Like most of us, I go through ups and downs with self-care. Some months, it feels like I’m truly prioritizing myself, and others, it feels like everything else in life comes first. And the trickle-down effect I see when I’m putting self-care, and therefore, myself, first, is pretty dramatic. I’m a better friend, daughter, girlfriend, boss, dog mom, and I’m 100% in a better mindset. When I carve out time to care for myself, I’m my best self. On the flip side, if I’m feeling in a funk or "off," it’s usually because I’ve fallen off the self-care wagon.
With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s the time of year when self-care gets shoved to the end of our lists – or worse, completely falls off. It’s a busy time of year and everyone has more on their plate than usual. But, I challenge you, alongside challenging myself, to make this holiday season different. To keep those things on your calendar that brings you a sense of peace. To not feel selfish about putting your well-being top of mind, and to find that balance that feels best to you!
I put together some quick ways to practice self-care this season [and I hope you use this list as the holidays come and go]. Everything on this list can be done even with the busiest of schedules [something I need to keep in mind myself!]. If something on the list doesn’t spark joy for you, skip it, but I hope you find something that fuels your soul below.
Drink your coffee or tea slowly: When was the last time you enjoyed your morning cup without doing ten other things at once? I’m definitely known to chug on-the-go or drink my coffee while buzzing through emails, and I’m guessing I’m not alone. Create a quiet little habit of drinking your coffee, tea, whatever, slowly in the morning, focusing on how it tastes, how the warm mug comforts your hands, and how good that bit of mindfulness feels. Sometimes I’ll even put on some jazz music or a short, inspirational podcast and just soak in the tune or message. This is one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday or Sunday morning!
Volunteer in something you believe in. I’ve always found that I get a true happy high from helping others. If you’re the same, I suggest finding a cause that is close to your heart and motivating for you. One that doesn’t feel like a time suck or an obligation, and instead, something that energizes you … all while helping someone [or something] else. For me, it always involves animals [shocker, right?], but for you it could involve feeding the homeless, reading to the elderly, cleaning up your local park, church functions, etc. Depending on what pulls at your heart, find a group that supports that.
Leave your phone at home [or in the other room]. Listen, I know this feels scary, and honestly probably weird coming from someone attached to their phone, but dang, I love doing this a few times a week. We’re all SO attached to our devices and we waste free-time mindlessly scrolling Instagram [guilty!]. I find that the only way to truly disconnect from my phone is to leave it in the other room or to leave home without it. If you’re freaked out about time, do what I do and wear a watch. Specifically, this gorgeous kate spade new york hollis leather watch. You guys know by now that my love for this brand runs deep [remember this post and this post] and same is true for their new rose gold and taupe watch. It’s simple yet special and it’s on my wrist 24/7, especially as I take my "phone detoxes" – and, not to mention, it’s the perfect complement to a Fall-hued wardrobe. When I’m feeling extra burnt out from my phone, I just leave my watch by my bed and forget the alarm clock / phone in general. There is nothing more peaceful than waking up naturally and NOT scrolling. Which leads me to…
Sleep guilt-free. The Every Girl recently shared a post that I saved [and later shared on my own Instagram] that was awesome. I especially appreciated the idea of a ‘guilt-free’ nap, which can be extended into a guilt-free bedtime or a day of sleeping in. Now, I know if you’re a parent, you’re probably rolling your eyes … and I get that. But even if you can’t take a nap during the day, can you go to bed early? If your body is asking for it, can you give yourself that present of a short nap to recharge? Can you skip your morning workout if your mind needs to catch up on zzz’s? I’m definitely prioritizing sleep this season.
Meet a friend for a walk. This is one of my favorite things to do. It gets you moving, it’s time to catch up, and we all know fresh air feels good. Instead of putting pressure on some intense exercise class or trying to meet up for drinks during a busy week, what about a refreshing walk instead? Bonus … it’s free! This is another great time to leave the phones and just carry a watch, too!
Say ‘no’. While this has taken me YEARS to kinda-sorta conquer, I’ve finally learned that there’s no shame in saying ‘no’. It’s actually a lesson that has changed my life and for the best. That’s not to say you should become a hermit and never help people out, but I do believe in the power of spending your time wisely. After all, time is one commodity we can never get back. If there’s an event you’re really not looking forward to, pass on the invite kindly. Remember, self-care involves prioritizing yourself, including your time and energy.
Eat something healthy. If you’re feeling blah, try to give your body nutrients and something enriching. This doesn’t mean you need to go make a healthy soup from scratch – feel free to get it delivered! The point is, make sure you’re taking care of your health this season. If you love to cook and find it relaxing, I shared my favorite healthy turkey chili recipe a couple of years ago!
Have a weekly self-care date. One of my guilty pleasures in life is a good pampering session. Like most people, though, I don’t always time or budget for a full spa day. Self-care at home can be as simple as an at-home manicure or face mask. Find a day or night a week that you can dedicate 20 minutes to yourself and choose your pampering of choice. Then enjoy! PRO TIP: a glass of good vino + true-crime podcast + face mask = heaven on Earth, friends! P.S. How cute are this set of kate spade new york pajamas? *adds to cart*
Detox from negativity. It’s nearly impossible to care for yourself when you have loads of negativity floating around. If you feel toxicity through friendships, only focus on the relationships that make you feel good. If you follow people on Instagram who make you feel bad about your job, body, life, etc., unfollow them. If you have too much on your plate, comb through what you can remove. If you’re constantly in a negative headspace, find positive mantras to repeat daily.
Spend time with animals. Hanging with animals is good for your happiness, it’s actually proven science! It can lower your cortisol [stress] levels and even help with anxiety. Now y’all know I love my Fish & Chips, and on days when I’m feeling down, I know to give them extra cuddles. If you don’t have a furry friend at home, animal shelters are always looking for volunteers [as I mentioned above]. You can also foster a pet if you’re wanting to test out the waters of owning one. And, if you’re not game for any of that, this cute account is sure to make you feel good.
Alright, friends! I’m not going to lie … simply writing this list out has gotten me all giddy for some self-care time. I’m home from Maine and can’t wait to incorporate a few of these ideas this weekend. I’m thinking of a phone-free day spent in a face mask and PJ’s … what about you? What’s your favorite way to incorporate self-care? I’d love to hear! xo.