Thursday, December 3, 2015

12 Ways to Practice Self Care // Beating the Holiday Stress

Happy December everyone! 

The holidays are upon us, and while they come with more than their fair share of fun ... they can also bring stress. So it seemed like the right time for this post. :)

If you remember this post you'll remember that I was having a rough 2015, and came to some revelations related to self care. Y'all were super supportive, and many of you openly admitted that you struggle with self care too, and shared your favorite ways to practice treating yourselves.

Well, I've finally compiled them! Here you have 50+ ways to practice self care:
  1. Going to bed early - sleep is so important for our health and emotional well being. Go to bed just a little earlier every night, it will make a big difference.
  2. Going for a walk - the combination of movement, and possibly being outside is a great way to destress and spend some time with others or just your own thoughts.
  3. Drinking tea - It's warm, it's calming, it puts your focus somewhere else while you drink it. It can also be a healthier way to intake caffeine
  4. Doing Yoga - exercise and relaxation all in one.
  5. Lighting Candles - when your surroundings are soothing, it is easier to be calm.
  6. Taking photos - capturing moments, places, people, and things that are important to you can be a great way to focus on gratitude and creativity.
  7. Spend time in or by the water - Water is so good for you, and it can be therapeutic and calming as well. Drink a glass of water, walk by the ocean or another body of water, take a hot bath or shower. Even putting up a picture of a beach or body of water on your wall or screensaver could be helpful. 
  8. Read a book - delve into a good story, sit and relax, discuss with friends, reading is a great way to take care of yourself.
  9. Bake or cook something - cooking is both active and productive. But it can also be a great way to relax and think, and even a creative outlet.
  10. Reading blogs - read about your interests in a format that you enjoy. I love to read blogs to find out what everyone is thinking about and doing. You can find a lot of people discussing things that you are interested in if you just no where to look. It's a great way to join a community as well. Not being totally alone is definitely self care!
  11. Cry - (watch a sad movie if you need help getting started) - Brittany & Kristen 
  12. Time with pets - pets have been proven to reduce stress which has many health benefits. They lower blood pressure, increase exercise, and have been linked to greater longevity. 
  13. Saying "no" - when you are busy, or focusing on taking care of yourself, sometimes you need to say no. Say no to making plans, to taking on new tasks and assignments, to obligations. Sometimes things can seem like fun, and you don't want to say no and hurt feelings, but it's the right thing to do for YOU.
  14. Prayer or meditation - both of these can be a great way to de-stress and focus on what is important to you, what is going on in your life. These methods can help you feel connected to something greater than yourself, for a lot of people this helps with stress and self care.
  15. Keeping a gratitude journal (even a simple one!) - focusing on gratitude helps you feel more content and focused on the good things.
  16. Paint your nails or get a manicure - it doesn't have to be expensive or fancy. A little change can perk you up.
  17. Get your hair cut - it's good hygiene, but like with manicures it can give you a much needed change.
  18. Get a massage - A great way to think about nothing but relaxing. A great way to reduce muscle tension and stress. 
  19. Stay home - sometimes you just need to spend time at home!
  20. Go out - sometimes you just really need out of the house!
  21. Quality time with your significant other, close friends, or family
  22. Write away your stresses - do whatever works for you. Writing is physical so I think it helps, but tear it up, burn it! Do whatever you need to do!
  23. Eat healthfully - even when you don't want to, it really does make you feel better!
  24. Have a (responsible) drink - alcohol has been suggested to relate to longevity and stress relief. Don't abuse it, but folks who have a drink a day tend to live longer.
  25. Listen to music - your favorite album, something from your past, something happy, something you can sing and dance to, something sad... whatever you want. Maybe it's the LOTR soundtrack, whatever works for you!
  26. Go out with your significant other, friends or family - time out and about doing something fun can do wonders.Treating it like an occasion makes it different, giving you a change of pace.
  27. Treat yourself - buy that ice cream, the new book, the earrings that aren't on sale. You don't have to go crazy, but you don't need to deny yourself everything either. 
  28. Clear clutter - clean, organize, get it out of your house! Physical clutter definitely contributes to mental stress!
  29. Volunteer
  30. Do something nice for someone else - here are 12 ideas! Sometimes self care is letting yourself help others out. Nothing puts a smile on my face like giving a "gift". :) 
  31. Use a Planner or Journal to get Organized
  32. Revisit your goals - are you striving towards goals that are out of date? Of course that will cause stress. Take some time to reevaluate what you want right now, in three months, in six months, in a year. etc. I was AMAZED how much mine had changed!
  33. Organize Something - could be your planner, your closet, anything! Starting with something small gives you quick results, and you'll feel better right away.
  34. Scratch something off your to-do list that's been there for a while - again, start small!
  35. Spend time outside - even just your neighborhood! Or sit by the water, take in the view of the mountains. We do not spend enough time outdoors (myself so included!)
  36. Unplug - give your divided attention to your loved ones, pets, books, to your own self care. It's hard to do, but it is important.
  37. Turn the buzzing off on your phone - this one was a game changer for me! I would be juggling work emails buzzing, friends texting about plans, emails from clients and printers all at once. Each buzz had me feeling more and more anxious. It's off now, and I feel so much more calm. I can give my undivided attention to those things individually when I have time to!
  38. Turn off notifications in your apps - same as the buzzing, seeing those little red bubbles causes us to feel the need to get rid of them. If they aren't important, turn them off!
  39. Unfollow or unfriend - that person who never has anything positive to say? Unfollow. An account you NEVER read? Unfollow. Get that negativity and clutter out of your feed. :) (btw, you can always choose to unfriend instead, but if you don't want to go that far, unfollowing someone's feed is a great way to go!) 
  40. Revive an old hobby - you know that thing you love, but are too busy for? Pick it up again. Making it a priority will give you time to do it! Scrapbooking, piano, gardening, etc.
  41. Start a new hobby - this could be on your own, or with a friend or significant other. We met a couple on our cruise a few years ago who ballroom dance and practice archery as a couple. Cool! It could be as simple as making a point to read/watch a new genre, learn a language, or as official as joining a group/class/club. (online classes are a great option for homebodies! They have them on all kinds of activities and subjects!) Let me tell you, taking a 6 week belly dancing class was one of most fun things I've tried! & I signed up for a second one after it was over!
  42. Plan or take a trip - it doesn't have to be to an exotic location or for 2 weeks to make a difference. A day or weekend spent in a nearby city can do the trick. Sometimes we just need a change in our surroundings. Look at something new for a day!
  43. Personalize your desk space at work - making it "you" and homey can make you feel better about being there.
  44. Escape reality - sometimes you just need out of your own head. Watch a movie, read a book, start a new TV show. There's nothing quite like diving into a different world for a while to help you forget some of your worries.
  45. Make something with your hands - cook, bake, paint, make a wall collage, write out a quote for your desk, build something for your home...  the list goes on! Even making something small can let out some creative energy. Even if you didn't know you had it!
  46. Learn about something new - I was such a "school person" - I know not everyone is, but humans are curious by nature... we need to learn. You don't have to full on study something to remember how interesting the world can be. You could do something as small as read an article or facts about something really interesting. Maybe it's about a place you want to visit, or a time period a favorite book was set in, maybe its a new animal or planet that has been discovered... it doesn't matter what it is! Just learning something new can refresh your point of view and zest for life. 
  47. Clean out your closest - get rid of all of those clothes that don't fit, you don't wear etc. Return things you don't need but just bought, donate the old stuff, host a clothing swap, empty some hangers. Find out what you are in need of and update those basics! Don't forget the dresser... there are few things that will make you feel worse than ill fitting undies and socks that have lost their elastic. 
  48. Go for a drive - long drives always clear my head. Listening to music, putting the windows down. Talking with KC, taking a road trip. On the road can be a great place to relax, and a great place to see nature (depending on where you live!). 
  49. Exercise / Move your body - exercise has obvious benefits and allows you to let out some of your energy and emotions. Sometimes, moving is a more feasible option and just as helpful. Taking a 10 minute walk during your work day, taking the stairs at work, dancing to music while cooking dinner or cleaning the house, going to a concert or club to dance... any movement helps!
  50. Cut yourself some slack - it's a busy world, and self care can be difficult. It is definitely worth pursuing, but sometimes, acknowledging that you are doing the best you can is a good first step. Letting yourself be ok with where you are, and knowing that baby steps are steps just the same.

