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7 Self-Care Activities to Try Before Christmas That Won't Break The Bank

Family obligations, school, work, finances, holidays are just a few of the competing areas of our lives that can get in the way of our taking care of ourselves. You might say to yourself, "I'd love to practice stress management, but I just don't have any more time in my overly cramped list of things to do. Or you may be saying, "I don't have the money to spend." This may very well be the case. But often times, a perspective shift can be just what the doctor ordered. Afterall, practicing self-care doesn't have to be overly tedious or expensive. Fifteen minutes or less, or $15 or less may be just the thing to help us say yes to self-care as a stress management strategy without breaking the bank.

Tip #1 - Light a Candle

Been finding it difficult to avoid those yearly sales throughout the year? Put that Bath & Body Works addiction to good use. WebMD says lighting a scented candle can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, help reduce stress, and help balance brain activity. Some scents to try including to promote relaxation: lavender, valerian, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang chamomile, and sandalwood.

Tip #2 - Listen to Calming Music

According to an article by Healthline, listening to music can help boost memory, help build task endurance, help lighten our moods, help reduce anxiety and depression, help stave off fatigue, help improve our response to pain, and help us work out more effectively.

Tip #3 - Savor Some Dark Chocolate

What fun would this list be without candy? A huge health benefit for your heart, dark chocolate contains flavanols which help relaxes our blood vessels and improves blood flow thus lowering blood pressure. According to the Cleveland Clinic, dark chocolate also contains polyphenolic compounds that are responsible lowering the stress hormone cortisol which increase mood and lead to feelings of pleasure and enjoyment.

Tip #4 - Touch Yourself

Yes, you read that correctly. Touch yourself. According to NPR, when we experience touch, our bodies release oxytocin which reduces stress and calms our nervous system. Take time to celebrate the miracle that is your body and the pleasure it can give us. Give yourself a soothing, relaxing bath. Moisturize with your favorite lotion or body oil. Wear silk or satin pajamas or climb between satin sheets and notice the sensation against your skin. Be curious. Caress your ear, your neck. Embrace yourself. Tap, use light touch, or apply pressure. Go as far as you need to, exploring what makes you feel relaxed.

Tip #5 - Open Those Eyes

When is the last time you looked at a beautiful sunset? A beautiful sunrise? A starry night's skies? The most beautiful canvas in the world is our natural surroundings. Take time to remember that the simpler things in life can be the most impactful in helping elevate our wellness and wellbeing.

Tip #6 - Read a Book

Throughout the year on my social media account, I encourage friends, family, and followers to read-even if only for 15 minutes per day. Find a genre that speaks to you. Classics. Erotica. Smut. Psychological Thriller. Biography. Historical. Science fiction. The possibilities are just as numerous as TV program categories.

Tip #7 - Get Moving

Using movement as a stress relieving strategy not only manages our moods but also helps our bodies because movement can help strengthen our muscles, build bone density, maintain our coordination and balance, and strengthen our lungs. Movement also helps reduce the risk of disease and strokes. Go for a walk, a jog, or a run. Stretch. Do yoga poses. Dance. Just get moving. Start out with 15 minutes each day and work your way up to at least 30 to 45 minutes.

Not managing stress can lead to negative outcomes with long term consequences i.e., diabetes and hypertension. Make wellness your priority. Take a few minutes throughout the upcoming week to identify one self-care activity you can do. If you feel you need more guided support on holding yourself accountable to learning about stress and ways to manage it, click here to sign up for part one of our four-course bundle on stress management.

As always, we appreciate your readership and would love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below which tip you plan to use to manage stress over the next week. Please remember, that wherever you are on this wellness journey, do not worry about getting it perfect; just get it going. Until next time. Happy reading! Until next time.

"Where there is no hope, it is incumbent on us to invent it." ~Albert Camus


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