By now, hopefully we’ve all come to learn this truth: leading a healthy life does not have to be expensive or complicated. Certainly, modern-day wellness hasn’t always been the most accessible—but that’s not to say it can’t be. I love a luxurious face mask as much as the next wellness girly and splurging on a massage sounds like the best way to spend my holiday bonus. But when it really comes down to it, getting back to the basics of health and whole living should be simple. That’s why I’ve rounded up a list of my go-to wellness practices to keep in my back pocket for times when stress is high. Like… right about now.
Featured image of Megan Roup by Michelle Nash.
16 Wellness Practices to Keep You Grounded During the Holidays
Of course, an hour-long yoga class or spa day can do wonders for our overall health, but it’s not always easy to find the time (or cash) to fit them in, especially during the holidays. The daily wellness practices below take minimal effort and are gentle ways to support your health—mind, body, and spirit. Whether your goal is increased energy, detoxification, or an emotional boost, these little free medicine practices are easy to incorporate and don’t cost a thing.
Scroll on for 16 free, restorative wellness practices to kickstart your morning or sprinkle in throughout your day. Because after all, this should be the most wonderful time of year, shouldn’t it?
1. Set Boundaries
It’s okay to say no! This wellness practice is especially valuable around the holidays when our enthusiasm for the season can take over. If we’re tempted to say yes to too many things, we can easily get overwhelmed. On top of that, family time often brings up great opportunities for boundary-setting. Check out this article for practical tips on boundary setting this holiday season.
2. Practice Gratitude
If there was one practice to boost your joy and mental state, gratitude has to be it. I love this quote by Melody Beattie: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Remember that the next time you’re comparing yourself to another person’s seemingly-perfect life on social media. The beauty and love you’ve brought into your life is already and always enough.
3. Get Moving
Try incorporating some light exercise, walking, or stretching into your everyday routine. Remember: it doesn’t have to be intense or long! You’re always welcome to sprinkle in heavier workouts if you’d like, but the daily habit of doing something simple helps you build up consistency. And with the positive feedback that comes from consistency, it’s easier to build a long-term commitment.
4. Take Hot and Cold Showers
This is such a simple thing but it has amazing benefits. Experts say when practiced on a regular basis, cold water therapy can provide long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory, and digestive systems that enhance the overall quality of your life. The benefits of this wellness practice range from major (potentially helping to reverse disease) to small (increasing collagen in our skin) and they seem to go on and on.
2020 was a lot. 2021 was a lot. And yes, 2022 was a lot. The last few years have been tough and learning to navigate them can, at times, feel impossible. I’ve found that journaling helps me make sense of my underlying emotions and get to the core of what I’m really feeling. If you’re looking for inspiration, try one of these journaling prompts. Or you can opt for a guided journal that makes it feel like you’re writing to a loving and curious friend.
6. Move Your Lymphatic System
Pull out the dry brush or try lymphatic massage. They’re both amazing ways to move toxins through your body by stimulating your lymphatic system, thus easing your body’s efforts to reduce inflammation. Check out this video for easy lymphatic massage and dry brushing. It really only takes a couple of minutes.
7. Step Out Into Nature
Sunlight, fresh air, and a little bit of grounding are something we need every day. It’s so easy to let the day get away from you, but we should be prioritizing time outside every day. That can be difficult in the colder, darker winter months. But by bundling up and stepping out for a 10-minute stroll around the block, you can do wonderful things for your body and mind. Feel like walking with a friend? Even better.
8. Prioritize Good Quality Sleep
One of the pillars to good health is quality sleep—we all could use a brush up on our sleep hygiene. It’s easy to stay up late knocking to-do’s off your list, but it’s important to rest and go to bed when you’re tired. After all, inadequate sleep has been linked to mood and mental health issues, disrupted concentration, blood pressure changes, weakened immune system, and an increased risk of diseases like diabetes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
9. Spend Quality Time With Loved Ones
There’s ample evidence that human connection and friendships don’t just boost our physical and mental health—they actually make our lives better. Whether you’re gathering with family in person or connecting with friends via FaceTime, be sure to carve out space in your days to spend time with those you love.
10. Spend Time Between the Sheets
Not only is sex good for your relationship, but it can also reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, decrease pain, and even boost your immune system. Just in case you needed the extra push.
11. Clock Some Screen-Free Time
Does it feel like your daily screen time just keeps going up and up? Try scheduling a set time every day to go phone-free. I like to set a timer and power off my phone so that I don’t slip into checking my phone for one thing and find myself scrolling Instagram 30 minutes later. Better yet, power off your phone for the weekend. Yes, it really is possible.
12. Eat Nourishing Meals
The holidays are all about indulgence. But after a few too many sugar-induced headaches, you’re probably tempted to slow down. We’d never tell you to step away from the Christmas cookies (by all means, dig in), but you can try intentionally weaving a few plant-based meals into your week. Because when it comes down to it, it’s all about prioritizing variety and finding balance.
13. Sweat It Out
There’s nothing like a good sweat to aid your body in detoxifying. Not only that, but it can help you burn calories, improve circulation, boost your mood, and improve muscle relaxation. I like to work up a sweat with yard work or a quick jog around the block. If you live in a colder climate, one of our favorite ways to sweat is with an infrared sauna sesh.
14. Start Your Day With a Solid Morning Routine
Drink a glass of warm lemon water. Meditate. Get dressed. Turn on a fun playlist. There are so many ways to set your intention for your day ahead and get your day off to a great start. See how a few of our favorite ladies start their day if you’re looking for inspiration.
15. Organize Your Home
While a perfectly put-together house can feel unattainable, the constant mess does have an effect on our mental well-being (this article on the subject is fascinating). Check out these tips for little ways to clean up and organize your home.
16. Breathe Deeply
Managing stress is essential to lowering inflammation, promoting balance, and preventing the buildup of unwanted toxins in the body. Believe it or not, simply doing some breathing exercises or meditation can be extremely effective in supporting your body’s ability to detox and will leave you feeling calm and relaxed. Taking deep belly breaths regulates blood pressure and your heartbeat.