Self-care tips as we head into the festive season

‘Self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation’ – Audre Lorde

Maybe it’s the long Winter evenings or perhaps it’s the sight of Christmas trees and decorations appearing in the shops. Maybe it’s the traditional Christmas adverts on TV or the anticipation on children’s faces. Maybe there’s a sparkle of something in the air. Whatever the reason, November begins the lead up to the festive season for many of us. But, as we’ve talked about before, Christmas can be a very stressful time for all sorts of reasons. Whilst self-care is important all year round, at this time of year it’s perhaps even more vital.

Christmas is coming! (Photo by Laura James on Pexels.com)

So what kind of things can we do? Well, here are a few suggestions . . .

Let your mind unwind – there’s so many things to think about, cards to write, presents to buy, food to plan, parties to attend, guests to accommodate, it’s no wonder our brains go into overdrive and we struggle to cope. Taking some time every day to just breathe is a great way to unwind and relax. No thoughts allowed though, just breathe!

Try journalling – sometimes when we have so many thoughts whirling away in our heads, it can be a good idea to get them down on paper. List writing helps too but journalling allows us to write all our thoughts as we think them, rather than having to organise them into logical patterns. Journalling is a well known tool for improving mental health.

Get cosy – we might be cutting back on the central heating this year, but we can still make ourselves warm and cosy when we settle down for the evening. Lovely, warm, fluffy socks, big jumpers, cosy blankets and hot water bottles cost nothing to use. Or how about a candle or two which gives that lovely gentle glow when we’re relaxing.

Get cosy! (Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

Make sleep a priority – when we’re busy, it’s so easy to go to bed later and later. We might also suffer with disturbed sleep as our minds are still mentally active with all the things we need to think about. There are plenty of suggestions out there for encouraging restful sleep, such as making sure your room is dark and quiet, doing some yoga stretches before bed, writing a to-do list for tomorrow so you can forget the things on your mind, trying a lavender sleep spray and having a warm milky drink before bed. What works will be different for all of us but it’s well worth prioritising sleep.

Do some physical activity – finding the time to do an activity we enjoy has plenty of benefits. As well as boosting our well-being, staying active keeps our bodies healthy, fights off germs, sharpens our focus and helps us to sleep better. Exercise releases endorphins – the feel good hormone – so grab those trainers and get moving! Anything is good but at least 30 minutes of an activity which raises our heart rate will give the best benefits.

Presents are for you too! – presents don’t have to mean expense. How about gifting yourself an hour with a good book or podcast? Sometimes we need to take time to think about what we would really like? Enjoy cooking? Then how about cooking yourself a fabulous meal? Craving fresh air? Then get wrapped up and go for a walk, really noticing the things around you. Or how about visiting a friend and catching up over a coffee or starting that craft project?

Magical Christmas (Photo by Mu0103lina Su00eerbu on Pexels.com)

Want to make things a little extra special? I love the idea that we shouldn’t save our best clothes for going out, we should wear our favourite outfit and smile every time we catch sight of ourselves in the mirror. Why save those mugs or plates for when someone comes over? Use them every day and to make mealtimes even more special, we could set the table, even if it’s a meal for one. Maybe even light a candle and drink water from a special glass, anything that makes something ordinary a little more extraordinary! How about printing and framing some favourite photographs? How lovely to be able to savour those special memories every day rather than keeping them in a box or on a hard drive! So many tiny tweaks this week, which one will you choose?!

Until next time xx

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