As we head into the hustle of the holidays, odds are you aren’t associating the words “free time” with this season of the year. With jam-packed days filled with gift shopping, party prepping, and spending time with loved ones (not to mention your actual 9-to-5 job), it’s easy to feel like you don’t have a spare minute for downtime.
And though you might not feel like you have loads of extra free time right now, making time for yourself is essential (for avoiding burnout) and possible—if you adopt the right mindset.
“Practicing more self care is a statement of love, priority, and commitment to oneself,” says meditation and mindfulness coach Josephine Atluri. “You matter. You are worthy of taking a ‘time-in.’…More self care gives your body a chance to relax your fight-or-flight response, which triggers relentless stress that can be very damaging to one’s physical and emotional well-being.”
“You matter. You are worthy of taking a ‘time-in.’”
So how, exactly, do you make it happen? Atluri is sharing her tips for how to make time for holiday self care when you feel like you have no time, along with three of her favorite quick and easy self-care practices—all of which you can do with Kneipp‘s personal-care essentials for an extra spa-like feel.
Adding these practices and products to your routine will feel like a gift to yourself during a season of giving to others (Atluri says to prioritize yourself, remember?). So go ahead, put yourself on that gift list you’re hurrying to check off, and scroll down to find the self-care practice that works for you.
Keep reading for practical techniques that will help you find time for holiday self care this season.
1. Pause and take a few breaths
Even just a few minutes of deep breathing can help keep you calm and grounded throughout your day, and it’s one of the easiest ways to get started with being intentional about self care. “When planning how to incorporate self care into your daily life, be realistic with the amount of time you have,” Atluri says. “It’s best to start off with small nuggets of self care so it feels manageable, attainable, and approachable.”
She suggests spending five minutes total repeating the cadence of breathing deeply through your nose for five seconds, and then out through your mouth for ten seconds. “Your breath is always with you, but overlooked despite its powerful ability to move you into a state of calm and clarity,” she says.
Want to take the practice to the next level? Do your deep breathing while soaking in a warm bath with Kneipp Joint & Muscle Arnica Bath Salts (which you can grab from Ulta Beauty!) to loosen achy muscles from the day’s stress and to inhale the therapeutic fragrances of arnica, rosemary, and eucalyptus essential oils.
2. Try aromatherapy meditation
Meditation has loads of benefits for your mental wellness, and you can add it into your day by doing it during the one time you’re all but guaranteed some me-time: the shower.
Atluri is a big fan of “habit stacking” when you’re trying to add something new into your schedule, because by attaching a new habit (like meditation) to an existing ritual that you do daily (like taking a shower), you have a greater chance of success, she says.
To really tap into the calming powers of meditation, Atluri suggests accompanying it with a scent you find soothing. Try it while showering with Kneipp Goodbye Stress Aromatherapy Body Wash (which contains mood-boosting ingredients like water mint, rosemary, and eucalyptus oil) by closing your eyes, inhaling, saying “I am cultivating calm” to yourself, then exhaling. “Repeat this process for up to ten minutes to instantly feel refreshed and radiant,” she says.
3. Move your body mindfully
When you can carve out bigger chunks of time (10 or 15 minutes), Atluri recommends trying mindful movement—like taking a walk during your lunch break or before a holiday party—by silencing your phone and observing everything you see and hear in order to ground you in the present.
Reward your feet for carrying you through that movement by massaging on Kneipp Soothing Calendula & Orange Foot Repair Butter, which is made with shea butter and soothing essential oils to help nourish dry skin and support moisture retention. Put socks on immediately afterward to really help lock in the moisture.
Overall, Atluri emphasizes that you shouldn’t think of self care as a reward for achieving a goal (like checking off that holiday gift list). “Why not reframe your perspective and make your well-being the goal?” she says. “Prioritizing yourself leads to optimized productivity because you can now operate from a place of wholeness.” And that’s the best gift you can get.
Top photo: Stocksy/Atolas
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