Overwhelm and burn out was the recipe of the day. A was tired, drowning under a sea of responsibilities, deadlines and chores. The darkness tried to engulf her hungrily, in a macrabre blanket of desperation, and longing. But noone saw that did they? The mountain of insecurities, and tears that made threats daily. The sheer panic that filled her body, as yet another anxiety attack racked her body. The countless sleepless nights, waiting for sleep to come, and it never did. Recently, she had a new mental health diagnosis, and medication, which she prayed would give her the tranquil solace that she so craved. Even writing this was hard. The shallow breaths that overcompensated for her anxiety. The tension that squeezed her chest, stomach and back. She called them her trigger points, the consequences of having mixed anxiety, and depression that was (as a doctor quoted) ‘ very severe’. Yet people didn’t see that did they? All the saw was the showman mask. The manic laughter, and the try-hard positivity. A tendency to sweep things under the carpet. Someone who couldn’t possibly be anxious, when she did so much. Truth be told, she was so looking forward to a holistic self-care Christmas. A chance to heal, breathe, and re-connect. Away from the pressures of everyday life, where the happiness of a self care Christmas awaited her waiting arms. She craved an escape, and she needed it fast.
Being still was never A’s strong point. After all, she was constantly working, and kept busy. To an outsider, she was keeping it together. As her therapist said, she could hold down a job, was social, had an active lifestyle, and was always doing something. Yet, as she explained to her therapist, that was because she had ‘high-functioning’ anxiety. It didn’t show how she felt on the inside. The scrambled stomach, a bundle of nerves, the rapid breathing. The over-thinking, and over-analyzing mind that couldn’t switch off. The body that was constantly in a state of fight or flight, paralyzed in a state of fear and dread. Of course, she was that positive, go-lucky person too. That was very much a part of her personality. She was sunny, friendly, and laughed a lot. But as equally as she laughed, she would cry too, sobbing into the early hours.
Her therapist mentioned something canny, that struck her. Part of the reason why she found self-care difficult, was because of people’s reactions towards her mental health when she was younger. To the point that she saw self-care as yet another chore to tick off the to-do list. After all, she was someone who would burn herself out, to the point where she would pivot to autopilot mode. In the rare moments that she was still, she would become agitated and restless, feeling the adrenaline course through her body. She had to always be working, otherwise she would fall down. Yet the paradox was that it didn’t matter whether she was working or still. She always felt the same. She worked so hard on herself mentally, and physically, that she desperately wanted to get better. But Christmas like any time of year was difficult for her. She was overwhelmed by how much there was to do for Christmas. In fact, she was mentally checked out.
Creating a self-care gift guide was as much a reminder for A, as it was for her audience. After all, she always aimed to be transparent, and the truth was, sometimes she was not OK. Sometimes the negative feelings would crush her insides and leave her churning. Yet there was light too. She made sure of it. She loved giving her beloved three cats massages, watching their faces close blissfully in anticipation. She would laugh gregariously at her favourite cartoons, still a child at heart in an adults body. There would be dips in a bubble bath, fragrant with soap, and candle’s a’burning. A read of a good book, and a dance to her favourite songs. A podcast, a film, snuggles in voluminous blankets that were crafted from the Gods. Mindful self-care didn’t come easily to her, but it was something she would continue practicing. On a base level, she desperately wanted to get better, and feel good. But then on a subsconscious level, her mind would believe that she didn’t deserve it, even if her body tried to counteract that claim.
Depression was a silent visitor but a steady one at that. Anxiety on the other hand was like that obtrusive, nosy neighbour that was loud and obnoxious. The two together? A self-care hazard. Her problem was that she would do too much, try too hard, and say yes to many things. She thought she was selfish but she realized that she wasn’t. She was always thinking about other people, and looking after herself seemed taxing. She was thankful that she wasn’t alone during the festive season, because she knew how difficult things could be. How she burnt the candle at both ends. If there was one New Years resolution that she needed to have, it was to slow down, and stay grounded. To be more present, and to live in the moment. To move away from the fear and addiction of anxiety, and start making healthier choices. To surround herself with love and light, and feel the warmth of an open embrace.
There was joy in Christmas too. It was the little things. Munching on iced gingerbread men, with comical gusto. Drinking hot chocolate, and laughing at the whipped cream moustache. The frantic shriek of over-excited children that made her broody, their enthusiasm was infectious. She realized that Christmas self-care wasn’t about the obvious. Sometimes self-care was small. Trivial to someone else, but significant to you. As she explained to her therapist, mental health sometimes felt like a secret. Taking medication made it less of a secret, and there was shame and stigma in that. But there shouldn’t be. She needed to be OK with the idea of needing help. Being independent only got her so far. Sometimes it was OK to be dependant, and reliant because that was self-care too. The pressure felt all-consuming sometimes. But she needed to learn how to let go of pressure, and just live in the moment. We only had one life, and she needed to start living a life with meaning.
Finding stillness in Christmas seemed like an impossible feat, but she was determined to try. She would step outside of her comfort zone, and take a meditation course. She found consistiency difficult, but she needed to take it at her own pace. Some days were too difficult for her, and try as she may, she just couldn’t do self-care. Then there were other days, where she was motivated and determined. She would follow the course with avid concentration, practicing again and again until she could do it on her own. There was a mindfulness book too, from The Conscious Professional with 100 mindful meditations that would help her integrate mindfulness, meditation and self-care into every day life. Then there were the self-care treats, that made her feel good. The vegan gingerbread truffle chocolate from Ombar that personifed Christmas, broken into chunks. Nibbling, she’d pore over her latest obsession. Readly, and its access to countless magazines including history tributes to Ancient Egypt. Reading to A was one of the greatest holistic self-care Christmas rituals that she could have.
