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Last Updated on November 13, 2023
December likely means a huuuuge ramp-up in your personal life between Christmas, gift shopping, family gatherings, and everything else!
Make your December self care plans now so you can remain calm and collected all month long. These self care ideas will keep you happy, healthy, and well-rested despite all the holiday commotion this December.
(And psst…go check out my holiday self care checklist to make sure your mental health is under control the week of Christmas, too!)
What is self care, really?
We talk a lot about self care on this blog. Balancing self care with your busy lifestyle is incredibly important! Self care can be defined as “maintaining physical and mental health, while meeting social and psychological needs.”
In practice, this can look like making sure you give yourself time to rest on the weekends, attending therapy, and including movement that makes you feel good, to name a few.
It can be “productive,” like journaling through your negative thoughts. Or it can be soothing, like taking a warm bubble bath. Usually, a mix of both is the key to well-rounded self care! And these December self care ideas have you covered.
How do I take care of myself in December?
If there’s any month in the year you should really prioritize self care, it’s definitely December. Why?
Not only is December the month of busy holiday planning, but it’s also dipping into the cold, dark winter days. Winter can bring unpleasant seasonal affective symptoms like low mood, lack of motivation, and feelings of hopelessness.
Because of this, it’s super important to check in with yourself and make time for YOU all throughout December.
Here’s a few ways you can partake in December self care:
- Reflect on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors regularly. You can do so by journaling!
- Honoring your need to rest to prevent burnout
- Do something nice for yourself
- Spend time alone
- Reach out for support when you need it
We’ll get into all these and more in this December Self Care post!
Top 28 December Self Care Ideas to Keep You Sane
Treat yourself right this month with these December self care ideas! You’re gonna need it with all the holiday chaos going on! These ideas will help you support your mental, physical, and social wellbeing so you can end December on a high note.
Don’t forget about these December self care ideas! Pin ’em to come back later!
1. Get your holiday shopping done like, now
If you haven’t already tackled your holiday shopping, or you still have a few last-minute things to grab, get it done ASAP!
When we have little tasks looming ahead of us, it takes up extra effort to remember them. We can’t really “let go” until we get them done. So do yourself a favor, knock out the shopping, and breathe!
2. Identify your needs and honor them
If there’s one thing to prioritize for December self care, let it be this.
Make sure you check in with what you need regularly throughout the month and honor those needs. Putting everyone else before yourself will only result in burnout and stress.
You’ve got to take care of yourself before you can be equipped to take care of others!
3. Make time for rest
This is a big one for holiday self care, and you’re gonna need it! While it can be all too tempting to achieve a billion holiday tasks, you’re not a machine.
And if you can’t manage to rest for a whole day at a time, even a few hours here and there can make all the difference. Make sure you’re seeking out opportunities for rest where you can.
4. Treat yourself
Don’t hesitate to treat yourself! You’re probably super focused on giving to others, especially with all of the holiday shopping going on. but remember to give to yourself as well.
You might want to pick up your favorite holiday drink from Starbucks or even just take a nap! (Both are totally valid for Christmas self care!)
5. Spend time alone
No doubt you’re likely spending a lot of time with family this month. However, if you’re an introvert like me, your social battery can only go so far (P.S: you’ll love these self care ideas for introverts!).
Self care during the holidays in the form of time spent alone is a must. I know that sometimes I just need to lock myself in a dark room and binge-watch my favorite shows without anyone bothering me haha!
6. Journal for your mental health
This December self-care idea is a game-changer for me. Ever since I incorporated journaling into my regular routine, it’s made such a difference in my mental health.
Thinking long and hard about my negative thoughts, my triggers, and the things I struggle with on a day-to-day basis is immensely useful.
This Is exactly why I created the printable mental health journal to help you do the same!
This journal is jam-packed with 33 pages of journal prompts and exercises for making sense of your emotions, reframing negative thoughts, and overcoming unhelpful behaviors.
Grab it below and make your mental health a priority this December!
