For many, the holidays are a time of giving. Millions of Americans are buying gifts for their friends and family, hopping from one store or website to the next. Some of us are even doing a little shopping for ourselves. There’s one gift you don’t want to miss out on this year: self-care.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is not about fancy bubble baths or shopping sprees — although those can be part of it. The goal of self-care is to maintain or improve your physical or mental health. Basically, it’s taking care of yourself.
Self-care is often one of the first things we neglect when we’re busy, but it’s the very thing that can help prevent burnouts. Read our 12 tips on how you can fit some self-care into your busy holiday season.
- Turn Off Your Alarm
Go ahead. We give you permission to change into your pajamas before nine or — barring workdays — stay in bed until ten… eleven… or noon. We won’t judge.
Sleep is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. It’s essential to the functionality of our body and mind. A shortage of shut-eye can significantly impact your ability to focus, your mood and your hormones.
Have you ever noticed yourself gaining a few pounds after a particularly restless week? According to the Mayo Clinic, hormones are regulated during sleep, and if you don’t get enough rest then your hunger hormones become imbalanced. This is why you find your hand in a bag of chips or a bagel magically stuffed in your mouth when you’re tired. Oops! How did that get there? Blame it on the hunger hormones
and get yourself to bed earlier tonight.
- Manage Manic Mondays
Hustling seems to be the norm these days. With jobs, family, friends and other commitments, it can be easy to spread yourself too thin. But little things such as waiting in line, a broken appliance or a cluttered room can also pile up and cause stress.
One of the best ways you can practice self-care is stress management and stress relief. A great way to start is by talking with a family member or friend you can trust. Talking about what is stressing you gets it all out in the open and can feel like you have someone on your side. Meanwhile, bottling it up and not talking about it can feel like you’re a lone wolf taking on the world.
Many people also soothe stress with some deep breathing practices such as meditation or yoga. You could also try taking a bubble bath, dancing, listening to music or binge-watching a show. The important thing is to do what helps you relax.
Did you know stress could be a factor in your breakouts? We’ve got more info about that in our How to Avoid a Holiday Breakout blog.
- Start With Fresh Skin
Do you ever want to just physically scrub away a bad day or hit the reset button? You can do that with your skin by exfoliating.
Exfoliating removes layers of dead skin cells to reveal healthier, new skin. It sounds simple – but it appears to do wonders for your complexion. According to dermatologists in this Byrdie article, exfoliating regularly can help:
- Smooth and even your skin tone. If you have an uneven complexion, you know the struggle. By removing dead skin cells and exposing new ones to the skin’s surface, exfoliating can make patches and spots blend in over time.
- Clear a barrier between you and your skin products. According to dermatologists, dead skin cells can act like a wall that stops products like moisturizers, lotions and serums from providing full benefit to your skin. Removing that wall allows your skin products to work better.
- Help prevent acne. One of the main culprits of acne is dead skin cells. They can get clogged in your pores and the next thing you know, you have a volcano on your face, back or chest. Exfoliating can remove those dead skin cells from your skin’s surface before they have a chance to clog your pores. So, exfoliate before you see the start of blemishes.
It’s important to note, the American Academy of Dermatology says exfoliating is not for everyone and if not done properly, can do more harm than good.
Keep your skin type in mind when choosing an exfoliator. Sensitive skin may sting or burn after exfoliating. Dry skin may be flaky, itchy or rough. If you have either of these types of skin, you may want to skip this step altogether or only exfoliate once in a while.
*Always check with your dermatologist before adding a new skincare product to your routine.
- Cleanse and Clear Your Skin
Rudolph won’t be needed this holiday, because this one is expected to be a clear one. Why? You’ve got PanOxyl on your side.
If you’re not already using an acne wash, it’s not too late to start. Treating acne takes time, but it’s worth it in the end for that boost of self-confidence. PanOxyl’s acne washes use the power of benzoyl peroxide to help clear the sources of acne.
Our Daily Control Acne Creamy Wash and Maximum Strength Acne Foaming Wash break the acne cycle by unclogging pores. Say goodbye to the excess oils, dead skin cells and other debris causing your acne. PanOxyl gets rid of all of it plus helps prevent new blemishes from forming.
After you’ve exfoliated and cleansed, it’s time to restore life to your skin. Moisturizing is key. Acne-prone skin can feel oily or greasy, so you may think a moisturizer is the last thing you need in your skincare bag. However, some acne treatments can dry and irritate the skin. These include:
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
- Adapalene, tazarotene or tretinoin
Moisturizing every day can help your skin tolerate these treatments, but not just any moisturizer will do. It’s okay to be picky on the product that hydrates your skin. Choose a moisturizer that says at least one of these on the bottle:
- Won’t clog pores
- Face Mask and Chill
Face masks can be a great weapon in your acne skin care arsenal – if you have the right one. As is always the key with acne-prone skin, you’ll want to find the right formula that does not clog pores.
Dermatologists with Prevention magazine recommend face masks that contain anti-inflammatory or exfoliating ingredients such as tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur or salicylic acid. They also suggest using clay or peel-off masks as sheet masks can clog pores.
- Pay Someone a Compliment
One of the best free gifts to give or to receive is a compliment. Sure, we all like to receive compliments, but giving them is just as good. Imagine seeing someone’s face light up when you say, “Love your shoes! Where did you get them?” or “Your face is so glowy!”
Remember how we said it’s the little things that can pile up and cause stress? Well, it’s also the little things that can turn a bad day into a great one.
- Say No
This may be the hardest one on the list, but it also might be the most important one. (Besides cleansing, of course!) No one likes being told no. Likewise, we often feel obligated to say yes when family and friends want us to hang out or run errands.
When we’re already stressed and burnt out, saying yes to family and friends can often feel like a chore instead of an enjoyable experience. Free up more time for yourself to destress by politely saying no. It may take some practice, but by telling others “no” you’re saying “yes” to your self-care.
- Get Organized
The end of the year is a great time to get your life together because a fresh year and a fresh start are just around the corner. This doesn’t have to be organizing your whole house, but, hey, you do you.
You can start small with a brand new planner to jot down your to-do lists, or it could be a bin to keep your purse, laptop and keys all in one place and ready to go in the mornings. If you hate keeping up with a physical planner, you can go digital with an app – many of which are free.
Small steps like these will not only make your life less stressful but also free up more time for the things you want to do.
- Schedule an Appointment With Your Dermatologist
Dermatologists are the experts on skin and how to care for it. They are the best resource when it comes to choosing the right products for your skin. Set up an appointment and write down whatever questions or concerns you may have. Remember to mention if you’ve been experiencing large amounts of stress, so they can properly decide what your best treatment route is.
Day 11: Do a Technology Detox
Our phones, tablets and laptops are an endless window to the world, but sometimes the constant feed of information and opinions can be overwhelming.
Try placing your phone on silent for an hour. Take the time to do something you haven’t done in a while, or try something completely new. If you find it hard to put down your phone (hey, we get it), some phones have features that can help you set limits.
Day 12: Enjoy the Moment
Listen up, overachievers — it’s okay to not have every second of the day planned. Yes, there are probably a zillion things that need to be done, but the holidays only come once a year. Take a moment to step back, breathe and be happy with where you are right now.