Hello world! It’s been a while. Life’s been keeping me steadily busy. However, it was high time that I report here–to check in. With the holidays quickly approaching (how the hell is it November 2018 already? Where did the time go?), I’ve been giving myself reminders of how I can ensure myself a chill, peaceful holiday this year. And then I realized that everyone needs these reminders as much as I do.
The holidays can hold a lot of warmth, love, peace, fantastic food, fun gatherings, great memories… But they can also harbor a lot of unnecessary stress, toxicity, sad reminders and illness.
This post is all about reminding you to take care of yourself this holiday season–in simple ways. Life is too complicated enough as it is for extravagant ways to do things anyway, right? I’m all about the easy, quick wins when it comes to self-care. All of those quick wins add up to one big victory: your overall health, inside and out.
Self-Care Tip #1: Stay hydrated.
Recently, I read that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated–I am definitely amongst them, as I get dehydrated easily. I’m also one of those people who get wrecked when dehydration hits. I get the spins, headaches, overheat, fatigue and nausea. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to truly realize the importance and power of drinking water. By staying hydrated, you’re flushing out toxins from your body, boosting your immune system, improving your complexion, maintaining regular digestion, preventing headaches, regulating your body temperature, minimizing bad breath (because no one wants to talk to you when your mouth is like a cavern of death)… the list goes on!
There are a lot of creative ways to keep yourself drinking water throughout the day. I’ve found that hooking up with an “accountabili-buddy” helps. Or marking your water bottle with tick marks to track your progress for the day. Me personally, I do a better job of staying on track with a glass water bottle with a reusable straw–for some reason, it makes it more fun and easier to consume! My friends also know me well enough that when I’m starting to not feel well, the first thing they’ll ask me is if I drank enough water. Ha!
Self-Care Tip #2: Surround Yourself with Positive People.
I’ve preached this quite a few times on the blog and I’ll never stop. When you surround yourself with people who lift you up, help you up when you’ve fallen down and just make you feel like sunshine and rainbows, you reflect that into the universe. I think this is especially important for the holidays when we’re having to endure and balance the pressures of consumerism, family (whether biological or chosen), work, and the things we want to do for ourselves. Your squad will support you no matter what, and you’ll do the same in return. Stand with your positive tribe of people.
Self-Care Tip #3: Give Yourself Permission to Exit Toxic Events.
Nothing like the holidays to remind you of the awful dynamics that could exist among your family, friends, cohorts and colleagues! When Aunt Bertha decides to crack open the Pinot Gris for herself to get properly shit-housed and yap about how she’s not racist because [insert poor excuse here], give yourself the OK to exit that hot mess and move onto something better. You don’t need that kind of negativity and hate in your life. It is absolutely okay to leave situations that make you feel uncomfortable, targeted, attacked, or stir up memories you never wish had come back up to the surface.
Self-Care Tip #4: Take Care of Your Skin.
My skin gets tarnished and dried out when the autumn season hits. It’s a sign that I need to up my skincare routine and drink more water (ha!). All year round, I apply body lotion when I’m done showering and use moisturizer for my face day and night, but when the colder season hits, I incorporate a hydrating face mask every other night into my routine. Sometimes every night if I’m feeling especially dry!
My holy grail skin care products are:
- Trader Joe’s Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion – inexpensive and excellent all year round for my dry-combination skin. It has a very light scent, creamy–not watery–consistency, absorbs fast, and has SPF 15! If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, I suggest getting it there, as it’s cheaper in store than it is online.
- Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask – I just started using this mask. So far, it’s been effective! I appreciate how light it is and how I’m not slathering a thick, messy paste on my face that’s a pain to remove. With this, you just apply using your fingers to a fresh, clean, dry face and wipe with a warm, damp cloth after 10 minutes. Easy peasy! You can find this at Sephora or you can order straight from the Summer Fridays website.
- Lush Mint Julips Lip Scrub – With big lips like mine, you can’t afford to have dry, cracked lips. It looks and feels awful, I tend to pick at the dry skin, and it makes my lipstick look like it went through a cheese grater. Every time the skin on my lips are dry, I use this lip scrub from Lush and it makes a huge difference! If you’re not into the mint flavor and scent, there are others available like bubblegum, chocolate, honey, cranberry and black currant!
- Lush Oatifix Mask – If you don’t want to drop the $48+ for the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask and happen to have a Lush store near you, pick up this amazing mask for about $8 if you’re suffering from dry skin. Even the most cracked, burning, red dry skin will be revitalized with this–and I’m speaking from experience here. I went to Vancouver, Canada a few years ago in December, and my skin got wrecked by the bone chillingly icy winds and frost! I got this mask as soon as I came across a Lush store and was so very thankful with its effectiveness. Plus, I smelled like banana oatmeal cookies… Mmm. The only downside to this is that you can’t purchase it online and it’s only good for a week because of the fresh ingredients they use (no preservatives!).
