The holiday season is considered to be the most wonderful time of the year. However, tidings of comfort and joy can easily be consumed by the pressure that accompanies the holiday season — travel plans, hosting relatives and finding the perfect gifts for all of your loved ones.
With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to overlook yourself. We’re constantly running around, putting others before ourselves and before we know it, we don’t have the time or energy to give ourselves the proper love and care we need. So this holiday season, gift yourself by filling your December calendar with some holiday self-care!
Importance of Self-Care
Self-care is often overlooked. Especially this year, as uncertainty and stress has taken over the world. Taking care of yourself is extremely important, as it encourages you to maintain a personal healthy relationship and, in turn, transmits the good feelings to others.
With the bustle of the holiday season, prioritizing yourself has a tendency to fall on the back burner, but self-care doesn’t have to be hard. It can be as simple as taking a 5 minute walk around the neighborhood or watching a movie you’ve been looking forward to seeing. Thinking of yourself is supposed to be something that makes you feel happy and nourished, so make it something fun and unique to you.
Holiday Self-Care Calendar
This year, we’re prompting you to be conscious of your well-being and deliberately put yourself first by making a point to do something nice for yourself each day during the month of December. To get you started, download our 25 days of self-care calendar, complete with 25 “treat yo’self” ideas to wrap up the year and start 2021 on the right foot.
Day 1: Write a List of What You’re Grateful For
For your first day of holiday self-care, start off by writing a list of 5-10 things you are grateful for. In fact, studies show that practicing gratitude has numerous mental health benefits like sharpening our brain function and reducing anxiety and depression.
You can start off by listing things you’re grateful for in a journal, a slip of paper or even by thinking about something you really appreciate. Whether a loved one comes to mind or you appreciate something as simple as the warm cup of coffee you drank that morning, expressing gratitude is a great form of self-care.
Day 2: Meditate
On the second day, allot a time for some mindful meditation. Even just a few minutes of quiet and mindfulness can do a lot for your mental state. During this time, focus on your breath and clearing your head of any negativity.
Not only is meditation good for your mental health by boosting your mood, but it’s also beneficial for your physical health by boosting your immune system. Research shows that regular meditation undoes the damaging effects of stress on our cells, so try and make this the first day of a new habit!
Day 3: Take a Walk Outside
On day three, lace up your walking shoes and get outside for some fresh air. Even if you can only get out for a small increment of time, taking a walk in nature provides both physical and mental health benefits. Research suggests that spending time outside reduces stress levels, lowers heart rate and stimulates the immune system.
Day 4: Self Reflection With Journaling
When it comes to finding ways to unwind, journaling is a great way to calm the mind. In fact, for some, journaling can be more calming than meditation. This is a great way to practice self-reflection, set goals for yourself or even just get things off your chest. If you aren’t sure where to start, try this journal entry printable to help you get started.
Day 5: Declutter
Clutter is known to increase the stress hormone cortisol, which reduces our creativity and focus. So for the 5th day of your self-care journey, use this day to declutter and organize your space which will in turn help your mind by becoming more productive and calm.
Put on some of your favorite music or a movie in the background and get busy. You can start by straightening up your room, purging your closet of clothes you never wear or reorganizing your pantry before the holiday festivities begin.
Day 6: Revamp Your Skincare Routine
On the sixth day, try revamping your skincare routine. Even if you already have a set skincare routine for yourself, treating yourself to a thorough skincare spa day can do wonders for your mood and your skin! Try steaming your face and adding a facial mask into your regimen to make yourself feel pampered and relaxed.
Day 7: Stretch or Practice Yoga
Yoga is a great form of personal health, so on the seventh day take at least 10 minutes to stretch and practice a few yoga poses. Yoga is a healthy practice that helps relieve anxiety, stress and depression while boosting energy levels and improving your overall sense of well-being.
Day 8: Bake
The holiday season is the perfect time to bake some yummy treats. On day eight of your holiday self-care, bake a traditional family recipe or try a new one that sounds tasty! Try decorating your baked goods with loved ones for extra fun!
Day 9: Get Moving
Getting your heart rate up increases happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine. So on the ninth day of self-care, get moving to get those endorphins and boost your mood. This doesn’t require a long and hard work out. Even a simple 30 minute circuit or a dance party can do the trick.
Day 10: Take a Detox Bath
On the 10th day, take a nice candle lit bath soak. Bathing can help diminish feelings of depression by inducing feelings of comfort and ease. These increased feelings lead your mind and body to relax which is much needed during the craziness of the holidays.
Run a warm bath and add epsom salts, baking soda and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Light a few candles and soak in the bathtub for at least 20 minutes and take this time to focus on yourself and relax.
