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#CareAtChristmas: Five self-care tips for the festive season

Stylised heron wearing a Santa hat

With Christmas coming up, Digital Media Production student Sade shares five things that she does to take care of herself over the busy festive season.

Christmas time is soon approaching, and I can’t wait! It's my favourite time of the year especially as it’s a time where I generally have a little less work to do, and I get to relax a bit more compared to the rest of the year.

I thought I would share FIVE things that I try to practise every Christmas in order to take care of myself. I feel that a lot of the time I fail to practise a lot of self-care. This is because I always feel like I’m busy doing a lot of things at once and I get stressed very easily. I end up neglecting myself. This obviously isn’t good.

Relaxing and participating in self-care is something I’m learning to take more advantage of and not feel bad for doing so. In the past I felt like I never took time to breathe or give myself breaks, but now I relish in relaxing and taking care of myself whenever I can, and I find it’s weirdly made me more productive.

1: Do some puzzles

At first you are probably thinking ‘oh my gosh, this sounds so boring and old, why would you want to do a puzzle?’ I get it! As I thought, puzzles sounded really boring. This was until my friend lent me one and then I found out I was hoooooked! I loved it.

Ever since then, I do a 1000-piece puzzle around Christmas/Autumn time and sometimes in the summer too! I just like the vibe of doing one when it’s dark and cold outside and I’m in the warm putting it together. The thing about a puzzle is that whilst doing it, you are VERY focused on which piece goes where.

You are rarely in your thoughts about what a bad day you had or what is upsetting you in that moment because you're so focused on if this blue piece is the same as the other blue piece. ‘HOURS would go by, and I’d be like ’oh my gosh I’m still doing this puzzle - I can’t remember the last time I actually spoke to another person.

It’s very addicting and is a great distraction. It’s great to do it with others as well! The assembling and completion is very satisfying and therapeutic for me. Plus, after all of that you would have completed a puzzle! Well done! So proud :)

2: Pamper myself

Whenever I am feeling low or a bit groggy, I try to take time to pamper myself for an evening. In the Wintertime it’s easy to feel gross and icky. Especially when it’s dark and cold outside I tend not to care and easily neglect myself in terms of looking after myself physically. I also start to feel less motivated to dress up and look nice.

SO, I take time to do my nails, face masks, put on some cosy socks, do my hair, or even just pluck a few hairs from my eyebrow. After that, I feel like a new woman. I love that for me. If you try it, I love that for you also.

3: Watch Hallmark Christmas movies

These movies have a hold on me, and I can’t even explain why. It’s a really popular opinion to HATE these movies but I can’t help but love them soooo much! Every time I’m flicking through the TV, and I see something along the lines of ‘Christmas Love Under The Stars’, ‘Holiday Mix Up’ with a red and green poster then I click on it ASAP. I find them really comforting because you know nothing crazy is going to happen; they’re pleasant, the set design team always put 20 Christmas wreaths in the background, and they have the character do unrealistic things, like get 4 weeks paid off work just to go to some small town to flirt with some guy that lives there that she used to grow up with.

It’s amazing. It’s great to relax and snuggle up with. It’s a guilty pleasure that I’m not even guilty about. It’s a distraction from anything else going on in my life and I can pretend that my life is like the characters. If only I could also find a Christmas cookie baking competition to help the town hall from shutting down :(

4: Have a cuppa

As always, making a hot drink, whether it’s a latte, hot chocolate or just a simple cup of tea, whenever I’m feeling low it allows me to have a bit of comfort and warmth and makes me feel better.

Feeling sad? Hot drink. Bad weather? Hot drink. I look forward to hot drinks.

When I moved into uni, the first two weeks I didn’t have a kettle and I felt so weird. The minute I had a hot drink it felt amazing when I put the kettle on, I was like ‘oh my gosh, my life is now complete, and I can now get things done’.

At Christmas there’s a lot of hot drink new flavours – it’s exciting to try them. Also coupled with everything such as watching movies, treating myself, pampering and having a cuppa I do a puzzle specific.

It helps my Christmas by doing it and I would also practice these things throughout the year as well, maybe you can try one of these things and see if it helps you if not, maybe you can troubleshoot and see things that to help you look after yourself and you should do more of those things for example, puzzles or something I discovered I liked whereas I knew a hot drink would always help me feel a little bit better.

5: Treat myself

Let’s go spend some moneyyyy (just a little pocket change). One thing I do the most is go to charity shops and go straight to the book sections. I have done this so many times and it’s so exciting bringing a new book home. Though, I do need to remember to actually read them.

If I have a few extra coins then I will buy myself a little Christmas present from somewhere.

I don’t wrap it up, but maybe I should. "To me, for me, love from me <3".

Even if I treat myself to something I already have such as making a BIGGER cup of tea. I do these little things as I want to be kind to myself! I deserve it! A lot of the time I feel like I’m such a bully to myself and stress myself out and put myself through a lot of hard things, and for what? I deserve a breakkk. I’m gonna buy that extra donut at Greggs! Uni can be overwhelming; the first trimester is 12 STRAIGHT weeks of work. Go buy that thing you really want, girl.

So! I hope you guys have a good Christmas break and look after yourselves. Don’t be too scared to take a break! Sometimes you feel you can concentrate more after the break, and it does you more good than you thought it would.

Take care and enjoy your break!

Published as part of ARU's #CareAtChristmas campaign 2022.