Self-care is so important yet when we get busy, we often put ourselves last on our lists of those we care for. And if we are dedicated athletes, like Barbara Edelston Peterson, we may push ourselves to reach new goals, to achieve personal records, to earn our space at the podium while damaging our bodies.
When we add the extra stress of the holidays—the get togethers, extra alcohol and food consumption, searching for the perfect gifts, decorating, baking, buying, etc.—to our training schedules, year-end work goals and must-dos, and family activities we may feel like we are going to lose our sanity or need a long vacation. But taking a few moments each day for a bit of self-care can lessen your stress levels, restore your sense of balance and some of your energy, and bring you peace.
We, at Whole Champion Foundation, believe you cannot help care for and change the world if you don’t care for yourself first and foremost. This is what we call Personal Responsibility and it is the first of our pillars of being a Whole Champion.
But if you’re too exhausted to know where to begin to care for yourself (or think self-care must cost too much money and time), we’ve provided the following list of low-cost and easy-to-do gifts to yourself to get you started.
15 December Self-Care Suggestions
- Read for fun for a minimum of 15 minutes. Allow yourself to get lost in a good book (not the newspaper or something political or for work).
- Light candles around your tub or shower and luxuriate in the steam and soft, flickering lighting as you unwind in the warm water.
- Moisturize your whole body using a natural scented or unscented lotion.
- Give yourself (or get a loved one to give you) a scalp massage.
- Eat some citrus. The vitamin C in citrus fruits help boost your immune system and is essential for collagen production. Regular citrus ingestion has also been linked to heart health, to protecting the brain, to protecting against cancer and against the development of kidney stones, according to WebMD.
- Envelop yourself in a fragrance you love—whether that’s via burning a candle or using a diffuser, wearing perfume, surrounding yourself with flowers, or using an essential oil. Pleasing fragrances lift our spirits and can reduce stress and make us happier.
- Walk or run or dance to upbeat holiday music.
- Indulge in a cup of natural hot chocolate. And if you want to feel like a kid again, add the marshmallows or whipped cream.
- Add some cinnamons to almonds and eat them as a snack. (Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, along with having at least eight other scientifically-backed self-care health benefits.)
- Eat a nutritious bowl of soup, like tomato basil, which is packed with tons of vitamins C and E, as well as lycopene and carotenoids (both reduce cancer risks and support bone health) and antioxidants.
- Unwind with a cup of hot tea and some pleasing music or silence.
- Write a love letter or a poem to yourself. Yes, this may sound a bit cheesy but when was the last time you really thanked yourself for your hard work, your dedication, your stamina, your resilience, and your drive? Also, when did you last thank your body and brain for supporting you in the journey you are on. Thank you, feet for supporting me as a I walk. I couldn’t take steps without you. I’m grateful legs for your muscles, for putting up with the abuse when I don’t stretch enough before or after exercising… Let your body, mind, emotions, and spirit feel your affection, love, and self-care.
- Give yourself permission to watch something you might consider frivolous, whether it is that holiday rom-com, a reality baking show, a children’s cartoon, or a series of cat videos, suspend your self-judgment and allow yourself to laugh, be entertained, and have no expectations beyond having fun.
- Permit yourself to do something you loved to do as a child but haven’t done for a long while as an adult. Climb a tree, embroider, write a poem, splash in a puddle, build a sandcastle, dance, giggle, skip, jump rope, color, draw, or paint. Embrace your inner child for a few minutes or a few hours and feel yourself reconnecting with joy.
- And lastly, plan something for yourself in January 2022 so you have something to anticipate. That could be a facial or a massage, a drive to somewhere you love, a ski trip, a romantic dinner, a night away from the family by yourself or anything that makes you feel alive, loved, and peaceful. Choose something that will guide you like a lighthouse through the holiday fog and perils to a safe, fun harbor of self-care.