The Best Holiday Self-Care Ideas and Activities

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The holidays are one of the most hectic times of year. During hectic times it’s very common that the first things we throw off our to-do list are the things that actually keep us sane and matter the most. That’s why I’ve compiled the best holiday self-care ideas and activities. 

hoiday self care in front of the fire place

During the holidays it’s more important than ever to practice self-care. 

The holidays are so much about giving, and you can’t give if you’re not recharging your own batteries. Another one of the reasons it’s especially important to practice self-care during the holidays is that during the holidays, some of us experience winter depression because of the decreased daylight. That means self-care over the holidays is THAT MUCH more important than it is over the rest of the year. Recognizing this rather than avoiding it will help you deal with your emotions. It will also help you to be more empathetic to those around you. 

Here are some holiday self-care ideas and activities to consider as the holiday season ramps up:

Morning routine

Even more than during the rest of the year, during the holidays it’s important to attend to your own self-care and set the tone for your day with a morning routine. In a mere 10 minutes in the morning you can tap into your subconscious mind, regulate your nervous system, and improve your overall well being. There are so many great morning rituals! Click here to get my favorites along with a guide to set up your morning routine. 


Yoga is a great way to tune into your body and your mind and a great holiday self-care activity. During the hustle and bustle of the holidays this is even more important but often overlooked. If you’re looking for something a bit different, rather than just your usual stretch session, try to find a winter solstice class. It’s such a powerful time to practice–it’s when the daylight begins to lengthen again. In our culture, we recognize this with lights and New Year’s resolutions.


It only takes a few minutes of exercise to increase your endorphins and feel better. For optimal holiday self-care, try to move your body every day. From jazzercise, to running, any exercise will serve as the perfect holiday self-care activity with mental and physical benefits.

Enjoy nature 

It’s typical to enjoy the great outdoors in summer or when the leaves fall, but winter is a magical time. Make sure to spend some mindful holiday time in the snow or walking (or driving) through the neighborhood taking in the lights. Go to the park and sit with a thermos full of tea or hot chocolate. Partake in winter activities like sledding or skiing. It’s important for your mental health to be outside and winter is an incredible time to do this. 

Being in nature is one of the most recharging holiday self-care ideas. 

Limit your screen time

Mindlessly scrolling and looking at social media can bring us down. Remember that social media isn’t real, and people post their holiday fun and parties more than their dark days or grief. Because of this, it’s a good practice to limit screen time, especially because your days may be busy and your time is limited anyway by holiday planning and activities. Limiting screen time is a simple self care idea that will give you time and energy. The Mayo Clinic has a great article here about how limiting screen time can improve your health. 


Instead of looking at a screen, why not take just a few minutes to meditate? It can clear your head and boost your mood! If you don’t know where to start, try a guided meditation like the ones offered on Headspace

family ice skating at christmas time

Go ice skating, see The Nutcracker, and participate in holiday activities

Take advantage of opportunities available only during the holidays, such as sledding and holiday shows! There are so many fun holiday activities that only come around during the holiday season. Make sure that you’re scheduling time to partake in the ones that matter to you.

Whether it’s seeing Santa, enjoying a mistletoe margarita, or looking at Christmas lights, scheduling the holiday activities that matter to you will keep you feeling merry and bright. 

Use essential oils

Aromatherapy is a great way to ignite your sense of smell and calm your mind. While essential oils are great all year long, limited edition holiday scents that are only available this time of year are extra special. Try a holiday set like this holiday set

You can diffuse the oil in your home. For an instant nervous system reset, rub a few drops in between your hands and then hold your hands up to your nose, close your eyes, and take 3 deep inhales and exhales. It’s a nice, pampering holiday self-care ritual.

Take a bubble bath

Bubble baths are a great way to soak in some essential oils and spend some “me” time. They’re also an ultimate self-care experience. Take the time to light a candle, pour yourself a drink, and play some spa-like music. My favorite holiday playlist is this instrumental Christmas one here on Spotify. Not a bath person? 

Add a steamer to your shower

Steamers are one of my favorite ways to make a shower a more spa-like experience without having to take a bath. Simply unwrap a steamer of your favorite scent, drop it in your shower (not directly underneath the water), and enjoy! 


