Self Improvement

7 Ways to Take Care of YOU This Holiday Season

posted on December 23, 2019 | by Alyssa Abel

7 Ways to Take Care of YOU This Holiday Season

Ah, the hectic holidays. You dash through the snow to find the perfect gift for every party and person in your life. You try to bake like Martha Stewart and spend countless nights wrapping. When the time comes to enjoy the festivities, you’re exhausted.

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of self-care. By spending less money and spending more time on your own needs, you’ll be taking a much-needed pause before the new year — and giving your loved ones a healthier, more positive you at celebrations. Here are a few self-care tips to help you slow down this holiday season:

1. Take a Break From Social Media

“Oh, look, my friend’s S.O. did the whole new car wrapped in a bow thing! I’m so happy!”(…said no one, ever.) Social media can raise blood pressure at any time of year. However, during the holidays, it can wreak havoc on your self-esteem more than usual. If you’re not exactly able to afford extravagant gifts, or you’re on your own while you watch your old schoolmates all paired up for seasonal photos, constant updates on others’ lives might not be so healthy.

Too much screen time can also increase the harried factor through FOMO. People love to get caught in a busy-minded-one-upmanship that no one ever wins — unless feeling unsettled is a prize. Remember, your friends are putting their best selves on social media — and they’re probably stressed, too. Take some time to unplug and focus on you.

2. Ease Off the Work Schedule

Depending on your job, you might be obligated to work over the holidays. But as much as possible, ease off the gas a little bit. Think about life mindfully — the Earth moves through cycles, as does the calendar year. You need calm moments between periods of hard work. Now is the time for rest, at least within reason. Take a few PTO days as a gift to yourself.

On the other hand, if you have the holiday blues because low wages won’t let you take time off for R&R, maybe now is the time to job search. Most people put their career aspirations aside to spend time with family, so you can get a leg up on the competition by applying now. When it’s hard to motivate yourself, tell yourself that polishing your resume now can mean enjoying cookies instead of clocking in at the same place next year. There’s no better self-care than making a move for your happiness.

3. Experiment in the Kitchen

During the typical workweek, you might not spend much time in the kitchen, other than on meal prepping day. If you have a spare moment, whip up your favorite holiday treats. It’s OK to indulge — in moderation. If you want to experiment, you can even try adding healthier twists to classics. Who knows? You might discover the perfect missing ingredient that elevates your dish from delish to absolute perfection.

4. Exercise

You might think self-care demands taking time off from the gym, but stressful times can actually be the best moments to get a little more active. Exercise helps your body to release endorphins, natural chemicals that make you feel like your best self. Plus, you don’t have to pencil an entire hour into your schedule — although if you want to, go for it. Get moving in creative ways — you can reap the mood-boosting benefits without a gym membership by docking your cellphone and dancing.

5. Have a Spa Day

A spa trip might not be something you want to budget for, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself at home. Try taking a bath or soaking your tired feet in Epsom salts to relieve stress. Light a scented candle and play some soothing music. Mix up a homemade facial scrub, kick back and pamper yourself. You deserve it.

6. Meditate

Meditating is like hitting your body’s reset button. When you sit quietly and observe your thoughts objectively, you become aware of negative self-talk that dampens your days. You can then reframe these ideas more positively or just let them go — most of us have no idea how much tension we’re hanging onto until we pause and take some time to be alone with our thoughts. Meditation costs nothing, and if you need a little help, check out some soothing YouTube videos.

7. Let Yourself Sink Into Coziness

Know what? It’s OK to take some time to catch up on your sleep. It’s even all right to let yourself be bored sometimes — this frees your mind from the hecticness of daily life. Instead of thinking you have to RSVP “yes” to every invite and run around to make your loved ones happy, ask yourself whether you’d genuinely enjoy attending — or whether you need some time at home. Plan an evening in for yourself. Binge-watch a new series on Netflix, or lose yourself in that book you’ve been meaning to read all year. Lie around in your holiday pajamas and enjoy the coziness of home. How often do you do that?

It’s easy to get caught up in giving and doing for others at this time of year, but you count, too! Make this the season of self-care by slowing down a little and taking time for yourself — and remember, you’re doing great!