A movie and a glass of wine - Emily

I like to cook with the best ingredients. I also like to make Lemon Blueberry buttermilk pancakes on the Sunday. - Bryan

Getting my nails done or treating myself to Starbucks iced green tea! - Kelsey

I get stressed very easily, so I love treating myself to a shop day twice a month! I'll usually give myself an allowance, and I've learned to shop quality over quantity. Some months I might skip that extra shop day and treat myself to a mani/pedi, a trim, or an eyebrow wax; something that'll shake me up a little. - Amanda

I like to buy a new book or a new outfit (when I can- especially the book) and sometimes I like to pamper myself with nails or a new hair do. Otherwise, my favorite way to pamper myself is to take a nap on the weekend curled up with my pups and hubby and not setting an alarm!  -- Oh and to REALLY treat myself (schedule/tour permitting) my absolute favorite thing to do is go to a live show and dance! No better way to release stress! - Megan

Starbucks, getting a pedicure, going out for drinks with friends, taking a bubble bath, going shopping for clothes or makeup, going to a fancy restaurant or making really delicious food at home, a scrumptious dessert, watching tv in bed (which I usually try to avoid for the sake of good sleep hygiene), renting or going to a movie, lighting candles, decorating for different seasons and holidays . . .  - Aubrey

Mix up some type of a DIY facial or body scrub. Take a slow, unrushed shower. Read a book. Go for a slow walk outside. - Bridget

I like getting my brows waxed. Fresh brows are happy brows! - Alicia

Trip to the thrift store! - Twyla

I LOVE getting my hair done! Paying someone to brush my hair makes me feel like a princess. - Brande

Allowing myself serious me time when I need it: even if it doesn't involve changing out of pajamas or taking a shower or leaving the house. (For an entire weekend). And NOT feeling guilty about it. - Rachel

Chocolate wine and a "page turner" mystery! - Kathy

Quiet time is necessary for this mama's self care! Quiet stillness, eyes closed. I focus on long, deep breaths. And probably some wine, and a long hot shower. - Jenny

Painting. Good books. Maybe some nice flowers or a plant. Idk what ever the mood calls for I guess. - Autumn

I LOVE massages! - Judy

Some of my favorites from my self care list are going to bed early, walking, doing yoga, drinking tea, lighting candles, and spending time with my camera. These things never fail to energize me and inspire me! :) - Lauren

The top of my self-care list would be reading, baking, and catching up on blog reading. - Shea

Thank you so much for contributing to this list, and for helping me feel better when I'm having a hard time. & thank you to those who are keeping it real on the internet! It's not all glitter and sponsorship. ;) I've linked in bloggers who gave their feedback, the others are good friends and family. :)

I hope some of you guys are able to use this list to focus on self care during the holiday season. Through travel, busy weeks, and family time I know I'm not the only one who will need to take some time for myself.



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