December is arguably the busiest month of the year. Between running around buying gifts for friends and family, making food for Hanukkah or Christmas parties, self care can very easily get neglected. What a shame, because this is probably when we need self care the most. It's important we make sure to prioritize our health this month so we can actually enjoy the holidays instead of being so stressed out about them.
But how can we do that? There is not enough time to take care of other AND ourselves! Self care doesn't have to take hours out of our day. It does not need to be expensive. It isn't selfish and it isn't girly. Here is a list of 10 self care ideas you can do that are 1) gender inclusive 2) not super expensive and 3) about 30 minutes or less (depending on you).
Anyone else's face go haywire when the weather changes? The cold weather can make our skin feel so dry and itchy. Face masks are so popular and can be a great way to give our face the nutrients it needs to look bright and keep it's glow during the season. I went to Korea a few months ago and loaded up on skin care products. The best part about face masks? You can totally multitask while wearing them!
PS: this is not just for women. Men can get bad skin too and deserve to spend a little time caring for themselves.
I know this kind of sounds like a chore but how good do you feel after you've cleaned up your space? Take some time to put away that pile of laundry you've been stacking up in your room. Maybe your bathroom is super filthy and you hate even using the shower because of all the grime in there. Set aside 30 minutes to deep clean one space in your life, paying close attention to the state of a space that normally brings you peace. For me, a nice hot shower is rejuvenating and calming, so deep cleaning the bathroom regularly helps me get the most out of my self care.
No one can deny the effects of a great cardio session. Going for a quick run or dancing it out in the living room for 30 minutes can help shake the holiday stress. If you're having trouble finding a time to squeeze in a workout, consider waking up 30-45 minutes earlier than normal. It might be a struggle to get out of bed in the morning, but the effects will last all day and you'll be happy you took the time for yourself.
The mental and physical release experienced during a yoga sesh has been shown to have stress-reducing effects. The one thing I hear whenever I suggest yoga as a form of self care is, "Oh, but I'm not flexible and I'm way too anxious for that". While yoga is not for everyone, it is definitely not just for those who are flexible and calm. The reason why yogis have lowered stress levels and great flexibility is because they practice yoga. Don't be so hard on yourself - start where you are and reap the benefits that come from taking care of your current body. There are several yoga videos on YouTube that suit every level, from beginner to advanced practitioner.
My favorite calming scent is Lavender. I absolutely love the smell and it makes me feel like I'm at an expensive spa facility. Drip a couple drops in your shower or bath during the week and feel the stress literally wash away. You can also dilute a couple drops in water and spray some on your wrists to give you some grounding during the day.
When did we get too busy to sit down and read? There's so much to do sometimes that getting lost in a good book is almost considered a guilty pleasure. Curl up in bed or a nice cozy spot of your choosing and read at least a chapter of your favorite book (you know, the one where the book mark has been in the same spot for a while now). It's not selfish, its self care.
This one SPEAKS. TO. MY. SOUL. Bring some order to your life by organizing some of those places that have been stressful to just look at. Whenever I get overwhelmed, I take a look at the state of my kitchen. It's usually also in disarray so organizing some of the cabinets and counter tops helps me feel more at ease. Where do you spend the most time? Maybe it's your car. Organize some of the compartments in your car and get rid of the clutter. Organizing also relates to your schedule. Plan out your events and tasks instead of letting it all float around in your head. Watch how it helps you feel more at ease.
Calling a Friend
Question: do you have that one friend who makes everything better? When was the last time you spoke with him/her? Carve out time in your schedule to have a quick 20-30 minute chat with a friend that puts things in perspective for you.
Eating Specialty Foods
By specialty foods, I'm talking about those fancy foods at Whole Foods you've been dying to try but don't think you should spend the money on it so instead you buy yourself a bag of chips or some chocolate. Maybe you don't buy grapes or fresh berries because they're outrageously expensive. Treat yourself to those fruits and vegetables you think are just too expensive to eat. You are worth it.
Saying No and Setting Boundaries
This one is my favorite, especially over the holidays. Create some boundaries by saying no to things that you don't want to or can't do. You do not have to attend every holiday party. You do not have to buy every single person a gift. You do not have to grab a drink with everyone that comes in to town. Turn down a couple requests and make time to do one of the self care ideas mentioned above :)