The scent of lavender and chamomile wafted around the room fragrantly, until the light outside grew dark, and night was upon her. Lights out, she was caressed by the sounds of the forest, her Absolute Aromas diffuser a welcome nightlight. Doing was easy. But just being? That was a skill that A was yet to master. She had always been scared of the unknown, and sometimes self-care felt exactly like that. Doing something for herself seemed alien, but it was important to have me-time. Especially during the Christmas season. So, she peered into her rituals book, and made a list. Of all the the holistic self-care Christmas gifts that would bring mindful joy. From yoga to meditation, to sustainable period care, here were 10 self-help gift ideas to bring a smile to anyone’s face.
Mental Wellbeing & Stillness
Sometimes the never-ending silence was the aspect of self-care that A found the hardest. Her lifestyle was hurried, rapid, and fast-paced. Slowing down, meant overthinking, and losing her perspective. She would spend many hours spiralling down the rabbit hole of anxiety, wondering if she would ever find a way out. So she would bury herself in work, the only way she knew how. It was her coping mechanism but it didn’t mean that it was healthy. Breathe in. Breathe out. That was what A was reminding herself, that it was OK to feel this way. Finding comfort in silence was a journey that she was willing to make. Yoga cards shuffled randomly, stretching out as the sound of chirping birds filled her thoughts. A glass of water with supplements for sleep that would improve her quality of life. A chance to find stillness in something new, her first mediumship session awaited. The scent of light lemony citrus aroma uplifting, and cleansing her mind. She wanted to change the image of Christmas and show how it could be a period for quiet contemplation.
Natalie Heath Yoga Asana Cards
A had various health issues, and the physical impact was often taxing. It affected her back, stomach, joints, and muscles in equal measure. But she didn’t complain. Despite her health issues, she still made the most of life. As she quite rightly said, things could be so much worse. There was a lot to be thankful for this Christmas. After all, she had a roof over her head, warm and loving friends and family, and was in a job that she loved. She liked to look on the bright side, despite what the earlier paragraphs might suggest. Yet, even in the face of optimism, sometimes her mental health issues would win, and take her into a dark place, where it seemed like there was no return.
It would leave her agitated, as though she couldn’t escape the confines of her body. Late at night, she’d lay awake restless, struggling to unwind, watching the minutes turn into hours. Her alarm would go off, and she would feel disgruntled, begging to be accepted into the arms of the Divine Sleep Being. If there was one thing she could ask for this Christmas it was mental stillness. With a combination of mental and physical issues, she found that excercise and movement was her quiet time to really let loose. There was energetic bouts of dancing, as the adrenaline coursed through her body. Muffled laughter, as she attempted H.I.T workouts and failed much to the amusement of her partner. Of course yoga and pilates featured heavily too, a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. Which was where Natalie Heath came in. A travel, wellness and lifestyle writer, as well as a yoga coach, she created feel good yoga cards. Whether she wanted to workout in the morning, during the day, or to wind down before bed, there were plenty of options.
She loved how mood-boosting yoga was. A glass of water perched on her bedside table, as she stretched out on her teal mat like a feline. She had deep tight knots and tension in her upper, and lower back, as well as her shoulders and neck. Yoga-at times- helped her focus on her body, and how it felt during excercise. Sometimes in the midst of excercise, her nervous system would become unstuck, and the immobilization stress response that plagued her would dissipitate, just a little. After all, she spent so much time feeling overwhelmed, panicky, and anxious, that she had almost forgotten what her nervous system was like when it was balanced. During yoga, she would consult her cards, a breathtaking vision, with gorgeous illustrations. It was a welcome alternative to fumbling with her phone while doing the upside down dog. A detox from her phone, and a chance to do yoga in colour she felt intrigued.
Sometimes in excercise she found it difficult to not let her mind wander. Yet yoga taught her to pay close attention to the physical sensation in her joints and muscles. How each movement stretched out her tight muscles. She favoured the Child’s pose before she went to bed, relishing how it elongated her back, with a satisfying crunch. It was more than just a physical excercise, but a mental one too. She focused on her breathing, inhale, exhale, deep breaths. As she flipped through the yoga cards, she smiled. There were excercises for just about everything. Chakra balance and morning energy, a calming resounding force. Bed and chair yoga for inner peace, she felt grounded. With 25 yoga workouts, and guidance on how to use your cards to design your very own yoga class, her heart was full. The best bit about Yoga?Her cats would join in, purring contentedly with their backs arched in the air.
Absolute Aromas Diffuser And Oils
In the chill of winter, she craved something warming and comforting. A gift that would transform her from the inside and out. Recent blood tests, scans, x-rays, and appointments had shown that she was quite ill, and she needed a pick-me up. It was strange because to an outsider she was ‘perfectly normal’, partly because she was good at masking, but also because she liked to ‘get on with things’. She was someone who no matter how unwell she was feeling, still carried on. Her loved ones would testify to that. Still, it didn’t mean that was healthy. She was aware of that. So there were times where she needed to slow down. Particularly during the Christmas season, where the work seemed never-ending. She would carve time out, and take a beat. If life had taught her anything, it was that she could only run so far on an empty tank.
