I know it’s the season of giving and good cheer and “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” but I can’t help feeling stressed as hell at this time of year, between gift buying and cookie-making and trying to plaster a smile on my face at the holiday parties. Did I mention I’m also doing a cross-country move the day after Christmas? Cuz yeah, there’s that too. Deeeeeeep breath, Carrie. Deeeeeeeep breath.
So I’m forcing myself to take a few minutes of each day this December for self-care. The term “self-care” totally sounds like a term the guru at the hippie resort in Scottsdale taught your grandma during her retreat, but taking care of yourself is so important for both your mental and physical health, as well as your self-confidence and general state of mind. Here are 15 little ways you can take care of yourself during the holidays.
1. Eat healthy: I know it’s tempting to gorge on whatever’s around or order takeout every night, but I seriously promise you that you will feel way better and more energized if you actually get some green food in your diet. And drink water, too!
2. Be mindful: Right now, take a second to stop worrying about everything that needs to get done and just focus on being here and now, in the moment. Then do it few times daily, whenever you feel you need it.
3. Exercise: It’s basically the last thing I ever want to do other than have sex with Justin Bieber, but it’s really an amazing stress reliever. Endorphins aren’t a joke, y’all.
4. Say no: Don’t want to do it? Don’t feel like you can do it? Don’t be afraid to say no. Nicely, sure, but firmly.
5. Squeeze in some meditation: Even if it’s something as simple as deep breathing before you get out of bed in the morning, meditating can help calm you, center you and just generally make life seem like less of a crazy maze of wrapping paper, snow boots and to-do lists. I like the beginner’s meditation guide over at Eyla.
6. Ask for help: You don’t have to do everything yourself. Really, you don’t. Be willing to reach out and ask for help, whether it’s to request that guests bring a dish to your ugly Christmas sweater party or that you have a couple of extra days on a work deadline.
7. Sleep: Do not, I repeat, do NOT scrimp on this. Sleeping will keep your immune system ticking, your brain happy and your cells energized.
8. Stretch: Personally, I feel like my life is at least 85% better when I take five minutes every morning and night to stretch my muscles. I don’t always do it, but I always should. A couple of cat-cows, a down dog or two and a child’s pose will really hit the spot, I promise.
9. Feel festive: Dress up, paint your nails with glitter, buy a piece of sexy new lingerie, learn how to do your makeup in a fun, new way—whatever little personal touch will make you feel like you’re giving a bit of attention to yourself and your appearance, find a way to work it in.
10. Reward yourself: Seriously, you deserve it. Whatever “reward yourself” means to you, if it’s a piece of dark chocolate or an extra 30 minutes at the gym or a sequinned New Year’s Eve dress or a bottle of Jim Beam…do it.
11. Get outside: I am a huge winter wimp and could definitely stand to get my butt outside more often than I do. Sunshine, even of the colder variety, will do you good. That goes double for fresh air. I don’t mean you have to go for an eight mile hike, but maybe take your dog the long way around the park and take a few minutes to soak up the sights.
12. Vent: Do not be afraid to kvetch and moan if you need it. Meet a friend for coffee and talk shit. Vent it all out. Then go and exercise or meditate and put a little positivity in your day. It’s about balance!
13. Get drunk: Champagne is good. One hangover won’t kill you.
14. Relax: For me, long baths and teen television do the trick. Maybe for you, it’s Twin Peaks and foam rolling your knotty back. Maybe for your BFF, it’s a long run and a Katy Perry song. Maybe it’s a glass of wine, a foot massage and a copy of Catching Fire. Whatever helps you relax, make sure you find a way to do it at least a few times a week.
15. Be grateful: Take a second here and there to muse on what you’re grateful for this year, whether it’s your own accomplishments, your family and friends, your health, your pets, or One Direction’s new album. When I’m in particularly depressing periods of life, I write down three things I am grateful for each day. They can be as small as the way my dog sleeps curled against my side or as meaningful as the fact that I actually got the lease on the apartment I wanted. Try writing a few (even in the Notes section of your phone!) or make a mental list in your head each night as you’re falling asleep.
Photo: Pretty Woman