This post was published last December, but I thought it would be relevant to update it again for this year as the holidays can be such a stressful time of year.
This is the time of year can be a little crazy. Those who know me well know that for the last two weeks of November and first week or two of December, I turn into a monster that we refer to as “holiday Grace.” With cyber week and all of the gift guides I get suuuuuuper focused on work and glued to my desk/phone working. It’s a part of the job (anyone who works in retail lives the same sort of life this time of year) and something I’m used to by now!
I’ve run into a bunch of my blogger girlfriends over the past few weeks and everyone’s in the same boat. It’s reassuring to see this (makes me feel less crazy!) Like I said though, this isn’t just a blogger thing. The holidays are just plain hard! I remember when I had a desk job and I would be sprinting out during lunch breaks and after work to attempt to buy gifts. My apartment was always a wreck and it always felt like every evening was some can’t miss dinner/event/etc. That hasn’t changed with working for myself but I do remind myself every day that I am lucky in that I set my own schedule and if I need to do something in the middle of the day, I can do it. That’s not the case when you have a boss!
The downside of being self-employed is the uncertainty. When you work for yourself, you have to work really, really hard during your busy times (the holidays, in my case) because you don’t really know what the next month will be like. So you wind up just a bit spread thin. I feel like there isn’t enough of me to go around, that I’m letting friends + family down, and that I am always.at.my.desk. Having girlfriends over to laugh, commiserate a little bit, and drink some wine really helped… but in the meantime I wanted to share the little things I have been doing for myself that have made a big difference. Self care is so so important, especially during stressful times like the holidays. So here it is… my holiday self-care plan!
Get up 30-60 minutes earlier, and start the day off on the right note. I make my coffee, do a ten minute meditation (I’ve gotten obsessed with Headspace – Andy is the greatest) and then I will foam roll and do my stretches. Yes, my stretches, I have a bad back and all of this sitting at my desk is not helping!
Spend one minute dry brushing prior to showering. Dry brushing is SO good for you – it’s great for your skin, your circulation, and it helps flush away toxins.
When possible (sometimes I have too much going on) I go for an hour long walk and put on a podcast. Here are a few of my favorite uplifting podcasts…this is something I really look forward to – I always feel better afterward.
Take a bath most nights. A bath is such a nice way to end the day, and it’s a basically free way that you can pamper yourself. I LOVE baths and the small act of ending every night with a bath has been so helpful!
Pamper myself with citrusy-y essential oils and energizing body products. This ginger body cream always puts a pep in my step, as does this energy-inducing shower gel. It’s such a small detail but fragrance really has an amazing impact on your mood.
Cut out the negativity. I refuse to gossip and add to any negativity. It can be tempting and fun, but why? It is bad for your energy so just DON’T DO IT. I first realized this a while back with an old job – everyone would get together and vent. I always ended up just feeling bad afterward so I stopped doing it. Gossip and complaining may feel good at the time but it’s never helpful. I promise you that. Just be better than that. Change the subject, leave, or just tell the other person you don’t want to gossip.
On the other side of it, if something makes you feel bad, cut it out (where you can). A lot of people on my social media feeds like to insult bloggers and what we do for a living. I unfollowed. I left a few group text messages. If something doesn’t leave you feeling good, if you are able to, eliminate it. It may be hard to do, but I promise you – it makes such a difference in your happiness.
Talk to a friend about it. When I’m really stressed I tend to hole up, away from the world, and just hunker down on work. I won’t tell anyone about it or see my friends for days because I just get so focused. This isn’t the healthiest of habits. Having a friend or neighbor over for a glass of wine at the end of a long day is nice… we’ve also been doing Sunday movie/TV nights which is a fun way to wind down the weekend. Even taking 30 minutes to sit and chill and catch up with a friend will help you feel better (and also help you to be a lot more productive.)
This is such a silly one but play with the cat every day! I always feel guilty for not playing with him enough, and it’s so relaxing (and fun to see how excited he gets, chasing his little toys. Spending ten minutes playing with him every day brightens up my day and makes him a happier, more active cat.
photography by Trent Bailey.