There were the allergies too, that she suffered with, and her sinuses would be blocked. She had a combination of a stuffy nose, sore raspy throat, tightness in the chest, and a constant head cold. While she got this in summer as well ( as she had Hayfever, and an allergy to dust, pollen, and dander), in Winter it was different. With all the viruses that were going around ( and already having health issues seperate from the allergies), it was only natural that she would be run down. She would turn off the lights, and bask in the glory of her new favourite toy. It was the ultimate Dreamtime Diffuser from Absolute Aromas, that radiated joy and light. She looked at it with nostalgia, marvelling at its cute animated appearence. She placed the navy blue rabbit ears on top of its head, and curated a reccomended blend of Relaxation, May Chang and Goodnight essential oils to calm the nervous system down. Vegan, natural and sustainable, she felt blessed, radiating in its glowing blue nightlight, as the sounds of the forest surrounded her.
She was always someone who felt comforted by nature. Her cats too were intrigued, cocking their ears inquisitively at their new rabbit friend. Her youngest Luna would paw at it, when it was sleeping, willing it to come awake. And come awake it did. It was an all-rounder, cleansing her from the inside and out. As far as holistic self-care gifts went, the diffuser was up there. Why? Because she felt calmer, and more grounded when she used it. She found it difficult to accept self-care, and anytime she had tried recently, she felt the panic rise in her. But somehow, this stopped her mid flow, as the oils washed over her. Maychang read a bedtime story to tangerine, slipping into wonderful slumber where lavender triumphed. Bergamot cascaded like singular clouds, perfumed in tranquil chamomile, her Aunty’s favourite. For hours, her room stayed scented, as though it was her own personal spa. She felt that was important, having a divide between work and play. It created a healthy and fresh environment, which even improved the air quality of her home. She revelled in the calming stillness.
A had trouble sleeping recently. A combination of stress, anxiety, and ill health had wreaked havoc on her sleep. At night, she was often restless, and agitated. It wasn’t the getting to sleep that was the problem, rather it was the staying asleep. Once she woke up, she would be antsy, struggling to let go of her mind, and slip into the sleepy confines of her body. Switching her brain off, was almost an impossible feat. She said that she had two modes: the anxious, hyperactive adrenaline vs the autopilot mode. It was very rare for her to have an in-between. Though she had been giving sleeping medication by the doctors, when she could she sought natural alternatives. After all, she didn’t want to be dependant on medication.
Which is where HUX came in. Supplements with Science backed ingredients, there was a range of sleep, beauty, and hydration products that would give her life the daily edge. Of the three, sleep was by far the stand out. While she was still having problems sleeping, she did notice a difference in the inflammation and stiffness of her joints. Having a combination of poly-athritis, kyphotic spine, as well as several stomach conditions, and a period condition, meant that she often had inflammation. With a hero ingredient of Levagen ( a gold-standard clinically trialled ingredient), it lessened her joint pain and stiffness. Soon, with more time, she knew that it would help enhance her sleep too. After all, it contained Valerian extract, and Ashwagandha, which were natural sleep boosters. The added bonus? The addition of Magnesium to decrease anxiety, which lord knows she needed.
Having a holistic self-care Christmas meant taking care of herself. She would be the first to admit that was out of character for her. But she would keep on practicing until her body and mind realized that me-time was positive. After all, she would feel so much better when she was healthier. Some of her health conditions meant that she was very tired all the time, and often felt unenergetic. Yet, noone would ever know, because she was adamant that she needed to carry on. She learned that from her beloved Aunty, who in the face of adversity continued no matter what. HUX’s hydration range helped her when she was on the go doing long hours at work. With a nutritional complex of electrolytes, and minerals, she found the hydration tablets were fortifying. Rehydrating more than water alone, it had added zinc for muscle recovery, and immune support. With the equivalent potassium of 3 bananas, there were three delicious flavours to choose from. Her personal favourite? The watermelon was juicy, plump, and super refreshing. After all healthy beauty came from within, a sentiment HUX beauty wholeheartedly agreed with. Formulated for glowing skin, strong nails and healthier hair, she couldn’t wait to see what results she would get.
House of Jiriki Mediumship
A was someone that people considered to be open-minded. Even if she didn’t believe in something, as a writer, she was willing to step outside of her comfort zone and try something new. She was an open-hearted soul seeker, who tried not to question others, or hold judgement. After all, we were all different. In her quest for good mental health, she found the journey difficult. Partly because she had done everything on her own for so long, that having help seemed alien. She was wounded, and in some way there was grief for life before mental health issues, before the darkness, and anxiety took over her mind. Yet, it was all she had ever known. Was she mourning a life she never had? There was joy of course, bountiful. The tinkling peal of laughter that coursed through her body, the twinkle in her eyes. The mischievous child-like energy as she joked with her partner.
Grief wasn’t always what it seemed. It wasn’t just grief at losing someone. She had that too. Her angel in heaven, Gracie, who she still saw in her dreams. Her flaxen golden locks, and big blue eyes. Her Foster grandma who passed earlier this year. But sometimes there was abstract grief. Grief in the intangible. Grief in absent emotions. She felt lost, particularly at Christmas, unsure of herself if you will. She loved Christmas, but there were always difficult feelings. Feeling neglected and abandoned. Low moods, and depression. Anxiety that threatened to overwhelm her. The memory of trauma and negativity. With this in mind, she sought help from new sources. House of Jiriki, run by Jane, was a beautiful wellbeing platform with holistic self-care Christmas gifts that were meaningful. While she was new to the wellness space, she was even newer to spirituality. She wasn’t religious, and she wasn’t spiritual either. However, as a writer, she was willing to try anything, to test her boundaries.
