Five Ways to Incorporate Self-Care Into Your Busy Holiday Season

Ah, the holidays. Delicious food, cold weather, holiday music and cheer. What’s not to love?

The stress. Which means, there’s no better time for self-care than during this busy, stressful season. Taking a candle-lit bath, meditating, reading a good book by the fire, getting in a workout or run—these are all great ways to unwind and show yourself some love during the holidays. But here are five ways to show yourself some self-love that you may not have considered.

Go for a store-bought side dish

Hear us out: We know that you’d rather bake a pie or whip up a side dish from scratch for every holiday party you attend this year. But the truth is, coming up with the time—and a unique dish—for every outing can be unnecessarily stressful. This year, we give you permission to give yourself a break by bringing your favorite store-bought dish or dessert to your brother’s co-worker’s holiday party. Don’t sweat the side looks—no one will be judging you for your “lack of creativity” while they’re sneaking third helpings of those mini-meatballs.

Avoid in-store gift shopping

From finding a parking spot (without getting in a fender bender or screaming match) to searching high and low for the “perfect gift,” holiday shopping is as stressful as it gets. This year, order all your holiday gifts online, or pick up some gift cards to the family’s favorite stores and restaurants, or better yet, donate to some favorite charities and organizations in your family member’s names—and let them know that this year, the season of giving is truly about giving. You’ll save yourself the stress and frustration of seasonal shopping, and give yourself time back for that bath or book mentioned above.

Let someone else host

Just because you’ve hosted your annual white elephant exchange every year—come rain, shine, hell or high water—that doesn’t mean you have to forfeit what little sanity you have left this season to plan, clean, cook and host it this year. Instead, give yourself permission to take a break, and ask someone else to co-host the party (at their place, of course). Or do Christmas dinner at your sister’s house, giving yourself the morning off from trying not to burn the bird as you scrub the floors and frantically organize the seating arrangement so no arguments ensue over dinner because you placed Aunt Maude next to Cousin John.

Clean out your closet

It’s a scientific fact that giving to others makes you happier—so take some “you” time this season. Put on your favorite holiday tunes and sip some hot cocoa as you go through your closets and pack up bags to give to Goodwill or your favorite charity. Not only will you have a cleaner, more organized space, but you’ll also get the joy that comes with giving to those who may not have as much as you do.

Ask for time or experiences, not things

If your family and friends are bugging you for a list of things you want this year, instead of more “stuff,” ask for experiences. Here are some easy ideas to get you started: dinner together at the new restaurant around the corner, a massage (the best form of self-love, if you ask us), a weekend getaway to the mountains, or tickets to a show you’ve been dying to see. This is a great way to “gift” yourself self-love, without a hefty price tag.

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