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5 Simple Ways to Encourage Self Care This Holiday Season

5 Simple Ways to Encourage Self Care this Holiday Season | @thismessisours

It seems like the holidays come around sooner every year. Before I could get myself together for Halloween, Christmas was already apparent in every major retail store. Hold on now. It’s hard to stay present and not feel rushed through the holidays when everything is telling you to speed up, do more, buy more. Before you get caught up in the holiday hoopla, do yourself a favor — pause and remember that you cannot pour from an empty well. You don’t need to wait until the New Year to start making changes. While I’d love to advocate a daily routine involving lots of physical exercise and mental recuperation, I know that’s practically impossible for most of us. But, don’t let your busy schedule, small apartment, or creative excuses get in the way of giving yourself the love you so very much deserve (and require). Self-care is a learned skill, an art form, and practice is key to making it a healthy habit. Making small, subtle changes is the best way to maintain consistency so don’t feel like you need to dive in head first. Start slow. Be gentle with yourself. Here are some of my favorite simple and easy ways to encourage self-love this holiday season. 
5 Simple Ways to Encourage Self Care this Holiday | @thismessisours
1. Take a bath || Photo courtesy of @vigorandsage
No bathtub? Take a shower.  Try adding relaxing scents or bath salts (these are so easy to make and perfect for a relaxing self-care session). Light some candles. Turn on your favorite relaxing music or listen to a “white noise” station on Pandora. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Give yourself at least 7 minutes to just focus on your breath. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the breath. Imagine the cleansing water washing away stress, negativity, and tension. Not only will you leave feeling cleaner, but also more relaxed and refreshed. 
5 Simple Ways to Encourage Self Care | @thismessisours
2. Drink warm water with lemon
Can’t start your day without coffee? Join the club. You don’t have to give up your daily cup, but try drinking a cup of warm water with lemon BEFORE you start hitting the caffeine. Not only can this super simple drink help boost your immune system and fight the common cold (which is SO helpful during the busy holiday season) but it also aids in digestion and flush out toxins. Kick your wellness game up a notch by making yourself an immune boosting shot. Don’t be surprised when that winter sickness goes around and you’re not invited to the party. 
5 Simple Ways to Encourage Self Care all year long | @thismessisours
3. Legs up the wall pose ||Photo courtesy of @vigorandsage
Its as easy as it sounds. Sit with either hip against the wall. Lay back and extend your legs so the backs of the legs are resting against the wall. Feel free to scoot closer or further from the wall or use props as needed to be comfortable. Close your eyes and breathe. Ideally, you would stay in this posture for about 10 minutes but don’t get caught up in that part. Just breathe, release and let the energy move through you. This deeply relaxing inversion (yep, it is in the same family as a headstand) has loads of health benefits like calming the nervous system, quieting the mind and relieving tired legs. 
5 Easy Ways to Encourage Self Care all year long | @thismessisours
4. Take a break from technology EEK! Don’t freak out. I’m not suggesting you do anything drastic here. But let’s be honest, between checking emails, online shopping and constant social media updates it feels like we are always logged in. Not only is this interrupting our sleep, damaging our health and upsetting our emotional wellbeing (enough with comparing your life to other’s on Instagram already, right?) it is also a HUGE time waster. Do yourself a huge favor and take a break from technology. Disconnect from your devices at least an hour before bed — two hours is ideal but let’s just start slow, okay? By turning off, you’ll be giving yourself a chance to tune in. Not sure what to do with all that extra time? Try taking a bath (see what I did there?), reading a book, writing in a journal or indulging in a creamy and calming chamomile steamer. Whatever you do, both your body and your mind will be grateful for the break. 
5 Ways to Encourage Self Care this Holiday | @thismessisours
5. Say No or No More || Photo courtesy of @vigorandsage
You are being given permission to say NO. While saying YES to things can open the doors of opportunity, knowing when to say NO or NO MORE can change your life. Let go of the feeling that you need to accept every invitation that comes your way. Instead, reserve your energy for the things you really want to be doing. Even social butterflies can end up feeling drained. Know your limits and get comfortable with politely declining things that do not benefit you, whether it’s that extra glass of wine or offering to bring 2 dozen homemade cookies to that holiday party. You may be surprised at just how much more energy you have. 

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ABOUT MEG

Meg van der Kruik is the writer, mother, photographer, designer, cook and creative spirit behind This Mess is Ours. After her infant son was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, she dedicated herself to learning to make meals the whole family would love. It’s a bit of a mess – cooking for a vegetarian and three meat-eaters with a range of gluten + dairy sensitivities, but she manages to bring them together every night around their little family table.