Jane would offer a mediumship and guidance session, that would facilitate communication with her loved ones that have passed over. She had to admit, she was cynical in the past about mediums, and for the longest time, she thought it was a scam. But over the years she learned to be more open minded. A recent story from a friend of hers touched upon her own experiences with ghosts, mediums, and even past-life regressions, and she had no trouble believing her. So why would it be different here. She would channel spirit messages for her, and give guidance directly from her chosen spirit guide. Would the spirit guide answer her burning question? Working with tarot, and oracle cards, as well as the loved one’s message, she would receive an in-depth report. In it there would be validation. Details about her loved one which could include personality details, significant dates, places, and memories. The guidance that her loved one would share, something that she needed to know to feel better. Then there would be the tarot reading, with guidance on one question she had right now. The report would take a few weeks to be ready, and she couldn’t wait to find out what her guide had in store.
To A, a treat was something that made you feel good from the inside and out. A holististic self-care Christmas ritual that brought light, love and laughter. Wellness to A was all about balance, something she struggled immensely with. Yet, she tried. Long walks, the fresh winter breezing whipping her hair into a frizzy frenzy. Herbal teas infused with honey, lemon and ginger, sipped hot. A read of a good book, or magazine, a spa day or two. A chocolate bar that was oh so Christmassy, nibbling surrounded by a sea of tealights. Her emotional, and physical wellbeing was of the upmost importance.
Buyagift Overnight Relaxation Box For Two
To A, there was nothing more tranquil than the steady stillness of a spa day. The cluttered corridors of her mind, would ease, and dissipitate into sleepy calm. The calm before the storm she would call it. Still, it was nice while it lasted. A delicious de-stressor, submerged in fragrant bubbles, in the jacuzzi of dreams. The clinking of flutes, a toast to a lover’s paradise, heady on euphoric joy. Aching muscles plunged into holistic wellness with langorous abandon. Away from noise pollution, and the stresses of everyday life, a spa paradise awaited. On an overnight getaway, that was figurative at first. But soon it would be a reality, the January season coming ever closer. She sighed, and closed her eyes wistfully. Images of spa breaks flooded her thoughts. Aromatic massages easing out deep knots, pouring oil over tension points that melted with glee. A human transformed into a mermaid, gliding through the water in harmonious accord. The splish-splash of water, a pair of human-mermaids swimming together, creating music in the water.
The very next morning, her prayers were answered. An overnight relaxation break for two from Buyagift, waiting to be redeemed. With a choice of hotels with spa and leisure facilities across the UK, and breakfast for two, they marvelled. Sure, self-care was about me-time. But to A, self-care was also about spending rare quality time with her partner, who deserved some TLC. But what would she choose? After all, there were boutique getaways, and historic halls. Peaceful countryside retreats, and foodie destinations. Each hotel boasted luxurious spa and leisure facilities, that were tantalizingly fragrant. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas, and she craved a winter break. Didn’t she deserve a festive season staycation? Her partner would say she did. Four striking hotels stood out to her, that made it to the very top of her shortlist. Moor Hall Hotel and Spa was the first contender, a gorgeous country house surrounded by acres of parkland. She would imagine them laying in a divine four poster bed, in a spacious double room that radiated elegance. The best bit? The spa, where they could luxuriate in the ephemeral; letting off steam in the sauna. Pores unclogged, sinuses unblocked, breathe in, breathe out.
Then there was Haughton Hall Hotel, nestled within the quiet beauty of Shropshire. A peaceful haven, in a classic four poster room. A full English breakfast (vegetarian of course for A), and a chance to relax. Sipping on herbal tea, they envisioned the day ahead. An invigorating dip in the spa pool, laughing like a pair of kids. A workout in the gym, working up a sweat, that a cool down in the pool would satiate. Or perhaps they would opt for a foodie break at Foxfield’s Country Hotel. With dinner for two, and spa facilities, there would be the best of both worlds in the beautiful Ribble Valley. The Artisan Ribble Valley Restaurant and Bar, had a two course menu that was award-winning. With a mouthwatering sounding Harissa Spiced Jackfruit & Bean Burger served with chunky chips, and slaw, she knew she would be happy here.
Then there were the last two finalists: Mecure Cardiff Holland House Hotel, and Last Drop Village Hotel and Spa. Mecure boasted close proximity to the city centre, surrounded by countless museums, galleries, and attractions that would make A’s heart swell with joy. The latter- Last Drop- had breathtaking views of the West Pennine Moors. There, they would jump in the hydrotherapy pool, and feel their tense muscles melt into delicious oblivion. With so many spectacular hotels, how could she choose just one? Only time would tell which destination would tickle her fancy the most. As far as holistic self-care Christmas staycations went, Buyagift was never short of extraordinairy.
Ever since she could remember, she was obsessed with reading. Sure, she was a writer, tantalized by the play of words that rolled around on her tongue. She loved writing, and reading in equal measure, and in many ways it was like therapy for her. She would be transported into new worlds. For a brief lapse in time, she would be grounded, and centered, immersed in tales of history. She adored reading historical fiction, and counted Ancient Egypt, Medieval Europe and Tudor England as her favourite eras. From Anne’ O Brien to Michelle Moran, to Barbara Erskine, she championed power female writers, who wrote books on empowering women in history.
