Most days at 5 o’clock, you’ll find me submerged in a hot bath with a good book and cup of tea (or the occasional glass of wine.) It’s a ritual I’ve been relishing lately—and although it does more for my sense of well-being than almost anything else, I used to only do it every once in a while. But recently I wondered, why? So I decided to make bath time a near-everyday thing. I light a candle, turn on music, and transition out of the workday and into a more relaxed, present, peaceful state of mind. Since these calming rituals are even more crucial as we enter the busiest season of the year, I put together a list of inspiring acts of self-care to incorporate during the holiday season. Use these self-care ideas to create a deeper connection with yourself—then let these same intentions guide your gift-giving.
in partnership with Haven Well Within, photography by Michelle Nash
Slip into something soft
One thing that many of us realized during quarantine is that a great loungewear set can do more for your mood than just about anything else. Gone are the days when a ratty sweatsuit will do—we’ve realized that one of the best ways to treat ourselves (and those we love) is with sumptuous sweaters for curling up on the couch, or soft cashmere socks for slipping into before a holiday movie marathon. There are few things more luxurious than feeling truly at ease at home, and here are a few favorites from Haven Well Within that anyone on your list will love:
Pour a celebratory drink
There’s a reason why happy hour exists: there’s something about delicious drinks that signals to the brain that the workday is over and it’s time to ease into a more relaxed state of being. While a glass of pinot noir is always delicious, especially during the chillier months, many of my friends (self-included, most of the time) are refraining from alcohol during the week in an effort to feel vibrant and energized the next morning. Thankfully, there are a host of delicious, alcohol-free options hitting the market that make that post-work drink feel celebratory, sans booze. The key is to turn it into a ritual with a pretty glass, botanical-infused beverage, and twist of lime.
Create a sensory experience
Out of all the senses, scent is the one that has the most immediate impact on my mood. And lighting a beautiful and incorporating other home fragrances like diffusers into my home boosts my well-being every time I step inside my front door. Light a candle next to the bed or on the table, breathe deep and enjoy the present moment. Here are gift ideas to help those you love make their home a haven:
Run a bath
Is there anything more restorative than a warm (or in my case hot) bath? A quality soak is so much more than just a soothing experience, it also boosts our well-being both mentally and physically. For me, taking time to rest in a tub of water is my version of self-care and it has also been incredibly healing for me. Sometimes I’ll even prepare a detox bath to actively support my health during bouts of stress or fatigue—it’s a game-changer. Here are a few things that help to elevate my experience.
Nourish your skin
My skincare routine has also become a daily moment of self-care for me. The holiday season always raises those cortisol levels, so dedicating five-minute pockets of time to nourish yourself and be present is vital to staying sane and calm. I have started to incorporate some facial massage or gua sha after layering on my moisturizer to release tension from my jaw muscles and neck—two areas that always seem to be tight. Keep reading to discover a few favorites that I help to take my skincare ritual to spa-like status.
Stream a podcast or audiobook
Is there anything more luxurious than popping in headphones and zoning out to a guided meditation or a podcast? I love to climb into bed with my herbal tea, close my eyes, and get absorbed in a gripping podcast that inevitably calms my brain and lulls me into a sleepier state.
Climb into bed early for a truly restorative sleep.
If you’ve been coming here for a while, you know how much we value sleep. From foods high in melatonin to Zeitgeber rhythms and blackout shades, we’re constantly seeking out the latest research to understand more about the science of sleep along with the steps needed to improve the quality of our Z’s. If you’re looking to improve your slumber too, then keep reading for some of the products we swear by including luxe sleepwear, calming scents, eye pillows, and cozy blankets—give the gift of a good nights’ sleep this year.
If you’re like me, you work hard to make your home your favorite place to be. This season, help those you love to slow down, nurture themselves, and be more present in the year ahead.