Remembering to treat yourself this holiday season

November 21, 2017 Kaitlyn Matousek

Are the holidays leaving you stressed? Here's how to unwind.

When I think about the holidays I envision warm cozy sweaters, delicious desserts and quality time shared with friends and family. But sometimes, between all the cooking, cleaning and shopping the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ can seem more like a nightmare. This holiday season, why not be proactive about giving yourself the care you need instead of getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle. That means dedicating at least an hour a day to whatever brings you joy.

Not sure how to start unwinding? Here are my top 7 tips to relax this time of year:

Take a bath

Immersing yourself in hot water soothes your body and mind like nothing else can. As the weather gets colder, a hot steamy bath could be exactly what you need to de-stress. New research published in the Journal of Temperature suggests that taking an hour-long bath can produce similar anti-inflammatory and blood sugar benefits as an hour of exercise. Adding your favorite essential oils, a bath bomb and lighting a seasonal candle will elevate your soak time to another level and leave your skin velvety smooth.   

Meditate

Meditation is known to have a plethora of health benefits from managing anxiety and depression to increase self-awareness and creativity. I personally find meditation is a great way to clear my mind and focus on what is really important. If it’s difficult for you to jump into meditating, I recommend finding a quiet peaceful place and listening to a guided meditation. Headspace is a great meditation app you can download for Android or Apple devices.

Exercise

Taking a walk, jog or hike will get your heart pumping, burn calories and give you a chance to enjoy the changing season and brisk fall air. You can make it into a fun family activity by bringing your dog and/or children along for the adventure.

Spa Day

You don’t have to spend tons of money at the spa to reap all the relaxing benefits. Making homemade face masks, avocado honey is my favorite, and receiving a soothing shoulder massage are great ways to take care of your body that will leave you feeling wonderful from the inside out. Suggest to a friend or family member how much you would love to give them the most amazing massage, as long as they return the favor.  

Coffee Break

It can be easy to get caught up in your everyday routines and lose touch with friends who we don’t see on a day to day basis. Putting in that little extra effort to meet up for coffee or drinks after work can be a fantastic way to relax and promote strong friendships. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to enjoy all the scrumptious holiday drinks before they are gone.    

Acts of kindness

The holidays are a time of giving. A great thing to try is doing at least one act of kindness a day. These acts can vary from big or small; volunteering at a school or soup kitchen, to letting a loved one know how much you appreciate them, can have tremendously positive impacts on their lives and your own. Giving back is also proven to reduce stress and cultivate fulfillment.   

Gratitude

Just like giving back, being grateful is a wonderful thing to remember about the holidays. According to Harvard Health Publishing, gratitude is strongly associated with overall health and wellbeing. There are numerous ways to exercise gratitude, from writing a thank you note, to leaving a positive review or keeping a gratitude journal. My favorite way to cultivate gratitude is focusing on something specific I am grateful to have in my life right before I go to sleep. Ending my day with positive thoughts leaves me satisfied and optimistic for the morning.  


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