Taking Care Of Yourself During The Festive Period - Your 24 Day Self Care Guide
Christmas - it’s the most wonderful time of the year isn’t it? At least, it starts out that way, until the festive merriment catches up with you and you end up with a stinking cold, a suffering bank balance, and a diet that resembles a child let loose at a birthday party. Every single year I start December feeling full of gusto and excitement, and yet, but the time Christmas week rolls around, I find myself exhausted, poorly, and rather deflated. But this year will be different, and that’s because I’ve learned a few things about self care in 2018. I used to think it was all bubble baths and face masks, but I now know that self care is quite simple - the more emphasis you put on looking after yourself, the better daughter/friend/partner/colleague/parent you can be.
And so, as we approach the season that often sees us pulled in every single direction, I wanted to write a little something to remind us all to keep an eye on our own wellbeing. And as I sat and started writing down some tips, I realised that it would be quite fun to create a guide that we can keep referring back to throughout the month - a sort of self care advent calendar if you will! In fact, I've even created a little PDF advent calendar version that you can download and print off here: #myselfcareadvent.
I really hope it helps you all have a fun, restful and enjoyable festive season - feel free to pass it on to anybody you think could benefit from it. And if you want to share how you’re embracing the self love during the Christmas period, hop on over to Instagram and use the hashtag #myselfcareadvent on your posts and stories. I’ll be sure to share any ideas or tips that you lot come up with throughout the month…
1) Set a healthy habit for December. The festive period can wreak havoc with our diets, sleeping patterns and exercise plans, so before the party season gets into full swing, make a little commitment to yourself to stick to one healthy habit for the month of December. It might be taking your vitamins or eating breakfast everyday, but this little daily act of self care will help to keep you fighting fit throughout the month.
2) Check your diary for the month ahead. Social commitments come thick and fast in December, and if you’re not careful, you can end up with something in the diary every single day. Spend some time today reviewing your plans for the rest of the month, and blocking out some down time where you can.
3) Take a lunchtime walk. It can be hard at this time of year when you’re going to work and coming home in the dark, and you’re probably starting to feel the effects of your dwindling vitamin D levels. Commit to leaving your desk at lunchtime today to take a little walk - your mind and body will thank you for it.
4) Write down 3 things you like about yourself. We focus on the things we don’t like about ourselves all of the time, so today your challenge is to write down three things you really like about yourself. Don’t be shy - get them down on paper and feel proud!
5) Have an early night. Getting a good night’s sleep can do amazing things for your mood, so commit to at least 8 hours tonight. Put your phone in another room, slip into your favourite PJs and climb into bed with a good book - you’ll feel amazing for it tomorrow.
6) Wear your favourite outfit. I’m a big fan of not saving things for best, so today, pick out your favourite outfit and wear it to work. You won’t believe how happy it will make you to wear the items that bring you joy - plus, you’ll probably feel pretty sassy too.
7) Do something kind. Doing something kind for someone else is the ultimate win-win - you feel good, they feel good! So today, buy a coffee for a colleague, donate to charity, give somebody a compliment, or simply just smile at strangers on your commute. Your little act of kindness will spread.
8) Cut back on the screen time. We’re all guilty of spending too much time on our phones, and we all know that it not only zaps our time, but can also be pretty damaging for our mental healthy too. Today, commit to spending a decent chunk of time away from your phone, and see how great you feel as a result.
9) Do the annoying thing on your to do list. We all have that one niggly thing on our to do list that we never get round to - today, do yourself a huge favour and just do it. You won’t believe how great you’ll feel once it’s not sitting on your list anymore.
10) Listen to your favourite music while you get ready. Those dark mornings are getting pretty wearisome now, so make Monday a little bit better by blasting your favourite music while you get ready. What better way to start the week than with a little dance?
11) Start a compliments file. If you’re anything like me, you hold onto every piece of criticism or crappy feedback, and forget the compliments. Do yourself a favour and start a compliments file - any time anyone gives you positive feedback, make a note of it in a Google doc or notebook, then when you’re having a bad day or feeling insecure, you can be reminded of how awesome you are.
12) Cook from scratch. It’s so easy at this time of year to exist solely on Christmas sandwiches, advent calendar chocolate and prosecco, so today, carve out some time to cook something from scratch. Not only will the food taste amazing, the act of cooking will help you to relax too.
13) Read. When life is busy and it feels like you have social commitments and admin coming out of your ears, nothing feels like a bigger luxury than curling up with a good book. Try and find half an hour today to simply sit and read, whether it’s on your commute to work or snuggled up in bed.
14) Take some time just for you. When was the last time you did something just for you? I’m guessing it’s been a while. Today, clear an hour in your diary to do whatever you most feel like doing - exercising, taking a bath, sleeping, shopping - and enjoy every second.
15) Embrace your inner child. Christmas is all about kids, so today embrace your inner child and remember the magic! Whether it’s getting creative with paints and pencils, or simply watching your favourite childhood film, do something that makes you remember how magical this season felt when you were small.
16) Get prepared for the week ahead. The last week before Christmas is always busy and intense, so do yourself a favour today and get prepared. Do a food shop, give your house a little spring clean, and make sure you’ve made all the necessary arrangements for the next few days. That way you’ll be able to actually enjoy the festive build up.
17) Get your 5 a day. Chances are you’re starting to feel the festive fatigue right about now, so give your body a little love in the form of your 5 a day. Consuming a bit of fruit and veg amongst the inevitable tins of Roses and Celebrations will make you feel great.
18) Have a social media clear out. You know those people you follow on Instagram that can sometimes make you feel a little bit crappy? It’s time to mute or unfollow them. Christmas can make us all feel a little bit vulnerable, so having a social media clear out will help to make the next few weeks a bit easier - plus, it’ll stop you falling down a comparison hole in the new year.
19) Have a laugh. My favourite way to feel good is by having a proper belly laugh. Watch some stand up comedy on Netflix, or hang out with your funniest friends - getting the giggles will help those positive endorphins flow and have you feeling great in no time.
20) Plan something fun for January. While we’re all getting swept up in the festive fun, it can be easy to forget that January is merely days away. Take some time out today to plan something fun for the most depressing month of the year - your future self will thank you for it.
21) Treat yourself. Chances are you’ve spent a lot of money buying gifts for your loved ones this month, so today, buy yourself a little treat too. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or expensive - just a little something that will remind you that you’re important too.
22) Make something.The joy of making something is that you don’t really have much choice than to slow down and focus on the task at hand. During such a busy week that’s probably something we all need, so today get making - it doesn’t matter whether you bake cookies, knit a scarf or start a scrapbook, it’s the act of slowing down and concentrating that will make you feel great.
23) Reflect on your achievements this year. We’ve almost made it to Christmas! Before you start swigging the Baileys and chain eating mince pies, take 15 minutes out today to reflect on everything you’ve achieved this year. We spend so much time working towards our goals but rarely ever stop to give ourselves a pat on the back, so before you throw yourself into those new year’s resolutions, make a list of all the great stuff you’ve made happen this year and feel proud.
24) Focus on the here and now. Christmas Eve is here and there’s only one self care prompt that I could share, and that’s to be super present and focus on the here and now. Christmas comes but once a year, so soak it in and really make the most of spending quality time with your loved ones. Merry Christmas!
Don't forget to download a PDF version of the advent calendar here: #myselfcareadvent.