I don't know about you, but for me this holiday season seemed more stressful and exhausting than those of years past. We had four family members (my brother and his family) stay with us for eight days between Christmas and New Year’s Day. My husband and I felt comfortable having them stay with us because they all tested negative for COVID before leaving for our house. We do have my elderly mom living with us, so we had to take every precaution.
It was nice spending time together but there was a lot of cooking and cleaning … it was so not restful. Plus, in the weeks leading to the holidays I found myself scrambling to get packages out in time. I sent out more holiday cards than ever before, thinking of all the essential workers that deserved a shoutout. The group included our FedEx delivery driver, the mailman, and the garbage man … I just felt so grateful for their hard work and courage during the most trying of times.
The combination of stress, extra treats and alcohol did a number on my complexion, causing a breakout and reminding me that it was time for some serious self care. It’s hard for me to do a full-blown reset program. I have my entire family I need to take care of. So this year I decided that I’m going to do a reset that utilizes some of the moments I experience daily, to help me harness more mindfulness and calm.
For instance: I make sure I have some “me time” every day. I have started my exercise routine, which includes three 30-minute treadmill runs each week and 20 minutes of yoga each morning before breakfast. It really helps my achy back and tight muscles. While I exercise, I check my breathing to make sure it’s happening with full lung capacity. When stress sets in, it’s common for your breathing to get more shallow and less focused – I can feel a difference when consciously breathing. I also do some mind work while working out, and focus on happy and uplifting ideas. It takes a small effort, but gives me a big payout. It’s very effective for lifting my mood.
Later on at night, I meditate for about five minutes (quietly in my room) before my husband hijacks the TV for the night. I use the Calm app and play soft music while I meditate.
I also make sure to include a spa night at least once each week. I run a hot bath with Starling's Arnica bath salts — this stuff is amazing; it literally makes my back feel better. It smells so good, too — a relaxing scent with eucalyptus and lemon oil. After the bath I use Starling’s Radiance Body Oil, a beautiful body oil that absorbs quickly and has hints of pink grapefruit, cypress and clary sage. I apply to damp skin, which soon feels so soft and smooth. It’s very luxurious and pampering.
I also make washing my face a ritual. I cleanse my face with Nurture cleanser. I use it as a mask, while I am soaking in the tub. I just lather it off with some warm water at the end of my bath. When I am out of the bath, I cleanse again, to get any sweat (from the bath) off my face. I then apply Revive serum and use the jade roller. It all just feels relaxing right before bed. I feel my face muscles de-stress after the facial massage. Then, I go to bed smiling and calm.
I recommend creating a little "You Time" out of these moments you already experience every day. It doesn’t seem so overwhelming, and that alone makes it more calming and centering.
I figure, in order for me to take care of others, the way I like to take care of people, I need to take care of myself first. I highly recommend that you do the same, whatever you choose to do. We all need to find the right products, the right activities and the right schedule that work best for you.