It was when she was reading Barbara Erskine’s latest novel, that an intriguing email popped into her inbox. A subscription to Readly, where she could browse over 6,3000 digital magazines and newspapers whenever she liked. There were podcasts too, as well as a portfolio of Disney comics and magazines, showing there was something for all the family. Sustainable, she could read on her tablet, mobile or computer, no matter where she was. It was affordable too. At just £9.99 a month, a world of wonder would be at her fingertips. From history, to music to fashion, there was a title for every ocassion. One name stood out to her, as she was browsing. Ancient Origins Magazine, that reconstructed history’s past. From recent archaelogical discoveries, to peer reviewed academic research, and evidence, she would be lost in history.
She would read ‘The Wonders of Eygpt’, engrossed in the tales of Ancient Eygpt’s beginnings. There was one story that grabbed her attention. A feature on Egypt’s female pharoahs (there was no word for Queen at the time). She knew of the most famous female Pharoah of course. Hatshepsut who reigned over Egypt for roughly two decades, undertaking ambitious building projects and establishing valuable new trade routes until her death in 1458 B.C. But there were other powerful women too. Merneith, the first woman to rule in Egypt, and in human history after her husband’s death. Before she knew it, night sky had fallen, and the darkness was upon them. Curled up on a sofa, she put on some lights desperately wanting to find out more. From Ancient Eyptian medicine ( a combination of rational practice and puesdo-science), to magic, food, and tomb discoveries, it was 132 pages of pure historical bliss. She hoped some day to visit Egypt to recapture the past,but for now Readly was the next best thing. In A’s mind one of the greatest and most mindful self-care Christmas rituals was the simple act of reading. Every day, she would read, coaxed into a state of temporary, tranquil lull.
Self-care meant different things to different people. Sometimes self-care was a large grand gesture, and at other times it was small, yet meaningful. A believed that small treats could be just as impactful as staycations, when you needed a pick-me up. That was what chocolate was to her. Creamy, indulgent, melt-in-your-mouth. A chance to slow down, and take time out, savouring each morsel with delectable relish. She would pop a chunk at a time, slowly luxuriating in its deep chocolatey flavour. Trying to make it last as long as possible was a difficult feat, but the reward was so much sweeter. For Christmas, she was looking for something extra special. A chocolate bar that was festive and warming, that would put a big smile on her face. But who would be the wellness genius to make all her cacao dreams come true?
Ombar swept in a haze of fragrance, with a contender for the Christmas crown. Spiced Orange Hazelnut Truffle, a limited edition bar. They promised it was worth every penny. Indulgent, nutty, and creamy, they were completely right. With a festive touch, the chocolate orange was seasoned with nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon, sprinkled with desert salt. It felt like pure, unadulterated heaven. Not only was it vegan, organic and palm-oil free, but it was also Fair Trade too. For every bar of Spiced Orange Hazelnut Truffle sold, 3p would be donated to Fundación Jocotoco, an NGO based in Ecuador. Jocotoco were working to reforest the Chocó Rainforest, a global biodiversity hotspot, located close to where they would sustainably source their cacao.
There were other flavours that were just as divine. An ombelievely delicious Oat M’lk Chocolate Gift Box proved to be super-cute. With 25 rich, and heavenly mini bars in four flavours, it was the perfect Christmas centrepiece. Original Smooth & Creamy enveloped Hazelnut in a warm caress. Fruit & Nut flirted naughtily with Salted Caramel Truffle, the mini bars consorting with a wink-wink, nudge, nudge. Her personal favourite? Why Hazelnut of course. Smooth Italian hazelnut paste slathered onto an oaty chocolate base, roasted hazelnut pieces dispersed for a crunchy nutty hit. She always was a hazelnut fan. Noone could convince her otherwise that chocolate wasn’t a wellness activity. In her mind, it was a ritual. One she didn’t do everyday, something special.
Every year during the festive season, she would light tealights. It had become something of a routine for her, a grounding, centring activity. At night, she would light the tea-lights one, by one, mesmerized by the flicker of the low-light flame. The waft of scented lavender, ylang, ylang, and cedarwood, in a calming blend. She was careful of course, keeping a watchful eye on her inquisitive kitties who were oh-so curious. But they too seemed entranced, their heads turning to and fro, following the flames like a pendulum on a clock. There was something nurturing about candlelight. A yearning for a simpler time, un-conditioned by technology. A minimalist activity, where wellbeing was at its heart.
This Yuletide, she had stumbled across Purscents, whose Tealight Discovery set, would calm her mind, and her body in equal measure. Vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and sustainably sourced, the tealights were the perfect thoughtful Christmas gift. It was more than just a scent that permeated a room. But it was a wellbeing saviour that enhanced mental, and physical health. Sometimes, she would be overstimulated- a common symptom of anxiety- and needed to teach her body, and mind to slow down. It was hard, but just watching and appreciating the lights helped her feel more herself. Using 100% plant-based ingredients, and infused with pure essential oils and extracts, there were eight mini scents to choose from. Unlike her diffuser that would spread lovingly through the living room, she used her tealights upstairs in the bedroom.
It was a smaller room, for smaller lights, and it worked beautifully. There was Sparkle infused with Lemongrass, infused with Lemon, Geranium, and May Chang, that danced in the Secret Garden. Sweet orange was balanced by Bergamot, sprinkled with Anise and Patchouli in a heady aromatic flush. De-Stress was another favourite, calming Lavender serenading fresh spearmint. A splash of black pepper, and a dash of Jasmine, reminding her of perfumeries she had explored as a child. It was a journey of scents, a calming, steadying force during the busiest time of year. Out of the eight, it was De-Stress that served its greatest purpose, crafted with intent, meaning and purpose. As far as mindful and holistic self-care Christmas ideas went, learning to de-stress with tealights seemed like a pretty good shout.
