Welcome back to Take Care, b-glowing’s holiday survival blog series! We’ve been talking self-care this season, exploring ways to nurture both mind and body. This week, we’re doing some serious soul-searching, and reminding ourselves that self-care goes beyond simply “treating yourself.” In fact, it has a whole lot less to do with eating cupcakes and getting a pedicure, and a whole lot more to do with making choices for your long-term wellness. Below, ways keep our spirits (and souls) marry and bright during the holiday season:
1) Pick Up a Paperback.
Curling up with a good book = the ultimate relaxation. Reading offers a blissful form of escape, whisking your mind away from worries and transporting you to another place. Reading not only feeds, expands and nurtures the mind, it provides much-needed nourishment for the soul! According to a recent article in the The New Yorker, reading comes with a wealth of therapeutic perks—regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers. What’s more, reading puts the mind into an almost trance-like state, offering the same health benefits and deep relaxation as meditation! If that’s not good for the soul, then we don’t know what is.
Wanna know what we’re reading? Check out our b-glowing approved book list:
2) Put Your Headphones On.
As Bob Marley said, “One good thing about music, is when it hits you, you feel no pain.” There’s no doubt that listening to music can help you shake off a foul mood (Thanks, T-Swift!), but it also has a myriad of soul-bolstering benefits. Music can elevate your spirit, soothe your nerves and energize your life. According to research from the Mayo Clinic, music improves communication, enhances memory, counteracts depression, encourages feelings of relaxation, and promotes sleep. When you need a break from the season’s stresses, put on a playlist of your favorite songs, and set aside time to meditate. Close your eyes, and allow your mind to drift off to happy thoughts and memories. We promise it’ll make your soul smile.
3) Be Your Own Cheerleader.
Around the holidays, we experience a wealth of positive emotions such as happiness, love, and joy. On the other hand, the holidays can bring about more difficult feelings like anxiety and stress. One way to take care of yourself during the holidays? Use self-affirmations. According to research from Carnegie Mellon University, positive mantras can decrease anxiety, improve performance, and help you make healthier life choices. Affirmations are also powerful confidence-boosting tools on their own, especially during times of stress. Check out our Pinterest board to read some of our favorite affirmations and inspirational quotes.
4) Disconnect to Connect
Most of us have some serious smartphone addictions, and—with the holidays looming—now is a great time to unplug and connect with those around you. The holiday season is filled with family and friends—some of whom traveled far and wide to be in your company. Why waste those precious moments squinting at a screen? Honor those around you by giving them your full, undivided attention. The outcome of this quality time sans technology just might surprise you—chances are, you’ll have meaningful conversations, make precious memories, and recognize important aspects of your life that are sometimes left out of focus when you’re glued to your phone.
4) Explore the Grittier Side of Self-care
As we said before, self-care isn’t ALL about bath bombs and binge-watching Netflix. Sometimes, self-care is a very difficult, unglamorous thing to put yourself through. Sometimes, it’s less about distracting yourself from what’s wrong, and more about taking a good, hard look at what’s actually causing you stress. It could be crossing a neglected chore off your list, breaking up with a toxic friend, or enforcing a healthier routine. Below, two more difficult (but seriously important) ways to practice self-care:
Clean up your space
True self-care = lovingly attending to the problems in your life, and not simply distracting yourself from them. And sometimes, that means doing things you don’t want to do, like cleaning and decluttering your space. It might seem like a chore, but developing your own system of organization is a good way to avoid stress, and can help you achieve a sense of control in your everyday life. Ask yourself, “Is my environment helping me to succeed, or is it holding me back?” You want to enter your home and feel at peace, like there’s nothing standing in the way of your productivity and relaxation.
We can’t practice real self-care without first setting clear, healthy boundaries for ourselves. Truly great self-care means prioritizing your own needs first, and even harder —respecting them. But in a world that constantly demands things from us, setting boundaries can seem like a truly radical act. We live in a society that teaches us to please, and putting boundaries in place can feel selfish—especially around the holidays. But in reality, prioritizing yourself first gives you the energy, peace of mind and positive outlook to be more present with others. But like we said, this isn’t easy. Sticking to boundaries means learning how to communicate them. It means occasionally saying “no”, and it means disappointing some people. Though learning how to properly set boundaries is a long process, here are few steps to help you through the holiday season:
1) Be honest about what you can and cannot do. It’s way better to say “no” to a commitment up front than to say “yes”, and wind up flaking out later. You can even practice your reason for saying no before you need it: “I wish I could, but I can’t take on any more responsibilities this week.”
2)Look at your schedule and ask yourself, “Is there enough time for ME? Do I have enough time to re-group and re-energize? If not, how can I add more?”
3)Do an inventory of the people and activities in your life that drain you. Ask yourself, “How can I limit interaction with these people and events?”
4) Ask yourself, “Where am I putting someone else’s needs first to the detriment of my own? How can I vocalize or prioritize my needs?”
Saying “no” isn’t easy, but once you get in the habit, you’ll actually be able to ENJOY your relationships and activities (rather than feeling drained and resentful of them). While it might not come naturally at first, setting personal boundaries frees you up to truly experience the joy of the holiday season.
This concludes our Take Care Blog Series, but don’t worry —we’re always here to provide tips and support throughout the holiday season! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your Beauty Concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-525-4933. Happy holidays, beauties!