Hi friends! Self-care has been high on my priority list lately due to my health concerns this year. This year has taught me an awful lot about valuing my health above all else.
I suppose until you know how unwell you can feel, perhaps only then does it make you realize how well you WANT to feel again. Healing and self-care has been a primary focus for me and I want to share some tips on how to take care of yourself this winter.
While this post is speaking to highly sensitive people, these self-care suggestions can be applied to ANYONE! So, enjoy!
Why is Self Care So Important?
Holidays can drain us for various reasons. Emotions tend to run high. Stress seems to crop up unexpectedly leaving us feeling exhausted and irritable. On top of that, usually our focus is on giving to others during this time. But what about ourselves? Are we giving to ourselves in ways that replenish us?
I’m guilty of it too. I don’t always take the time to slow down and care for myself. I get swept up in taking care of my family, putting them before myself. I’m trying to do better because I realize the value and importance of giving that same amount of care to myself.
For highly sensitive people, we have a tendency to get worn down pretty quickly. In an attempt to better cope with the stresses and stimulation that this holiday can bring, here are a few self-care techniques to employ.
While the greatest benefit comes from a daily self-care practice, aim to use one or several of these strategies a minimum of 3-4 days each week.
12 Self-Care Strategies to Try This Holiday Season
1. Meditation – I’m a huge fan of meditating. For a minimum of 5 minutes per day, close yourself off from the outside world and turn inward. 5 minutes, that’s all! Inhale a nice, long, deep breath and then slowly release it. Do this a few times as you close your eyes or cast your eyes downward towards your heart.
Check in with you body to see if there are any areas that are holding onto tension. With your breath, release those stressed spots. You might even use the script, “My body is calm. My shoulders are relaxed.” Feel the stress melt away. For more guided scripts check out my Sensitive Soul meditations.
2. Tapping Technique – My husband has seen me do this when I get brutal headaches. If you’re not familiar with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), otherwise known as tapping, click here for a few videos that will teach you how and where to tap.
By tapping your body on energy meridians with your fingertips, similar to acupuncture (without the needles of course), you can release energy blockages that might be causing your symptoms. Couple the tapping with positive affirmations, and you are likely to see an improvement in how you feel.
3. Epsom Salt Bath – Soak in a warm, even HOT, epsom salt bath to help your body release toxins and relax. The magnesium and sulfate from the salt will absorb into your skin helping to relax and release tension from your muscles.
Magnesium is usually a mineral that people are deficient in, so soak it up! The sulfate will help detoxify and please the liver. Super important! Also, if you happen to suffer from constipation, epsom salt baths might help that! I would suggest soaking for 15-20 minutes to achieve the benefits. I use Dr. Teal’s Eucalyptus salt soak – soooo good.
4. Dry Brushing – I started dry brushing about two years ago. Before taking a shower, I start at my feet and work my way up my body (always in the direction towards my heart).
This is yet another self-care technique that is easy to incorporate in your daily routine. Not only does it help exfoliate and increase toxin release from your skin (your largest organ), it promotes lymphatic health. I prefer my Zen Me brush if you’re looking for suggestions. It can be used on the long stick, but also just the hand brush (great for traveling).
5. Journaling – Yep, you’ve heard me say it before, I’m a big fan of journaling. Some people prefer having journal prompts, but I’m a huge fan of automatic writing (scribbling down whatever comes to mind). Get it outside of yourself!
This is great for anyone who suffers from anxiety and depression. Getting your thoughts and feelings out onto paper is highly therapeutic. The key is: don’t judge what you’re writing – JUST WRITE (or draw!).
You don’t need an expensive journal. Grab paper and start! Or, if you’re more comfortable typing, do that! Make time before bedtime each night to get some thoughts and feelings out. You might be surprised how your quality of sleep improves when you’ve journaled before bed.
6. Find Connection – Connecting with others (humans or animals) is so important for human happiness. Give someone a hug. Offer to serve others in some way. Snuggle next to someone you love (again, fur babies are just as welcome here!).
The key is to allow yourself to CONNECT (not through a screen, sorry…) in person. Feel the other being’s energy in small doses. (Tip for HSPs, surround yourself with people whose energy you’re attracted to and not overwhelmed by)
7. Practice Grounding Exercises – Grounding exercises are fantastic for everyone, but particularly if you suffer from anxiety or self-doubt.