Earth Positive Holistic Period Gifts
A had a number of health issues but that didn’t stop her from trying to be the most positive version of herself that she could be. Alongside back, muscle, joint, and stomach issues, she had a period condition that was quite rare. Not only were her periods heavier than the average person, but she would usually have a month long period. In fact her longest ever period without a break was six months, which happened twice in her life. The doctors took a long time to diagnose her, and it was honestly recently that they discovered she had fibroids in her uterine wall, as abnormal bleeding for a lengthy period of time. To this day, they were still unsure of what exactly was going on, but she was trying out new medication to try and shorten the length of her periods. So naturally, a great form of holistic Christmas self-care for A was earth positive period gifts.
Trade To Aid Reusable Pads
For many years A wore tampons, despite the fact that she found uncomfortable and irritating. She believed at the time, that this was the only option available to her. After all, she had tried ‘normal pads’ in the past so was deterred from using them again for a while. At one point, she was using both pads, and tampons, because she was prone to leaking. A couple of years ago however, she realized she had more options. Period care wasn’t just tampons and menstrual cups. There were period pants too, which she frequented a lot. It wasn’t until recently however, that she decided to give period pads another shot. This time however, they were sustainable, reusable, and would make a difference.
The first of two period care brands, Trade To Aid seemed like an obvious shout. Not only would their reusable pads help A with her period condition, but they also made it their mission to end period poverty. After all, while she had the benefit of having income to buy period care products, many people did not. They sought to alleviate the taboo of periods, and provide better menstrual hygeine education, eradicating myths surrounding period products. Most of all, they aimed to facilitate easy, low-cost access to sustainable period products. Colourful, sustainable, and kind to your body and planet, A loved the reusuable period pads. Made from super-soft bamboo charcoal and recycled plastic, it helped save money, while reducing waste. In fact, for every pack of reusuabke pads you would buy, a pack would be donated to refugees who were in need of period products.
With two light pads, two medium pads, and two heavy pads, plus one waterproof wet bag, it helped reduce your plastic footprint. An eco-friendly social enterprise brand, A appreciated how they were commited to helping people in need. Free from the synthetic additives, and nasty chemicals found in disposable pads, A was surprised to find that unlike the disposable versions, there were no leaks there. On days where she didn’t feel like wearing her period pants, this would be a welcome (and colourful) planet friendly alternative. Given that she was on her period at the moment, and would be for the Christmas season, it made sense to have period care as part of her holistic self-care gift ideas round up.
DAME Finisterre Pads
Anyone who knew A would testify to her love for animals. From cats, to dogs, rabbits and gerbils, she fell in love with their quirky characters and loving nature. It wasn’t just land mammals either. Sea turtles, dophins, and Seals were just some of her favourite water-based species, whose intelligence radiated with every swim. Yet, she was aware that traditional period care products were bad for the environment. Because of plastic pollution, Sea Turtles could get entangled in plastic waste, which may cause injuries to internal organs, and cause intestinal blockages in the stomach. At worst, the beloved creatures could die. A hated the thought of her beloved animals suffering at the fate of humans. It just didn’t seem fair. If there was anything that made for animal-friendly and holistic self-care Christmas gifts, it was DAME. Teaming up with Finisterre for World Oceans Day, they created 5-layered pads raising awareness of period plastic in our oceans.
Both B-Corps, with a passion for the planet, they aimed to discourage people from using single-use, plastic-filled pads. After all, a person with periods would dispose of 11,000 single-use period products in a lifetime. This was unacceptable. It was time to stand for period change.With five cruelty-free and sustainable layers, it worked together for fast-wicking, odour proof, and secure period protection. A soft outer shell made from natural fibres (lyocell, organic cotton), felt incredibly comfortable, with fast-absorbing mid-layers. Here a wicking top layer would draw moisture away from her skin in seconds. This was because the 4D fabric technology would absorb 10 times its weight in two seconds (organic cotton, bamboo).
Odour proof, with waterproof security, she felt good knowing her period pads were not only leak proof, but also contributed to a kinder planet. With a fully recycled dry bag that made changing on the move hassle free and easy with an active lifestyle, she felt blessed. To switch things up, she would also use her DAME storage bag. Made from cotton, the roll down storage bags were super convenient and sleek. She could use them in the bathroom to store her period care products, or take it with her on the go. Either way, the sleek minimalist design, was discreet, and made the perfect period product organiser.
Skincare was a holistic wellbeing ritual, that A found soothing. It was simple, sure, but sometimes the simplest self-rites, were the most effective. Skincare and beauty to A meant mental wellbeing cleansing from within. Using products with natural ingredients, that harnessed the power of nature, her routine would begin. A toner for a brighter complexion, a mask for a golden glow. Shea hand butter rubbed into parched winter-torn hands. Foot butter massaged into dry feet. Every inch of her body would experience its own happiness ritual, to promote self-love and confidence. After all, December was a daunting time of year, so having holistic self-care Christmas rituals was a neccessity.
Aviela Shea Hand Butter And Shea Foot Butter
If there was a part of A’s skincare routine that she neglected the most, it would undoutably be her hands and feet. Yet her hands, and feet carried her through a lot of her life. Her hands were the tools in which she used to write. Her feet, the grounding forces that planted her firmly on the ground. Her hands to lift and carry, her feet to press forward, and continue. They were powerful body parts in need of TLC and Christmas was no different. After all; from making food for Christmas, to shopping, making lists, decorating the house, and deep cleaning, there was no shortage of things to do. With room in her wellbeing room (AKA her bathroom) that was begging for hand, and food butter, she had to meet their well-meaning demands.
