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The holiday season promises cozy nights in, gift exchanges and a chance to put the chaos of daily living on pause for a while. However, there's a flip side: All that hosting, gift hunting and socializing can add up, leading to added stress and eventual burnout.
That's where holiday self-care enters the picture. To save you from having to expend any more effort than the season already demands, you can lean on simple ways to squeeze some extra joy out of the coming months.
It's easy to overextend yourself during the holidays; saying yes to everything is a slippery slope. Setting boundaries is one of the most important acts of self-care — like putting on your own oxygen mask first.
Between family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and the litany of other people who might occupy your time during the holiday season, sometimes it's easy to lose any moments alone with your own thoughts.
It's common to put a pause on workouts as the days get shorter and the weather cools down. However, this is actually when it's most important to stay active. Exercising releases endorphins — feel-good chemicals that help relieve stress and anxiety, improve sleep and boost energy levels.
One of the simplest forms of holiday self-care? Keep yourself hydrated. We often forget to drink enough water during this busy time, leading to dehydration. This causes fatigues, irritability, headaches and dry skin, among other things.
Gratitude shifts your perspective by centering the positive things in life, even on the gloomiest days. In addition, the simple task of practicing gratitude may help release the feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin into your bloodstream.
Simple skincare moments can be almost meditative — the calming repetition of massaging a lush cream into your complexion, the release of sinking into a hot bath, the relief of laying a calming face mask over irritated skin.
The opposite is true as well: stress triggers cortisol, which slows down skin's natural exfoliation and increases oil production. This results in a buildup of dead skin cells and clogged pores. Cue skin that becomes increasingly dull, lifeless and prone to blemishes.
The fix? Switch to noncomedogenic cosmetics, take off every speck of oil and makeup with the Neutrogena® Oil-Free Acne Wash with Salicylic Acid at night, and exfoliate regularly.
You can plan everything to perfection this holiday season and still have some moments that get you down. In those moments, the last thing you'll want to do is figure out how to make yourself feel better — you'll just want to feel better. So, do the work ahead of time: Spend a quiet afternoon prepping a self-care box filled with comforting items. A few ideas: your favorite candle, a soothing face mask, a gift card to your favorite restaurant, comfortable pajamas, fuzzy socks and some indulgent chocolates. Think of it as first aid for your emotional health.