. Family. Heat in the winter. A body that is capable of movement without pain. Food. Ears to hear the voices of the ones you love, or christmas carols. No matter where you are, if you're alive there is something to be thankful for. You will be surprised how grounding this is.
3.) Turn your phone off. We all understand the anxiety that social media can bring. For whatever your "why" is, taking even an hour without any technology to sit with family or friends, focus on mealtime together, or play with your kids or pets will bring back a simplicity that is welcome any time in a holiday season that can spiral easily into consumerism and overstimulation.
4.) Take an hour to take a bath. Essential oils and bath bombs are great, but even if all you have is epsom salt, baking soda and coconut oil, the warmth of the water and the gentle detoxing are great for your skin and your body. This can be a perfect time to meditate, or take a small period of time to close your eyes and quiet your mind while focusing on stillness. Even five minutes can bring a freshness to your perspective. Afterwards, slather on a generous layer of lotion; my favorite is our chai Tremella. The heat of the water and steam is a perfect time for your body to absorb extra moisture in the cold season.
5.) Make a list of 5 goals for the holiday season. The act of writing down a goal can help make your time with family and friends just a little more intentional. Maybe it looks like sitting down for a conversation with your grandparents or parents, or giving them a call if you're far away. Maybe it looks like having an uninterrupted night with your kids making a holiday tradition of your own, or revisiting the true magic of the holidays through their eyes. Maybe it's a family recipe that takes a little extra time and you don't always get to make. Maybe it's one of the other things on this list, like revisiting your budget, slowing down for an hour to take time from your phone. Whatever it is, it is a kindness to yourself to take the time to put what really matters to you first.
6.) Volunteer. This is an invaluable opportunity, whether it is with your kids, your partner or yo sweet self. Whether it's filling up a box of toys for children, donating a holiday meal to a family, or donating your time, this is an easy way of giving back that spurns hope and joy for the recipients and your own spirit. Want to volunteer but not sure where to start? Take a few goodies to a retirement home and spend a couple of hours with people who are alone for the holidays. Donate some lightly used or brand new coats, gloves and boots to a homeless shelter. Give your mailman or UPS person coffee gift cards. You can do it. There are opportunities everywhere.
7.) Take a 15 minute walk in nature. Observe the plants and trees that are still flourishing. Spending even a small amount of time in nature and in the shorter moments of sun is wonderful for your body and your mind. It's easy to get caught up in all of the busyness of the holidays, but taking even a few moments to see that nature takes a whole season off from creating to rest is inspiration to know you can and should too.
Thanks for taking the time to read, we hope you have a meaningful and joyful holiday season. Do you have ways of taking care of yourself specifically in the winter holiday months, or did you try any of the above tips? Let us know in the comments!