Aviela had the answers. Founded by Patricia Monney, the all natural skincare products contained the highest grade of pure, unrefined shea butter known for its inflammatory properties. There was delectable Shea Hand Butter to repair, and nourish her dry skin, a salve for her sore, cracked hands. In need of hydration, it helped soothe her dehydrated skin, and added much needed moisture. The more she used it, the more she noticed how soft, and supple her hands felt. It was like manna for the skin. After all, Shea Butter was well known for having healing powers. It was an emollient that would improve the skin’s natural barrier, while protecting it from damage from the environment like pollutants. The foot butter was just as luxurious, massaged into feet that had seen better days. She used to have soft feet, but years of hard wear, had made the soles of her feet cracked, and at times bleeding. Nurturing, the foot butter aimed to restore dry feet.
In A’s personal experience, she could already see the difference. Suitable for overnight use, the intense hydration made her trotters silky, smooth and supple. Of the two, she preferred the foot butter, turning it into a meditative, and mindful ritual. Aviela really was something beautiful. It was easy to see why it was award winning. With accolades including Get The Gloss Beauty Awards Winner 2022, The Green Parent Best Buy, and a bronze winner of the 2021 Pure Beauty Award, Monney was onto something special. It was holistic self-care Christmas natural beauty at its finest. Wellbeing that was kind to animals, humans, and the planets, she couldn’t wait to see what Aviela would come out with next.
Evolve Beauty Glow Boosters
Speaking of natural skincare, Evolve Beauty had it in spades. A felt like it was important to support small businesses as much as she could, and Evolve was no exception. Making small batches of skincare by hand in an artisan studio in Hertfordshire, it was sustainable too. Teaming up with Provenance, the accountability partner meant that they could verify their claims. From being carbon negative to being vegan, there was no greenwashing here. With fresh antioxidants, natural oils, butters and extracts, the cruelty-free products were a welcome addition to A’s skincare routine.
A certified B Corp, A was proud to be part of the eco-beauty revolution. After all, what could be better than helping save the planet, animals, and being kind to ourselves while we were at it? With so many products to choose from, she had a hard choice ahead of her. In the end, one clear contender stood out from the crowd. The Glow Boosters in a beautiful blue box, embossed with metallic leaves. A must-have for glowing skin, the three-step routine would brighten, and boost A’s dull skin. Using a cocktail of skin-loving vitamins, and supercharged natural ingredients, she found it surprisingly nourishing. There was the Liquid Radiance Glycolic Toner for an instantly brighter looking complexion, that transformed her skin. There were times where she would use toners in the past, which dried her skin out, leaving it sore and uncomfortable. This however was a natural beauty Godsend.
The Bio-Retinol Gold Mask was just as impressive, leaving her skin glowing, even in the heart of winter. The youth boosting mask worked to tackle signs of ageing whilst nourishing and moisturising her skin, leaving it glowing beyond belief! As for the Bio-Retinol + C Booster? It provided power packed, radiance boosting nourishment. Combining four incredible vitamins (A, C, F, and E), the ingredients were sourced from organic farming. As Evolve made their own products, they knew exactly why each ingredient was included, and where every single ingredient came from. A was aware that a large number of brands outsourced their production to industrial factories, so this was a welcome change.
Feel Good Educational Resources
A knew that she had to work hard at self-care. It wasn’t something that came naturally to her, and she found it difficult to maintain. Living a fast-paced lifestyle meant that she spent a lot of time working, and not enough time on herself. That was the whole point of this holistic self-care Christmas gift guide. To work on personal development, and change the way that she lived her life. She needed to slow down, and priortize her wellbeing, particularly because she had health issues. She was never one to slow down, but she needed to teach her body that it was OK to have time out. Over the last few years she had dabbled with meditation, and transformative therapies, to try and be comfortable with the idea of stillness. It wasn’t her strong suit, but there were two feel-good educational resources that would help her try.
Zen In Ten
The idea of achieving zen in just ten to 15 minutes seemed alien to A. After all, she was someone who found it difficult to relax and unwind. Whose unquiet mind would constantly be throbbing with anxieties, worries, and stresses in a melting pot of agitation. She couldn’t seem to switch off. It’s why she did so much. A distraction if you will. She didn’t want to get bogged down in the negativities, and chose to focus on the positives instead. In some ways, her anxiety was her driving force. Her anxiety was what got her out of bed in the morning. Her anxiety made her proactive, active, and got her moving. But it wasn’t healthy, feeding off that much adrenaline. It would leave her exhausted, and burnt out beyond measure.
So when she discovered Neil Seligman’s flagship programme ‘Zen in Ten‘, her interest was piqued. Here was a course that promised the art of mindfulness in just ten days. 10 minutes of stillness seemed like very little time for most people, but for A it seemed like a lifetime. Even when she was working from home, she would constantly be tip-tapping at her computer, her cats begging to be stroked greedily. Meditation was something she had done on-and off, and even now, she still found it difficult to sit still. Admittedly, she found the course difficult, but in the best possible way. It challenged her, it forced her to make a change. Even on her busiest days, it made her take accountability and recognize the feelings she was having. If there was one thing she struggled with the most it was consistiency. After all, she often worked long hours in events too, and the last thing she wanted to do was do what she considered to be ‘self-care work’. Still, she learned not to beat herself up. It was OK if she didn’t do the course in order, or if the programme took longer to complete. What mattered was that she tried. That was all she could do.
