Raise your hand if the holiday season often brings about unnecessary stress.
I can definitely relate. I’ve always considered myself a Christmas elf and I love everything about the season. However, there have been years that made me want to throw in the towel on the whole shebang. Sometimes I just need a break and there’s none in sight.
So, I went on a quest to find the best self-care specifically for Christmas time. These tips are guaranteed to put you in a holly jolly mood (or just help you wind down after a long day). These are tried-and-true and I’ve been working them into my own schedule this year, creating a very pleasant and relaxing season!
From Halloween through New Year’s Day, I work my tush off. Creating a self-care routine with a holiday vibe has helped keep the stress and overwhelm under control.
Start by actually scheduling time off. This might seem easier said than done, especially if you’re self-employed or working from home, but when you prioritize time for yourself (even just fifteen minutes of it in the middle of your day), you’re going to feel better. That being said, here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy holiday self-care.
Put on your favorite holiday music – This could be some upbeat Mariah Carey tunes or it could be soothing Christmas jazz. My personal favorites? Laufey, Lindsey Stirling, Pentatonix, and Tori Kelly! I even listen to a lot of instrumental holiday playlists while I’m working to help me remain upbeat. Just because I love all of you so much, I’ve created two Spotify playlists for this season. One is instrumental and the other includes vocals (so there’s something for every mood).
Bake some Christmas cookies – My mom always says that baking is one of the best stress-relievers and I think she’s right! At the end of a long day, just getting into the rhythm of mixing ingredients and ending up with a fun treat at the end is super satisfying. Looking for something new to try? How about my family’s famous chewy molasses cookies. I’ve never met a single person who dislikes these after tasting them!
Watch a cheesy movie – There are hundreds of holiday movies to choose from, so whether you’re a fan of the ultimate cheese of Hallmark films or you love a classic like White Christmas, there’s something to satisfy your binging desires. If you need some recommendations, I have over 60 awesome Christmas movies on this list.
Wrap gifts – This might not seem relaxing for everybody, but I know there’s a kindred spirit out there who loves wrapping gifts as much as I do. Don’t worry about perfection, just set out all the supplies you’ll need and have at it by the Christmas tree. I like to turn on one of those cheesy movies or listen to an audiobook while I work. It’s actually quite relaxing and I’m getting something productive done simultaneously.
Go for a walk in the chilly weather – This one feels pretty self-explanatory. There is actual scientific proof that cooler weather is excellent for the body and getting your blood pumping out in the cold, winter sunshine is a great way to relieve stress. Make a point to get outside and move your limbs, even if the cooler temperatures aren’t your favorite thing.
Have a festive spa night – Light your favorite scented candles or put some cinnamon and orange essential oils in a diffuser to create the right atmosphere. Then drop a soothing bath bomb or bubble bar into the tub, pour a mug of spiked spiced mocha, and unwind while listening to some of that holiday music I mentioned earlier. You’ll feel yourself relaxing in no time.
Read a Christmassy book – Reading is my ultimate form of self-care and I make a point to read for at least an hour or more every day. I read before bed rather than checking my phone and I listen to audiobooks while doing mindless tasks. There are so many amazing holiday-themed books and my very favorite is The Afterlife of Holly Chase (which I reread every year).
Go see the bright holiday lights – Whether this means mapping out a tour of tacky homes or trekking to a local light show, seeing Christmas lights always puts me in a better mood! I sometimes like going to drive-through light shows, which takes away the stress of following a GPS for the best lights. You just casually and slowly coast through the lights and feel yourself melt into the festive mood. I also enjoy going to a local botanical garden which gets decked out with thousands of festive lights each year!
Buy something for yourself – ‘Tis the season for giving, I know, but hear me out. Sometimes in the hectic activity of shopping for all your loved ones, you find something that just speaks to you. Sure, you can try to add it to your own wishlist and hope someone else gets it for you, but treating yourself isn’t always a bad thing – especially with the crazy amounts of sales going on. Opening up a box that you know contains something you’re really thrilled about can totally boost your spirits!
Do absolutely nothing – Sometimes you don’t want to think, do, or go. That’s okay. After my 10+ hour workdays, I often find myself turning on a Christmas ambiance video on YouTube and just sitting there staring into space. The mind needs time to recharge. If you want slightly more activity without exerting any additional energy, try a Headspace meditation!