Christmas was a time, where families, and friends came together, smiles licking their faces in joy. But last year, it was a festive season like no other, flung into quarantine, a caged bird forlonly pacing its seemingly gilded cage. Though they made the most of what they could do, they couldn’t help but long for a vegan Christmas filled with sparkle, where their version of mindful self-care, came to life. A, in particular dreamed of being reunited with her family, dismissing the Skype calls, where festivities took place once before. This year would be different, she could smell elation permeating the air. As the frost licked her window, in the dewy morning light, she sighed, contentedly. She would have the self-care Christmas of her dreams, where family, loved ones, and friends would reunite, hopeful that Christmas in 2021 would be the epitome of festive cheer.
In the moments leading up to Christmas, she realized that she wanted to do things a little different this year. She had re-discovered herself, her wants, and needs during lockdown, and wanted a festive season where beautiful self-care Christmas habits were at the forefront, of everything that she did. From cozying up in plush blankets, swathed in silky soft velvet, to burrowing against the cold, sipping peppermint Twinings Tea, comfort was key. The fireplace would be crackling, open flames licking timber wood, roughly chopped.
The sound of seamless laughter would bounce around the room, as friends, and family rejoyced, reunited after so many months apart. Though they had suffered loss, ravaged by grief, and destruction, they opened the window, and let the light back in, flawless rays of positivity. A robin perched on a snow frosted branch outside, chirping noisily, as the clan opened their presents with renewed joy in their eyes. This year, they had glossed over all the usual presents, their wishlist filled with gifts that made Christmas self-care, a must have delight.
A langorous massage, where oils where poured into their aching joints, courtesy of the Massage Company, who took their pains away. With deft fingerstrokes, bubbling deep knots were smoothed out, as they sighed with contentment, long-suffering anxiety, and depression dissipitating. And who could forget the Aromotherapy Kit, that their dear friend gifted, a reminder of that senseous massage, where incense wafted oh, so gloriously, in a fragrant slumber. A knew that her loved ones deserved the gift of hope, where presents centered around unbridled happiness, blissful sleep, and a nourished mind, body and soul would prevail. If only, she could take away their worries, insecurities and strifes, smooth away their pain, for one day only. Even if was only temporary, the relief would be unpalpable.
Misty eyes harkened back to the past, and A thought of Paregoros, the spirit of consolation, comfort, and soothing words. A companion of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, A would channel the aura of Paregoros to bring hope, optimism, and tranquility, to the people she loved, and knew the best. No matter what card 2021 had dealt them, this season, they wouldn’t forget, but temporarily, they would switch off, living in the moment of cozy cuddles.
Here all was calm, all was quiet, a hopeful oasis, where pain was kicked swiftly to the kerb. They weren’t numb to emotion, but they were only attuned to positive ones, where happiness would radiate within them. It got A thinking that the gifts had to be thoughtful, not generic presents that could be given to anyone. She wanted to make people think, almost see the cogs turning in their brains, as they leapt into a journey of self-discovery, and exploration. A needed to see them feel joy, swept into a world where they didn’t need to worry about their mental health issues, a tincture of Alphagreen CBD oil trickling under throaty tongues.
A good night’s sleep was a gift too, weighted blankets that made you drowsy, blurring the lines of insomnia, and softening them into slumber. The world around you was hazy, drifting into a dreamless sleep, where your mind was quiet, a rare feeling. Caught up in the throes of anxiety, you were used to a world where you were on high alert, shallow breaths gulping air fast. You would swallow the air hastily, almost spluttering over the shortness of breath. The sensation of tightness in your chest was a common one, your burden to bear, hooked up to the sensation of being on the edge. It had been so long since you lived without anxiety, its dextorous fingers scraping at your skin. You felt red raw, yet desensitized to the pain. A numbness, but a sense of clarity, melded into one startling reality. But you had to remember, that even when anxiety swamped you in overwhelming fear, there was still happiness, reaching out its golden hand. You fought against the dark to find the light and you won.
