As much as the holidays are a fun and festive time of the year, they can be equally chaotic. Between traveling, shopping for gifts, wrapping up last minute work projects, tidying up the house for guests, and prepping for parties, our brains and bodies need time to relax and recharge. And that’s where “me-time” comes in. It can be just a few moments of relaxation in the morning, or a full day of retreat – the point is to take time out of your day to devote exclusively to yourself, doing something you enjoy. It’s entirely worth it too – you’ll be happier and feel more energized when you return back to work. Need some inspiration? Here are four of my personal favorite me-time activities to do during the fall and winter seasons…
Cozy up with a Book & Your Favorite Drink
Whether I’m learning tips on how to de-clutter my apartment, or loosing myself in a fantasy series, books help improve my mental focus and concentration, and most importantly, they help me relax. Combine a good read with a hot drink and a cozy chair, and I’m in heaven. In the fall especially, I love to drink spiced teas and coffees – from chai lattes and cardamon tea, to Eight O’Clock Coffee Infusions Super Spice, one of the first spiced coffee blends I’ve ever come across that I can easily make at home, no recipe required. The mix of Arabica coffee with earthy-sweet turmeric and spicy cinnamon tastes so smooth and delicious with an extra bit of kick, making it the perfect pick-me-up in the morning or afternoon. Eight O’Clock Coffee also makes other unique and delicious blends like Alert Hi-Caffeine, B6 Metabolism, and Acai Glow, which you can find in most stores, or buy online (and snag yourself a coupon here).
Relax & Recharge in Nature
Some of my best walks and hikes involve the great outdoors and a motivational audio book or podcast to get the mental juices flowing. One of my favorite podcasts is Hidden Brain – their 6-part ‘You 2.0’ series I found particularly insightful, plus it comes in short, digestible episodes that are only 30-60 minutes long. There are also tons of short inspirational audio books out there that you can listen to over the course of a few hikes, like one of my recent favorites – The Art of Mental Training by DC Gonzalez. The key is to find whatever interests you the most, pop in a pair of earbuds, and go outside for some fresh air, exercise, and new inspiration.
Practice Yoga in Your Own Quiet Space
There are all sorts of ways to practice yoga – you can take classes, or follow along to a YouTube video. However, when it comes to truly relaxing and enjoying your yoga session, I’d recommend doing it entirely alone, in your own sacred space, and memorizing a short, easy routine so you don’t have to stay glued to a screen the entire time. If you’re a beginner, learn a few basic poses to get you started, or cycle through the downward dog, plank, and cobra poses. Pop on some calming tunes if you have speakers in your room, light some incense (frankincense is a favorite of mine around the holidays), and then gently and slowly move through your routine while focusing on your breath – inhaling and exhaling through each pose. Some of my favorite times to practice yoga is first thing in the morning to stretch out my limbs, and an hour or so before bed to let go of the day’s tension. If it’s the latter, I’ll settle down to a cup of Eight O’Clock Coffee Infusions Relax afterwards. It’s a decaffeinated coffee blend infused with calming chamomile and lavender, making it the perfect complement to a yoga routine!
Cook up Your Favorite Meal
There’s nothing quite like making something from scratch – whether it’s cooking up a romantic dinner for two, or baking dozens of delicious Christmas cookies. Not to mention, it feels incredibly rewarding when the time finally comes to settle down and enjoy our creations. To turn this into an enjoyable ‘me time’ experience, make sure the TV is off and phone is put away. Instead, fill the kitchen with music – either lively French music, a little Frank Sinatra Christmas, or whatever else suits your mood – and focus entirely on the experience of cooking. Become more aware and appreciative of all the fresh ingredients that you’re working with, and take time to taste and experiment with different flavors and spices. Once your dish is ready, keep those devices tucked away, sit comfortably, and just enjoy your food, taking in all the flavors and savoring each and every bite. (Need a lesson on how to really enjoy a meal? Just watch an episode of the K-drama Let’s Eat. :P).
What are some of your favorite me-time activities to do around the holidays, or all year round?