Practice active listening with others, but even more so, with yourself. Active listening means taking in information without trying to come up with advice or thinking about what you can add to the story. It’s about truly taking information in. That means before you over commit to a holiday party, check in and see how your body feels when you say you’ll go. For so many, it can be hard to really listen to yourself. Take the time to really listen to yourself and tune in so that you can nourish your body and mind. Listening is an impactful way to practice self-care over the holidays. The more you do this, the better you’ll get. If you’re unsure of how to listen to yourself, practice meditating and getting quiet so that your intuition becomes louder and clearer. 

Meaningful gift giving

We’ve all been in a pinch and bought a bottle of wine or candles when we don’t know what to get someone. But you know what is even more nurturing for your soul? Taking time to find a thoughtful gift that will make the receiver truly smile and appreciate the thought and time you put into it. Savvy gift-givers start to formulate ideas for gifts several months before the holidays. When they see something they know someone would like, they get it right then–which can help spread the holiday budget out. 

A great holiday activity is slowing down and enjoying shopping for those on your list. 

Spending time with loved ones

Connection is important all year long, but the holidays are a great time to prioritize quality time. Self-care isn’t just about being alone or doing things for yourself, it’s about things that will make you feel fuller-like being with loved ones. Quality time with loved ones is something that will recharge you. Even though you might be busy with planning for the holidays, don’t forget why–and for whom–you’re doing all that work!

Watch a holiday movie

With loved ones or without, and whether it’s a classic you’ve seen 100 times before or a new Hallmark special, watching a holiday movie is a great self-care idea. The emotional benefits of nostalgic holiday movies reinforce our sense of self and help us alleviate feelings of loneliness. There’s something so nurturing about those familiar story plots where you just know everything will be ok. 

Bake holiday cookies

What’s more fun than baking holiday cookies (I mean besides eating them…and the dough)! For so many of us, we don’t take time to bake. During the holidays, find grandma’s or mom’s recipes for cookies, or use ones you’ve been meaning to try. Maybe contact friends for recipe exchanges. If you have kids, get them involved too, helping to make memories for them! 

Holiday self-care means the good feelings you get from your connection with others.

Savor your favorite holiday treat. 

Besides the activity of baking or cooking, try mindful eating this holiday season. Mindful eating is paying attention to each bite of food on purpose. Mindfully indulge in the casserole your aunt only makes once a year, or the cookie that only comes out in December. 

Sip a holiday drink, hot cocoa, or festive mocktail 

To unwind at the end of a busy day, take time for an aperitif with a gingerbread martini or a peppermint white Russian—two of my personal go-to drinks for a holiday aperitif. 

You can drink warm cider or hot chocolate. Whatever your drink of choice, holiday self-care is about slowing down and enjoying your time. Savor your drink. Mindfully sit and enjoy the lights, tree, or insert any other pretty winter festival item. Slowing down and being in the moment is a great way to practice self-care and holiday mindfulness. 

woman sitting by the fire place with glass of wine and popcorn

Sit by the fireplace (or fire pit) 

Sitting by the fire can be such a soothing way to calm your mind and mindfully enjoy the holidays while practicing self-care. Mindfulness allows us to savor each moment and improves our wellbeing. There’s something magical about being by the fire. You can sit and enjoy your holiday drink alone or even do this as a family. Whatever you choose, taking time to feel the warmth and watch the flames–it will soothe your soul.

Say NO to one holiday event 

Don’t try to squeeze everything in. There are so many parties and things to do over the holidays, but sometimes one of the best self-care things we can do is to say no and not overcommit ourselves. Overcommitting usually leaves us stressed out and tired. The holidays are a busy time of year and it’s absolutely ok to say no. And when you do, you’ll make room for “me” time. 

Take a “me” day (or hour)

It’s common that we take time off over the holidays to be with family, but sometimes we can get “people overload.” Don’t forget some “me” time. You’re not the Energizer bunny, so you need time to recharge. Or As the flight attendant always advises us, put the oxygen mask on yourself first so that you’re then able to help others. If you’re traveling, add in a day when you get back to just take care of yourself and recover from travel. If you’re wanting to spend a day going to a holiday show, take the day off and make a day of it. Depending on your job, it may be easier than normal to take time off during the holidays. 

“Me time” is a holiday self-care activity MUST!

I hope that you spend some time this holiday season practicing mindfulness and self-care. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle of the holidays, and it can actually be a lot of fun if you’re practicing your self-care and staying mindful of your own wellbeing. 

Let me know what your favorite holiday self care idea or activity was below! Or tag me in your posts #spritzsunday

jillian travel and wellness influencer

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