7. Lean on your support system
Taking on stress all by yourself can make you feel very alone. Sometimes, we really need to lean on our loved ones and accept their support.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and super stressed out, it really helps to share your feelings with a trusted friend or family member. I’d say it’s an absolute must for a successful December wellness month.
8. Grab a yummy holiday drink with a friend
While the holidays are very family-oriented, there’s no reason to neglect your friends! Our friends are also people we love, so it makes perfect sense to spend time with them during the holidays.
A quick and easy way that won’t take up too much of your time is to grab a yummy holiday drink with a good friend and share good conversation!
9. Bake Christmas cookies or other desserts
Baking Christmas cookies or whatever it is you enjoy when you think about sweets is a surefire mood-booster! There’s no better opportunity for baking than around the holidays, so enjoy yourself and whip up something you love.
10. Try some Christmas crafts
Pinterest is going to be your best friend when it comes to crafty Christmas ideas. You also might want to think in terms of the season, as it’s a great time to pick up knitting or crocheting because of all the warm cozy pieces you can create!
11. Take a social media detox
Taking a social media detox at any time of year is a good idea, but it makes for great December self care.
Social media unfortunately breeds comparison, and before you know it you end up comparing silly things like your Christmas tree and your holiday decor not being perfect enough!
It’s crazy the things we start to feel self-conscious about as a result of social media, so give your brain a rest every once in awhile by taking a “detox.”
12. Start a gratitude journal
A great idea for shifting into a more positive mindset is to practice gratitude. The best way to do this is through a gratitude journal!
Sometimes it can be hard to think in broad terms about what we’re grateful for, so a journal is a great tool to guide you through all areas of life in which you feel gratitude.
My printable gratitude journal comes in handy for this. It has templates for creating a consistent gratitude practice each morning and night, as well as weekly and monthly. You get the chance to observe all areas of your life and identify what makes you feel happy! Grab it below!
13. Cross something off your to-do list
Crossing anything, even if it’s just one thing, off your to-do list is like a weight off your shoulders. The more you get done, the less your mental resources are drained keeping up with all the tasks you need to do.
Start small! A good rule of thumb is if something takes 5 minutes or less to complete, you’re better off completing it immediately.
14. Plan ahead now, then take it easy
Another thing to take a load off your mental resources is to get all of your holiday planning done now. Then you can take it easy the rest of the month knowing you have a plan in place.
This “plan now, rest later” habit is useful to apply to pretty much everything in your life!
15. Give meditation a try
Whether you’re an experienced meditator or you’ve never tried it a day in your life, I suggest everyone give it a try and just see what it can do for you.
Newbies often shy away from meditation because it can feel awkward, or like your mind is wandering too much. (Spoiler: it’s normal for your mind to wander! It’s more about your response to it that matters.)
Meditation can certainly be a challenge for a beginner, which is why I always recommend starting with guided meditations.
Headspace is a great app for beginners and they have meditations for anything you’re trying to achieve. From sleep, to focus, to anxiety, they have it all! You can try Headspace free for 14 days at my link right here!
16. Opt out
Friendly reminder: you don’t need to say yes to everything.
This rings true on any day of the year, but it’s especially important to remember during the holidays.
You’re likely already stretched very thin as it is, so be mindful and conservative of how you spend your time. Trying to do too much usually backfires, and you want to protect your energy. Don’t skimp on taking care of yourself this winter!
17. Go for a bundled up nature walk
Depending on where you live, the cold weather can feel so brutal! If you can help it, I wouldn’t let this stop you from the therapeutic benefits of nature.
Taking a nice leisurely walk in nature can really ground you and calm you down. Just bundle up to make this December self care experience a pleasant one!
18. Schedule a therapy appointment
I know that therapy can be a not-so-fun form of self-care, but the truth is, it’s usually one of the most necessary things you should do for yourself.
Especially with the winter season bringing about seasonal affective symptoms like stress end negative thinking, therapy is more important than ever.