Self-Care Tip #5: Don’t Feel Pressured to Buy Extravagant Gifts for People.
I’ve always prided myself in being known as an excellent gift giver. I just know what will get people really jazzed! But Christmas time would always be the bane of my wallet’s existence for that very reason. Now, in recent years, I’ve been able to still achieve my title, but I’ve been incorporating my baking and artistic talents. Let’s be real: people love good food and quirky, creative spins on their favorite things. So if you can bake/cook something they love, or take one of their favorite things and make a creative project with it to present to them, they go bananas–in a good way! It’s okay to still buy things for your loved ones, but don’t ever feel the need to go overboard to impress them. They already love you for you!
(And if they don’t and they need you to impress them with gifts… then it’s high time you reconsider having them in your life.)
Self-Care Tip #6: Take the Time to Unplug.
We’re in a time where we are slaves to technology–we’ve got mini computers in our hands all the time, we communicate digitally most of the time, and we have our eyes glued to monitors and televisions. Give your eyes, brain and soul a break! Consider doing an “electronic fast” to reconnect with yourself, your people (face to face) and nature. Go for a hike, read a book someplace cozy, explore a new place, visit a museum… the world is your oyster! You’ll feel much better for it, I promise.
Self-Care Tip #7: Get Good Sleep.
Getting proper, consistent sleep has huge benefits. I’m one of those people who can’t function right without 7-8 hours of sleep or if I go to sleep at unusual times as per my norm. (My typical bedtime is 9-9:30pm.) Meaning, even if I go to bed at midnight and get eight hours of sleep, I’m still not at 100%. I’m still tired, not as sharp as I normally am and can be easily frazzled by negative stressors. With good sleep, your body is able to recover sooner, your immune system is boosted, your cognitive functions, concentration and productivity improve, your anxiety lessens, your risk for heart disease and strokes is lessened, and so much more. So don’t fret about going to bed or napping when you’re tired–listen to your body. Catch those z’s!
Self-Care Tip #8: Learn Something New.
If you’re not learning, you’re not growing. Take the time to teach yourself a new language, a new skill, a new word–it doesn’t have to be anything huge! I always feel so accomplished when I learn something new and apply it as soon as possible. I’ve been (slowly) teaching myself French via DuoLingo and have been picking up American Sign Language a little at a time with friends who speak the language fluently. I also learned how to embroider raised roses and now I just can’t stop doing it. Additionally, a new habit I’ve formed is pausing what I’m doing and looking up a word I don’t know the definition to as I come across it. The latest word I’ve had to look up was eucatastrophe, which is “a happy ending to a story.”
Self-Care Tip #9: Treat Yourself Too.
I enjoy showering people with gifts and goodies. It’s just in my nature to bring happiness to people, I guess. With that though, I run the risk of draining all of the happiness from within myself and just turning into an irritable, drained, anti-social, weepy person who dislikes themselves. This directly fits in with the laws of give and take. There’s only so much happiness we can all give before “our well” runs dry! In reality, this tip touches on two things: like we talked about earlier, spend time and energy on people who genuinely care for you and make you happy, and don’t forget to treat yourself too. You’re making a gift for a friend and you decide that you like your creation, and that you want one for your own humble abode? Why not make something for yourself too? Or maybe you’re out shopping for a family member and you spot something you really like. If you’re not breaking the bank or your budget, why not get it? You deserve all the goodness in the world too!
Self-Care Tip #10: Eat Well and Without Shame.
One of the things I get really excited about with the holidays coming up is the food. The stuffing/dressing, the biscuits, the gravy, the mashed potatoes, the variety of pies, the cookies, the casseroles, the appetizers… My mouth is watering now. It’s always around this time that I absentmindedly say to myself, “Wow, how am I going to lose all the weight?” or “I need to not eat so many carbohydrates because I’m going to look like a beached whale.”
And we’ve all heard it from other people, right? I mean, even television characters and articles on the internet say it. And sometimes about other people!
Let’s disassemble that right now. Eat whatever you want to eat–you are fantastic just the way you are, and mashed potatoes and stuffing slathered in gravy aren’t going to ruin you. And you deserve food. Your body deserves food. We need food to sustain ourselves, to thrive, to live–don’t hold yourself hostage from food because you’re afraid your body’s going to turn into a blimp or you’re going to look like a piggy. (Also, piggies are cute. No shame there.)
Stop shaming yourself because you’re nourishing your body.
Now that I’ve written this list, I realize these tips apply all year round! But seriously though–remember to practice self-care this holiday season. You deserve good things, as well as good health!