Neil, the founder of The Conscious Professional, was the perfect mindfulness expert for the job. The author of two books, sought after wellness speaker, and advanced Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction teacher, he knew exactly what he was doing. Described as the Joe Wicks of the mindfulness world, he knew that finding inner stillness when you were busy working, was incredibly difficult. Yet, teaching wellbeing was integral to our physical and mental health. An entryway to mindfulness meditation, could it be the next step on A’s journey towards enlightenment? There were three main areas that A struggled with; breathwork, overcoming negative (subsconscious) thought patterns, and leveraging 10 minutes of silence to supercharge the other 1,430 minutes in her day.
To start with, A suffered with severe panic attacks, agitation, and restlessness. She had a bad habit of shallow breathing, and found breathwork challenging. It seemed obvious to have breathing as a skill. After all, you would assume it was something you would do naturally. But to A, there was anxiety there. She would repeat the course over and over again, without pressure. She would take each day at a time, and see whether she could learn the grounding effect of mindful breathing. She still had a long way to go, but she was more self-aware. She knew what changes she needed to make, discovering the joy of ‘whole body breathing’. Here, she would open her mind, and see her daily experience transform. Through meditation, she was forcing herself to be comfortable with the idea of stillness. To be more mindful, and make conscientious choices. By overcoming negative thought patterns, she would not only boost her productivity, but she would also minimise energy drain. After all, she wanted to feel alert, but in a calm, and deep way. By the end of the course, the way she viewed meditation, and mindfulness had vastly improved.
100 Mindfulness Meditations
A found that her learning style was ‘visual’. She was a visual learner, who would understand things through reading, writing, and pictures. She always did have a vivid imagination, and at school she would close her eyes, and visualize words, bringing them to life. Where her partner was a Tactile learner who understood the world through ‘the practical’, she was creative, seeing words and pictures wherever she went. So imagine her pure delight when Neil sent her a copy of his book ‘100 Mindfulness Meditations: The Ultimate Collection of Inspiring Daily Practices. It was a peaceful journey, through endearing mindfulness practices that she could take at her own pace. Normally, she was someone who read quickly, with avid hunger. But this, she took slow. It was after all a wellbeing manual, and you couldn’t rush self-care.
Organized into three parts, the book encompassed Foundations for Mindful Practice, Applying Mindfulness in Daily Life, and Advanced Practices. She found that the book was surprisingly joyful. It wasn’t preachy, or judgemental. Instead, it would nurture inner calm, with gentle reminders to connect deeply with her untapped capacity for stillness, peace, and authenticity. Well-structured, and easy to read, as a beginner she found 100 Mindfulness Meditations to be accessible. Looking for a slice of zen didn’t have to be difficult. Though at times, she would feel too busy, disconnected, and intense, the meditations would tell her to slow down. A gorgeous holistic self-care Christmas manual that would teach her to be more compassionate. Not to others, but to herself. She was often so critical, demanding, and harsh on herself, that sometimes she forgot to be kinder to herself. With inspirational relief, and beautiful reminders of her infinite core, and playfulness back into her sphere, she felt sated.
In the past, she found meditation, and breathwork overly complicated, and almost impossible. But Neil’s book was nothing short of life-affirming. Her journey was only just beginning, but already she had identified her favourite meditations. The Mindful Shower or Bath was one of her favourites. Recently, she had fallen out of love with a bubble bath. It was once one of her favourite wellbeing rituals. Yet, every time she tried to relax, and revel in the bubbles, the constant thrum of anxiety coursed through her body. She could just about have a mindful shower, but a bath seemed anxiety-inducing. So, like Neil taught her, she would do the following. She would begin by setting her intention. She promised herself that this bath, would open, and cleanse her mind. It was an opportunity to be kind to herself, to make time for nurturing her wellbeing and spirit. By doing this ritual she would feel calmer, happier, and grounded. Neil told her to watch the water, as it ran. Noticing the swirling of the bubbles, as the fragrance of shea butter, bath salts, and lavender washed over her.
There was a certain chaos in bubbles too. The book showed her to acknowledge the chaos that she had in her own life, as the bubbles got more frantic. Then as the water got deeper, yet calmer, she identified one aspect of her life that was calming. The answer came quickly. Her cats, they were a calming influence. Once the bath was comfortably full, she turned off the tap, and watched its stillness. There, she would look at one aspect of her life where something had stopped. Remembering her intention, she would enter the bath at last, the water holding her in a calming embrace. The heat washed over her, as the steam unlocked her senses. The familiar rise of anxiety tried to grab hold of her in her vulnerable state, but she stopped it. She closed her eyes briefly and visualized when she felt supported. That was her saving grace. Still, there was still an element of uncertainty, and she acknowledged in many ways that self-care was out of her comfort zone. She cleansed her body, relishing each movement in a holistic way. It was methodical, but calming, there was certainty in routine. As she washed, it felt like a physical and emotional cleanse. Washing away the tension and stress, with compassionate and loving hands. She knew she needed to leave behind her anxiety, but she just didn’t know how to. Taking five healing breaths, she exited the bath, and watched the water drain away. It was a surprisingly meaningful experience.
What Holistic Self-Care Christmas Presents Would You Like For Christmas?
Please note I was given products in exchange for this post, but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by gifting. Remember, holistic self-care Christmas gifts should be meaningful to you.