Grounding simply means that you bring your focus to the here and now. Anxiety usually operates from a “what if” standpoint, so bring yourself into this very moment. Here is how you can ground yourself:
- Take 10 deep breaths (inhale through your nose, exhale through your nose)
- Simply look around you and mentally name objects that you see (“chair, picture, carpet, countertop…” Allowing your brain to simply label things shifts your focus from the anxiety to your practical surrounding. Do this for as long as you need until the anxiety lessens. If anxiety creeps in again, bring yourself back to naming objects.
- Count from 1-10 (or higher if needed). Counting reduces emotionality and brings your brain into a more neutral state.
- Walk outside barefoot. Connect with the Earth’s energy. If you prefer to ground at night, consider purchasing a grounding sheet to sleep on so you can soak up all the benefits of negative ions.
- Hold an object (I prefer a crystal) in your hand and focus all of your attention on it. Be as observant of the object as you can (how it feels, how it looks, how it smells, etc).
- Get your adrenaline out. SPRINT! DO SOMETHING AEROBIC! DANCE! Push your body to exert energy in the most physical way. Moving energy around your body is incredibly important.
8. Get plenty of exercise – This is a no-brainer. If you’re able, aim to get 20-30 minutes of aerobic, sweaty exercise each day. If you need something with light impact, consider yoga, walking, rebounding, or lifting light weights. The key is to MOVE! Stagnant bodies invite sickness and dis-ease.
9. Sauna – While I prefer an infrared sauna, any sauna can provide self-care benefits. Sweating allows you to expunge toxins from your body. It also has incredible health benefits including improved circulation, muscle relaxation, joint ache reduction, weight loss, and improved mood.
Not sure where to find a sauna near you? Simply Google it and you might be surprised what you find. I was shocked to find infrared saunas in the town next to mine. To say I was happy was an understatement. Saunas have been a game-changer for me!
10. Sleep – Sooooo incredibly important, especially for HSPs. If you have the ability to nap in the day, please do. If not, plan to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. For some of you, that might require going to bed earlier or rearranging your current schedule.
Sleep has been researched for decades and scientists have proven how essential quality sleep is for our immune systems, bodily functions, and alert minds. Most people sleep best in a room that is between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit, very dark, and quiet. (Using a fan or sound machine is okay, too)
Reduce or eliminate blue light exposure after sunset. Blue light has the ability to interrupt our natural Circadian rhythm and melatonin production, so skip the TV, cell phones, computers, etc. if you can at night! If you MUST use these items, consider wearing blue light blocking glasses.
11. Pray – This is meant to address all spiritual practices. Whether you pray, meditate, use affirmations, attend a spiritual center, spend time in nature, etc. giving yourself time to speak with your soul and spirit is quite beneficial.
For me, I tend to cry when I allow myself to connect with my soul. Why? It’s such a beautiful experience. It’s overdue most often because I am racing around life like a crazy woman! When I can finally tap into my true essence, it’s like I am “home”.
For me, praying is a comforting practice. I know the universe has my back. I know that my angels are always with me. Praying allows me to connect to my Source. Whatever your way is, embrace it!
If you don’t currently have a spiritual path but feel you want to develop one, consider what might be a good fit for you and explore all the options out there!
12. Seek Inspiration – When I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, or just plain SPENT, I turn to sources of inspiration. This might be listening to instrumental or gospel music. Sometimes I prefer watching one of my favorite music videos.
It might also be reading an uplifting book or listening to a podcast. Maybe it’s talking to a particular person that leaves you feeling energized and hopeful. For some, it might be crafting! Whatever inspires you, seek it out and allow yourself to fully feel its power.
Ok, one more bonus tip because cutting it down to 12 was just too hard:
13. Fuel Your Body Wisely – Holiday seasons are known for their feasts, desserts, and spirits, right? In my opinion, moderation is always key, but the best tip is to know your body. Do you feel your best when you’ve indulged in sugar, alcohol, or extra large meals? I know I don’t!
So, my final tip is to be mindful about what you’re putting in your body. For me, I will be choosing lighter, plant-based foods as the main portion of every meal because that is what makes me feel my best.
Now Go Take Care of Yourself
So there ya have it, my suggestions for self-care this winter. Like I said, choose a few of these techniques to incorporate into your daily routine several days each week. Your mind, body, and soul will certainly thank you.
My hope is that this post will inspire you to choose YOU this holiday season. Give yourself the gift of time, healing, and wellness. Let me know what YOU enjoy doing to take care of yourself.
Or, if you adopt one of the ideas from above, leave a comment and tell me about it! Until next time, take care of yourself, friends!
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