Day 11: Do Something Nice For Someone Else
The holiday season is a time for giving. Helping others helps us meet our most basic psychological needs and does so much good for our mental health. On day 11, do something nice for someone else, whether it’s volunteering at a local organization, donating to charity or buying coffee for the person behind you in the drive thru. To help brighten people’s day, surprise people with these punny holiday cards by putting in in their mailbox on on their car’s windshield.
Day 12: Get Your Rest
Getting your rest is easier said than done, but sleep deprivation is proven to increase stress and frustration. On the 12th day, go to bed early or sleep in a few extra hours to get ample sleep into your routine. Catching up on some Z’s is much needed, so try diffusing lavender oil or adding a weighted blanket into your sleep routine.
Day 13: Try Something New
On day 13 of your holiday self-care, try something new. You can use this day to take yourself on a date and do something you’ve always wanted to try or maybe been too scared to do. Have you ever been ice skating? What about a food that looks tasty, but you haven’t been able to get yourself to try it? Take this opportunity to try something new and who knows, you may end up finding something you really enjoy!
Day 14: Color or Doodle
On the 14th day, try doodling or coloring to help your mind relax. Engaging in a focused and creative activity helps take your mind off of bothersome tasks and worrisome thoughts begin to fade away.
Sometimes we all need to take a quick break from reality, especially when life gets stressful. Try an adult coloring page to get in touch with your inner child and unwind during this holiday season.
Day 15: Cozy Pjs and Movie Night
There’s no way to get in the holiday spirit like slipping into some cozy pajamas and having a movie night! On the 15th day of holiday self-care, make some hot cocoa, a healthy snack and put on your favorite holiday movie and take this time to bond with those you love.
Day 16: Invent a New Tradition
This year, plans may have been disrupted and normal traditions may have to be put on hold. If this is the case, why not try a new tradition? Whether it’s something more traditional like decorating gingerbread houses to something less heard of like going Christmas camping, you could invent a new tradition that stays for years to come!
Day 17: Get a Massage
Who doesn’t like a good massage? Massages are proven to not only reduce stress, pain and muscle tension, but produce the feelings of comfort and connection. So on day 17 of your holiday self-care, have a partner give you a massage or book one professionally for the future. For extra relaxation, try incorporating scents that promote relaxation and restfulness like lavender and frankincense.
Day 18: Craft it Up
On day 18, do something fun and creative by getting crafty! The holidays are the perfect time to make crafts like ornaments and cards which is a fun activity the whole family can enjoy together. Like mentioned before, getting creative can help take your mind off of anything you’re stressed about, so get busy and craft it up!
Day 19: Breathe the Right Scents
Breathing techniques can help ease anxiety and clear the mind, but what we breathe can be just as important as how we breathe. Aromatherapy has many benefits like easing stress and improving restless sleep and headaches. Try diffusing certain oils like lavender or bergamot to promote relaxation and boost your mood during the holiday season.
Day 20: Write Yourself a Love Letter
Give yourself some self-love by writing yourself a love letter. It can be easy to be hard on ourselves and not give ourselves enough credit. Being kind to yourself is one of the best ways we can start self-care. Think about what you love most about yourself. Write down all of the things you love and admire about yourself, no matter how big or small.
To make it even more special, try adding a scent to your card and put it away in a drawer. This way, you can revisit your love letter when you need to remind yourself how special you are as it duals as an air freshener. If you’re in need of a place to begin, check out this printable self-love template to get you started.
Day 21: Treat Yourself
On day 21 of holiday self-care, treat yourself to something that makes you happy. Whether it’s having a glass on wine or buying a new outfit that makes you feel good, do something that is completely for you.
Day 22: Put Your Phone Down
Take care of your physical and mental health by putting down your phone. Screen time is linked to depression and it takes away your time from the present. It’s easy to “fast-forward” time by looking at our phones or distracting ourselves from the present moments. Try disconnecting from your phone for at least an hour a day by staying away from texts and social media — not to mention, it’s refreshing for the soul.
Day 23: Laughing Session
Laughing is good for your health, both mentally and physically. On this day, take some time to give yourself a good laugh. Whether it’s watching your favorite comedy, scrolling through memes or playing a silly game with your family, laughter can cure a lot of hurt and stress.
Day 24: Quality Time With Loved Ones
We all need to socialize and connect with others. It gives us a sense of belonging which is really important for our mental health, yet it somehow can end up at the bottom of our to-do lists. Use day 24 of your self-care list to spend some quality time with those you care about. This could be your family, friends, a partner or even a pet! Even if you can’t get together in-person this year, try FaceTime or a phone call to catch up!
Day 25: Be Present
On the last day of your holiday self-care, give yourself the gift of being present. Put your phone away, glance away from the TV and take in the atmosphere of those closest to you. Make this day one to remember by really being there and make fond memories.
Holiday self-care is easy and fun, so do what makes you happy and feel nourished this holiday season. Whether it’s making memories with loved ones or treating yourself to your favorite designer fragrance, make the last bit of your year memorable by making yourself a priority.