I know that I always make therapy an even bigger priority during the busy seasons of my life because I know I need it most. And every single time, I’m glad I did.
If you could also use extra mental health support this month, I always recommend Online Therapy. Getting therapy from the comfort of my home has been a game changer!
Online Therapy is a comprehensive, effective online therapy toolkit at an affordable monthly cost. Get 20% off your first month with the link below!
19. Nurture your sleep schedule
Getting adequate sleep is one of the most crucial winter self care ideas! Even just going to bed an hour earlier each night will be one of the best December self care strategies you could take. You want to feel ready to tackle all of the holiday tasks, so sleep is something you shouldn’t compromise on.
20. Practice self love
It’s not easy, and it’s usually a lifelong endeavor, but learning to love yourself is something we all need to strive for. We don’t see positive change when we’re beating ourselves up along the way.
Extending yourself some grace and compassion goes a long way in actually bettering your growth as a person. When you support yourself no matter where you’re at, you’re likely to have a better outcome with the things you want to improve on.
21. Have a hygge evening
Ever heard of the Danish concept of “hygge”? It’s basically all about prioritizing comfort and coziness! What better time of year to embrace cozy vibes than in December?
Make a whole evening with the goal of hygge in mind. I’m talking lighting candles, snuggling up with a warm blanket, and enjoying a cup of soothing hot chocolate or herbal tea.
22. Take a mindful snow walk
If you get snow where you live, take advantage of it! Romanticize the act of walking through your winter wonderland.
Most importantly, really immerse your senses in it! Notice the snow crunching under your feet, the crisp air, and anything else that helps you connect with the winter.
Listen, I know it’s cold! But give it a shot. You may find a new appreciation for winter when you approach the season with mindfulness.
23. Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about
December and Christmas are all about the act of giving, right? So why not embrace this idea by giving back to your local community? Helping others can make you feel good, and in turn serves as a heartwarming self care idea!
You can help out at your local animal shelter, soup kitchen, or any other organization that makes a difference.
24. Create the ultimate winter playlist
You know how songs can become so easily tied to certain memories? Make your memories count this winter by curating the perfect winter playlist to match this era of your life!
Whether it’s cheesy Christmas music or emotional songs that really speak to you, make a playlist that represents what you want to remember this season.
25. Take a DIY spa day
Because who doesn’t want to hop into a warm bath when you’re absolutely freezing?! Whether it’s a bubble bath, fun DIY face masks, or taking an “everything” shower, never feel bad about pampering yourself!
26. Plan for the new year
If you’re thinking ahead to the new year with a groan and an eye roll, let’s fix that.
Planning for the new year doesn’t need to be stressful or overwhelming. All you need is to dedicate 30 minutes to reflect on the past year and set a few goals accordingly–nothing too crazy.
Focus especially on setting intentions to guide the way you want to feel as you walk into the new year! These new years goal ideas will make it easier for you.
27. Unplug and dive into a book
Reading is the ultimate cozy December self care activity, especially when you’re stuck indoors! Either grab that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand, or maybe even take a trip to the library. Then, kick back and relax as you escape reality for a bit.
28. Have a winter photoshoot
Whether you’re outdoors with the winter landscape, or indoors surrounded by all your Christmas decor, make sure to snap some cute photos this season. It’ll be nice to document this year’s Christmas, and if you like your photos enough, you could even create Christmas cards to send out!
December Self Care Check-In
Hey, remember what I said about checking in with yourself this month? Here’s a quick little December self care check-in to ask yourself how you’re doing! Think about how you really feel in response to these questions.
- What do you need most this month?
- How are you handling the holidays?
- Is this year more stressful than last year’s holiday season? Why or why not?
- What is one self care activity from this list of December self care ideas that you’ll make sure you do?
- How can you support yourself this time of year?
These questions will help you evaluate how you’re feeling and what you can do about it so that your December is smooth sailing! Remember that it’s okay to put yourself first. You can’t pour from an empty cup.