As much as I love this time of year, I know how tough it can be to make time for self care. Somehow every year from November to January 1st it seems our schedules become packed with holidays, parties, gatherings, and running around shopping and prepping. All of a sudden we get to New Year’s day and we wonder why we feel so exhausted when we should be feeling energized to tackle the resolutions we set. We end up going into the new year feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. You may even find that your cycle seems off or your PMS is worse after the holidays.
When we don’t take time to take care of ourselves and our hormones during the holidays, we end up feeling burnt out by the time we get to January 1st. You may be wondering how on earth you could possibly carve out extra time for self care during the busiest time of year, but I’m here to show you how simple it can. You don’t need an extravagant self care routine, a juice cleanse, or 5 hours blocked out on your calendar in order to nourish your body and soul — You just need yourself and a few key self care options that you can implement when you need them.
For all of my die-hard routine followers, I love you and wish I could be more like you, but I know deep down I can’t commit to the exact same routine every day — So if you’re like me, this blog post is for you! When it comes to self care, what works for me some days is not going to work other days. I have found that it’s best to keep my self care rituals and routines flexible, especially during this busy season. Pressuring yourself to stick to something that isn’t truly sustainable during this time will only add more stress, which is the exact opposite of what we are going for here.
First, check in with yourself at least several times each week to see what you need. Then, decide how much time you have to give yourself (be realistic here and don’t set yourself up to feel overwhelmed by overcommitting to something you truly don’t have time for). If you have more time, take it! If you can schedule a few blocks of longer time for self care on your calendar, that’s great, but don’t let a lack of time get in the way of you taking time for yourself, even if it’s just 5 minutes.
Below, I’ve provided some options (listed out by how long they take so you can plan accordingly) and ideas based on my own self care rituals. Feel free to take what you need, try them on and see what feels best for you. Once you know what works, you can keep those options in your back pocket for the moments or days when you know your body and mind needs some extra love and care this holiday season.
- Deep breaths — This is the easiest one you can do anywhere! Focusing on your breath helps to calm your nervous system and relieve anxiety and stress. Practice breathing in for 4 counts, and breathing out for 4 counts.
- Counting your blessings — Take 5 minutes and think about all of the things you are grateful for this season. I promise if you are having a bad day or going through a rough time, thinking about what you are grateful for will help to shift your perspective. Click here to check out Dr. Jolene Brighten’s article on The Benefits of Gratitude for Your Hormones.
- Journaling — I am not someone who sits down to write a novel in my journal (if you love writing, go forth and conquer!) — I’m more of a list kind of gal. So if you’re pressed on time, don’t feel like you need to write a lot. One of my favorite journals is the Own Your Everyday Journal by Soulscripts.
- Prayer or meditation — For me, it can look like reading a page out of a devotional, reading a passage in the bible, listening to worship music or a meditation. Sometimes I will couple this with some yin yoga or some stretching. The point here is to take some quiet time for yourself where you can decompress and rest your mind, whatever that looks like for you.
- Hot tea or lemon water — I love the ritual of brewing a hot cup of tea! I pick out my little tea packet, boil the water in my tea pot and watch the water pour into my favorite mug. It gives me a few moments to relax my mind and unwind from the day. Bonus: Ginger and peppermint tea or a squeeze of fresh lemon are great for indigestion during the holidays!
- Nourish your body — Part of taking care of yourself is feeding your body the nutrients it needs. That can look like a nutrient-dense smoothie, a healthy breakfast, meal prepping some healthy snacks for your week or opting for a salad with protein when you go out. Eating well through the holidays doesn’t have to be a complicated chore, we just need to focus on nourishing the bodies that God gave us to the best of our abilities with the resources we have in the moment.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate — Staying hydrated has always been a challenge for me, and I’ve had to figure out how make it a part of my daily routine even when I get busy. I keep a water bottle with me all day and keep refilling it. If you need to spice it up, add a fresh squeeze of lemon or a packet of LMNT Salt for an extra hydrating kick + some electrolytes! If you’re feeling burnt out, adding some LMNT Salt to your water can help support your adrenals as well.
- A hot epsom salt bath with essential oils — On those bitter cold days, I love coming home and drawing myself a bath with lavender essential oil, epsom salts and some candles. Sometimes I will light a little incense and grab a good book or listen to a meditation or podcast. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate!
- Yoga or a good workout — There are so many health benefits to moving your body, but it also benefits your mind! Taking a yoga class or getting a workout in can help to reduce stress and take your mind off all the craziness of the season, helping you to feel more refreshed and energized. Check out some of my yoga routines on my IG TV!
- Try a new recipe — When I have the extra time, I love to cook and find new recipes to try. Check out my Pinterest for some easy, delicious and healthy recipes to try! While I’m cooking, I love to play music and jam out! Grab your fave playlist and get cooking!
- Read a favorite book — I don’t know about you, but sometimes sitting down with a good read feels so good for my soul. It gets me off my phone and I get to dive into another world, or learn something new! Pairs well with a fuzzy blanket and a cup of your fave tea.
- Take a nap or sleep in — If you’re feeling tapped out, your body may be telling you it needs some extra rest, especially during the menstrual phase of your cycle. Don’t be afraid to take a nap and allow yourself some much needed rest during this time.
- Social media detox — If I have an entire day where I’m not obligated to be on my phone (I know these are few and far between!), I love doing a social media cleanse. There is just something about getting off social media for a day that is so refreshing and helps me reset when I’m feeling overwhelmed or uninspired. In fact, Brian and I have started to make this a ritual for ourselves on Sundays and it has been such a game changer. Every Sunday we stay off our phones as much as possible, and absolutely no social media during this time. I know this isn’t always possible, but if you have the time give it a try!
Tell me, what’s your favorite self care ritual? Let me know in the comments below!
Cheers! — Spencer