There’s a whole lot to love about the holiday season, but it can be stressful all the same. We’re juggling a lot of things at once: deadlines at work, gift shopping, holiday parties, and traveling to see family. According to a poll by the American Psychological Association, almost a quarter of Americans report feeling “extreme stress” during the holidays, and a survey by Think Finance even shows that 45% would be happy to go without Christmas altogether since it’s so stressful. Yikes.
Most of us who are experiencing holiday-related anxiety probably just charge through it, because you’re so busy that you simply don’t have time to deal with the stress. That’s where you’re wrong, though. You’ve always got a little bit of time, even if you have to cancel something to focus on yourself. Pampering yourself can go a long way in the winter months when you’re feeling the pressure of the holidays. Even if it’s something as simple as a long, hot bath on a Friday evening, take advantage of the few free minutes you have and engage in a beauty routine.
Jennifer Wolkin, a psychologist at the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, tells Allure that a beauty or skincare ritual can go a long way. It can reduce anxiety and help you manage the chaos around you. “This sort of ritual is a way to create a sense of control,” she says. “Those who do this are decreasing negative thoughts or reducing uncertainty to create an illusion of control.” So order yourself some bath salts — and relax. Santa would want it this way.
To help your self-care journey along, we’ve collected seven self-care beauty rituals to partake in during times of holiday stress.
1Dry body brushing & a hot bath.
It sounds weird if you’ve never tried it, but dry body brushing, which is when you run a soft, natural brush on your dry skin, is a fantastic way to increase blood flow circulation, exfoliate your skin, and decrease anxiety. Brush your whole body from your neck all the way to your toes, and always brush in the direction of your heart. You’ll feel a pleasant tingling sensation, which will only be heightened if you jump in a hot bath afterwards. The warm water increases circulation even more and, obviously, helps you relax like the pampered queen that you are.
2Moisturizing hair mask.
Your hair has probably seen some damage during this time of year, with all the blow drying and curling you’ve been doing for those Christmas parties. Fret not, though, because you probably have all the ingredients you need for a homemade hair mask already sitting in your kitchen. All it takes is olive oil, eggs, coconut oil, and honey. There are some variations out there that toss Greek yogurt into the mix.
Just use whatever you’ve got. Mix up your hair mask, apply it, and you’ll have no other choice but to sit down and chill for a few minutes. Both you and your winter-dry hair will be the happier for it.
You don’t need to pay an exorbitant amount of money at a fancy spa to score a yummy facial. The instructions for an at-home facial are really quite easy to follow, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Do it at night so your skin can spend the next eight hours soaking up all the benefits, try to make it an hour-long facial (if you’re in a pinch, half an hour will do), and take long, deep breaths during the process, which will chase the stress away as you’re steaming your way to clear, dewy skin.
Need a little pick-me-up? Exhausted from all the running around? A coffee scrub will give you an extra boost you need (along with an actual coffee, surely). A coffee scrub is a soothing treatment that will exfoliate and tighten your skin, reduce inflammation and swelling (read: get rid of those bags under your eyes), and leave you feeling refreshed. There are a few different ways you can make a coffee scrub, so just find the recipe you like best. For best results, use good-quality coffee grounds.
5DIY lip scrub.
One of the most fun parts of the holiday season is wearing the darkest of lipsticks to all the parties. Make the perfect base for that deep burgundy by giving your chapped lips the royal treatment. With simple ingredients like coconut oil, brown sugar, honey, and cinnamon, you can whip up a lip scrub that not only gives you a beautiful pout, but is yummy enough to eat.
6Charcoal face mask.
The most popular face mask trend on Pinterest this past year was the charcoal face mask. Using activated charcoal, bentonite clay, and water (you can even add matcha green tea if you’d like) will help you keep acne breakouts at bay, give you smooth, glowing skin, and minimize the appearance of your pores. Like any face mask, it will only work if you actually give it the time to settle into your skin, so as soon as you’ve got that charcoal on your face, slow down and settle in for a little while.
7DIY green tea exfoliator.
Sure, green tea has a lot of benefits when you drink it, but there’s a lot of good to be had when you use it on your skin. The antioxidant properties in green tea repair damaged skin, reactive your cells, and soothe your complexion. Not to mention you’ll walk away feeling refreshed — with baby soft skin, no less. All you need for this mask is green tea, brown sugar, honey, and olive oil. Let this green tea exfoliating routine be the pause you need in your busy holidaze to loosen up and feel spoiled.