Ah, the winter holiday season — that merry rollercoaster. Too much family time, wine, nights out, and scrambles for the perfect presents can leave us feeling frazzled. And it’s no wonder: all that pressure means we often take care of ourselves last, pushing ourselves to the brink in order to keep up with it all.
This holiday season we’re endorsing a weekly self-care routine to help you unwind, relax, and focus on yourself and your needs. And bonus — while there are lots of different ways to self-care, this one in particular will leave you with holiday #hairgoals, so you’ll have one less thing to stress about when party-hopping.
Pick an evening when you know you’ll be home
Your first step is to set yourself up for consistency by picking an evening for your routine when you know you’re more likely to be home. For a lot of us, that means a Sunday or Monday night, which is perfect, because practicing self-care is a terrific way to start your week.
Put a mask on it
The first thing that happens when the temperature drops? The heat comes on, and sucks moisture from the air, causing both our skin and our hair to freak out. Now’s the time to switch over your lightweight summer moisturizers, makeup, and hair products for intensely hydrating ones featuring ingredients like argan oil, hylaronic acid, and coconut milk. It’s also a terrific time to set a weekly or bi-weekly mask routine in place.
Whether you DIY it with avocado or egg whites or splurge on a fancy hair mask, start your self-care routine by giving treating your hair to a moisturizing mask that will help it recover from winter’s dry heat, heat-intensive styling, environmental pollution, and other factors that dry it out. While you’re treating your hair, treat your feet to an intense moisture cream then pull on your coziest socks. Put your feet up and treat your skin to a moisturizing sheet mask. You may scare your housemates, but your skin will thank you.
Take a break from technology
We know all that screen time can be bad for our brains and our mental health, especially before bed. While it may not be realistic to go cold turkey, since this is your once-a-week evening dedicated to self-care, go ahead and give your mind a break too. While you’re masking, put down your phone, turn off the tv, and choose from one of the following activities instead:
Journal - whether you choose to bullet journal, gratitude journal, or just plain journal journal, this is a great time to process your day and the week ahead. And getting all of those running thoughts out of your head and onto paper helps set you up for a great night of sleep.
- Meditate - another way to clear your mind and bring center to yourself is to meditate. Don’t put pressure to spend the entire time meditating; start slowly, adding five minutes at a time to push out negative or chattering thoughts and regain control.
- Read for pleasure - pick up a book and escape into it. It doesn’t have to be a critical darling, but reading for fun on a weekly basis can remind you of what you used to love about it as a kid.
- Do something creative - ok, so you’re somewhat limited by all those masks you have on, but this is still an opportunity to get crafty and make something. Grab an adult coloring book, learn how to knit or sew, or even make homemade holiday cards.
Take a day off from heat styling
After rinsing your hair, let it air dry and embrace your natural texture, from straight to curly and everything in between. Think of this step like stepping into your comfiest leggings: an easy and relaxed way to begin your day. Not only does this give you a break from your daily maintenance, it also gives your hair a much-needed break from heat styling that can put stress on your strands even while delivering a bouncy blowout. Instead, twist it into a loose bun or braids for romantic waves the next day.
Go to bed early
After you’ve showered and rinsed your masks off, you’re already one step in on your bedtime routine, so why not finish it off and get a good night’s sleep? We all have the tendency to run close to empty during the holidays, but why not take advantage of the shorter days by embracing the urge to hibernate and starting off the week well-rested? Lay out your outfit, so you have one less thing to worry about in the morning, set your alarm, and catch all the zzz’s you can.