As we step into the final month of the year, the onslaught of festive preparations and activities (read: parties) often drowns out the need for you time. With how busy the festive season gets, it’s easy to lose sight of the most crucial gift of all – self-care. We want to remind you that as much as everything else in your life needs your attention, so do you!
Below, we unwrap a curated collection of self-care practices perfect for the unique challenges and joys this December brings. This isn’t just a list; it’s a heartfelt invitation to prioritize yourself during a season that often asks for everything you have. Here’s to a December that nurtures your well-being and fills your cup with the warmth of self-love.
Keep reading to learn how you can prioritise self-care this month;
Let Your First Hour Be Your Hour
A lot is probably going on for you right now. You may be slightly overworked as your company is trying to end the year strong, overwhelmed by your own personal goals, thoughts of all the parties you hope to attend as well as thoughts of family- those you miss and those you’d rather not see at all. As I said, there’s a lot going on and as the month rolls into the new year, it might only get more overwhelming.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to make your first hour your hour. What this means is, when you wake up in the morning, the first thing you do should be for you. It should be something that brings you joy, even if only for a while. This can be sitting outside with a warm cup of tea, watching your favourite show, reading your favourite book, playing a quick game of football, smoking oud, watching funny videos, yoga and so on. It can literally be anything. As long as it brings you joy, keep doing it!
It’s the Holidays, It’s Okay to Treat Yourself
You’ve been a good girl all year long, or maybe you haven’t. Either way, a treat here and there won’t hurt. Let yourself breathe, the rat race can start again next year. Go for that show, order that meal, and if it won’t cripple you (no one knows your finances the way you do, except perhaps your accountant I guess), get that bag, shoe or hair! I will always say this; as long as it’s thought out and somewhat controlled, it’s okay to be a little ‘irresponsible’. You have this one life. Live it to the fullest. Whatever that means for you.
Hear me loud and hear me proud – it’s OKAY to say ‘no’. You are not a ‘yes’ machine and if you need to say no to certain commitments or activities, do it and bask in the joy of missing out. No matter how awful it feels, it is okay to choose yourself even during the holidays.
You don’t want to see that your nosy aunt? Say no. You’re not in the mood to go clubbing with your girlfriends? Say no.
Set your boundaries clearly and communicate them openly with your friends and loved ones. Let them know your personal limitations during the holiday season. You’re not always going to be in the mood to turn up or hang out. Say no without feeling guilty, and then go about your day.
Try to Slip in a Workout Here and There
I know. There’s nothing more irritating than going to the gym during the holidays. Here‘s the thing though. The body you are neglecting will still be here come January. No matter the time of year, your body deserves to be worshipped and looked after. Working out is a form of self-care.
I’m not saying work out 3 days a week, every week without fail. That’s not even possible for me, especially in December. I’m saying there are alternative ways of getting the workout you need. You can take a leisurely stroll with your friends or family during some evenings, do some leg work at the club, a few stretches right on your bed just before you go to sleep, or have as much sex (cowgirl position, duh) as often you can. Really, put your back into each session (don’t say I never helped a sistah out!).
There’s an alternative physical activity for everyone. You just need to find yours.
Healthy Nutrition Habits
Like physical activity, try to slip in healthy meals here and there. Maybe a salad for breakfast, oats, or a fibre cereal. Drink but watch your alcohol intake. Let green tea become your best friend this season (and always), and just be mindful. Party your socks off but look after yourself too.
Party, but Look After Yourself
The number of deaths recorded during the holidays is insane.
You deserve to live your best life and have as much fun as possible. However, remember to take care of yourself. So, go out and have the best time of your life, but remember to always check the back seat of your car before getting in, ensure there are easily accessible door handles, and if not, book another ride. When going out in a group, designate someone as the driver for the night. And as annoying as it is to say, if you’re going out at night and can afford to have a man tag along, invite your male friend, cousin, brother, partner or anyone. Try not to walk around alone.
In any case, just be cautious and stay security conscious at all times! Too many people do hideous things during this time of year and you deserve so much more than to be another statistic.
Connect With Your Loved Ones
This is one of the few times you see them all year. Lean into that. Try to meet them where they are. Your parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins and so on. If you care for them, go out of your way to plan activities with them. Eat together and more importantly, laugh together. You will fight each other over and over again throughout the year but this one time, try to play your part in making it memorable. You’ll thank yourself for these happy moments.
Always Choose Your Peace When it Comes to Difficult Loved Ones
As I said, love your family and try to meet them halfway, but there are some family members that are impossible to connect with. They don’t like how you dress or the way you carry yourself. They hate your partner and how you have ‘chosen’ to live your life. They don’t like this, they don’t like that. Some might even hate to see you thriving.
You cannot meet these type of people halfway. Whatever their intentions are, whether genuine or not, their words have been hurting you for what seems like forever. If they just can’t be civil, even during the holidays, choose your peace and walk away. You have every right. Family or not, you shouldn’t have to surround yourself with people that make you feel inadequate. If you know they’re going to be at certain family events, consider either skipping those occasions or attending without getting too involved. Focus on connecting with other family members who bring positivity into your life.
Romanticise the Sh-t Out of These Weeks
There is no better time than right now to romanticise the hell out of your last few weeks of the year.
Comparing others people’s lives, travel plans, or events they are attending, to your life and bank account is common, and it’s okay if it makes you feel sad. Acknowledge that feeling, and when you’re ready, let it go.
Accept the fact that everyone is dealt different cards in life. All we can do is make the best of ours. Try not to compare someone else’s holiday plans with yours. You can still have a good holiday as long as you focus on the little things that make you happy. Additionally, there’s a sort of joy that exists during the holiday season. It’s okay to lean into that as well.
Make everything a wonderful and soulful adventure. Be intentional with every decision and every move you make. This can potentially transform your holiday experience. Romanticisation has the power to make everything seem perfect. I believe those rose-coloured glasses are what we all need for the holidays.
Give Yourself Space to Acknowledge Your Feelings
You’re going to have a lot of feelings this time of year. Some might be happy, others sad. It’s okay. It is okay to feel all your feelings. For a multitude of reasons, some people find it difficult to be happy during the holidays. It’s not like they don’t want to be, but there’s just so much going on, they can’t create the room for it. Simultaneously, everywhere they go someone is trying to shove holiday cheer down their throat. If no one will tell you, I will. It is okay to feel the entire range of your emotions and it’s okay if they’re all sad. Feel them anyway.
Try to take breaks from digital devices to reduce information overload and create space for relaxation. This could involve designated “unplugged” hours or days.
Focus on yourself, your family, your friends and possibly your goals for next year. Put the phone down. Let yourself breathe.
Reflect on Your Achievements This Year
With everything I’ve said so far, I’m certain ya’ll know I want you to rest and have an absurd amount of fun. However, I do recognise the importance of reflecting on your achievements and positive moments throughout the year.
It’s easy to look at the areas you failed at only, but focusing on accomplishments, big or small, can contribute to a sense of fulfilment and gratitude. Which puts you in a better place to tackle the new year.