We just finished celebrating the most wonderful time of the year, so why do so many of us feel burnt out and run down after a season of festivities? Sure, the holidays are awesome. With Christmas cocktails, festive appetizers, a visit from Santa, and a few too many awesome dance parties? So! Much! Good! Cheer!
We tend to associate the holiday season with all things merry and bright, but in reality, the never-ending busyness, packed schedules, and constant socializing can wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. How often do we ring in the new year with a nasty hangover, lingering cold or elevated stress levels?
So, what better time to practice self-care than after a season of too much eggnog and not enough sleep? Incorporating self-care activities into your daily routine after the chaos of the holidays is an excellent way to manage your stress levels and restore your energy.
Try these 7 self-care practices to help you kick off the new year feeling refreshed and rejuvenated:
1. Follow a guided meditation
If your mind is racing with a million different thoughts, you can definitely benefit from some meditation. Setting aside a few minutes to quiet your mind and shift your attention to your breath can do wonders for your stress levels. A guided meditation is great for anyone who doesn't love being alone with their thoughts — or who is new to the whole meditation thing. Follow a meditation session on YouTube or one from a meditation app, and you’ll feel calm, cool and collected in no time.
2. Practice gratitude
Gratitude seems to be the hot topic nowadays, and it’s for good reason. When you recall a handful of people, places, objects or experiences you’re thankful for, you’ll notice a huge boost in your happiness. Although you might have been infuriated that your mother-in-law decided to stay at your place over the holidays, instead of letting that situation ruin your mood, make a mental note that you’re thankful she made the trek to your home. By making this an everyday practice, you’ll train your brain to look for the good in your daily life.
3. Warm up with a cup of tea
Sipping on a piping hot cup of tea is certainly a great way to stay warm in the winter, but the benefits don’t stop there. All the partying during the holidays can really take a toll on your body, so you may find yourself coming down with a cold. Drinking tea can help keep you hydrated, and even relieve a sore throat. The warm temperature is also soothing and relaxing, so you’ll watch all of your troubles melt away.
4. Take a digital detox
Now more than ever before do we live in a digital world. This holiday season, we've been particularly glued to our devices. Whether you’re on a holiday Zoom get-together, checking Instagram to see what your friends are up to, or continuously refreshing your inbox in case you missed an important email — our screens can prevent us from living in the moment. Once the new year comes along, take a break from all the chatter on the internet by setting your phone to “Do Not Disturb,” putting your phone on airplane mode, or turning it off entirely. A digital detox can limit distractions, which should help to keep your stress levels down.
5. Get some fresh air
There’s something about spending time in the great outdoors that’s so refreshing, but we tend to miss out on that valuable experience during the winter months. The cold weather tends to keep us cooped up inside, so we often resort to sitting down and staring at a screen. Staying put for a long period of time can make you feel even more tired and stressed than you already are, so bundle up, get your body moving and soak up the sun. Go for a brisk walk with your dog, shovel the driveway, or arrange an ice skating outing with your friends to get those endorphins flowing.
6. Fix yourself a nutritious meal
Eating a healthy meal loaded with fruits and veggies is not only a great way to stick to your New Year’s resolution, but it’s also the perfect solution to recovering from a crazy holiday season. Yes, your body will definitely crave all the vitamins and nutrients after indulging in hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies, but so will your mind. Eating nutrient-dense food will give you a natural surge of energy, fight off sadness, and even promote better sleep.
7. Have a spa day
You probably won’t have the funds to splurge on an expensive facial and massage, especially after a season full of giving (and spending). But! You can totally zen out without breaking the bank. Access your inner calm in a more affordable and convenient way by setting up a DIY spa at home. Draw a warm bath, light a few candles, turn on soothing music and put on a face mask for a truly relaxing experience.