It’s why you were so determined to dedicate this Christmas to self-care, imploring your loved ones, with gifts that made them feel and look good. No matter the journey they had taken, or where they were at, they would always have this festive season, where they put themselves first, and relished it. There was no telling themselves that mindfulness was selfish, nor did they ponder whether they deserved me-time. Because they bloody well knew they did, and even if they didn’t, you had always encouraged them to pursue self-love. With a rich and fragrant glass of red wine in their hand, they sipped on heady spice, enveloped in a warming caress, that was sweet like a winter’s kiss. The bubble bath was running too, awash with bitty bath salts, a swirl of crushed Oomf CBD bath bomb melting into steaming water, fragrant delight. The senseous smell of sandalwood, and vanilla was spine-tingling, as they shuddered into relaxation submissively. Unlike their mistress of anxiety, the queen of comfort was engulfed in warmth, asking nothing.
Smiling wistfully, you knew that this peaceful slumber wouldn’t last. After all, Christmas only came but once a year, and the people you knew weren’t in the habit of spoiling themselves. Take your beloved Aunty for example, a woman who personified strength. A bad-ass warrior, who had lived a life traced with trials and tribulations, and yet a smile always licked her face. Even when she was tired beyond repair, she would always give herself to others, seeking respite in prayer. She was someone who you urged to get better at putting herself first before others. She smiled, and said that when you had children everything changed. But secretely you knew that she was always this way. That underneath the tough exterior, was a person who wanted to help others, before she helped herself.
You knew that you were much alike, but you realized early on, that having a self-care Christmas wasn’t selfish. Some day you would make her see. Spraying Echor End of Day pillow spray on her pillow, you willed away the demons that had vanquished her hungrily. As if casting a festive spell, you urged her, to make new habits, where she indulged in self-love, self-happiness, and boosted her self-esteem. After all, no matter what time of the year it may be, she deserved some respite. You couldn’t take away the hardships that she faced, nor could you smooth the worry lines that were furrowed into her brow. But what you could do, was gift her, and the people around her with love, happiness, and contentment.
It wasn’t about the value of the gifts that you gave them, but the thought behind the present. Gifts were you thought about who they were, and who they wanted to be. After all, it was the Christmas of self-love. Despite the naysayers, she sighed with an impish smile. She had long blocked out the nega-tudes, who claimed putting yourself first was ego-centric. If only they knew what sweet release looking after yourself was. Life was too short, to not listen to what you wanted. Most of the time people wanted to give gifts that they wanted themselves, but not this year. Though she looked up to Paregoros for her soothing words, consolation, and comfort, it was Pasithea that she turned to when it came to encouraging rest and relaxation, one of the young Kharites. Married to Hypnos the God of sleep, Pasithea, reminded her to compile a gift guide, that showed relaxation as being one of the greatest self-care Christmas acts, anyone could do. Even on Christmas, whose chaotic spirit was known, she would command stillness and calm, the household nourished by the Greek Goddesses, who winked cheekily, as they made the humans limbs loosey-goosey. Now, that was more like it. Shall we begin?
Self-Care Christmas Gifts That Make You Feel Good
A waved her magic wand, and didn’t think twice. Christmas was about giving, and in the spirit of giving, she wanted to make her loved ones, look and feel good. There were caffeine-free herbal teas from Twinings, infused with peppermint, fennel and spearmint, the room perfumed with sweet cassis, and fig from Arran. They would stop for a moment, and think, applying Scentered Love Therapy Balm to their wrists, as they reset their mind, and filled it with comfort. Rebalanced, they felt like they were emotionally connected to the world, and grounded, no longer enslaved to anxiety. The energy coursed through them, they felt recharged, remembering how they had dismissed the gifts at first, woefully stubborn. Now they knew what they didn’t know before. They deserved self-love, they needed self-happiness. It was time.
Twining Herbal Teas
A knew that herbals teas weren’t your typical gift, at least in an ordinairy gift guide. But for A, a herbal tea was an anchor when she was gasping for air, throttled by the demons that ate her so hungrily. It gave her time to pause in chaos, blocking out the world around her, as the aromas of the teas, wafted into her nostrils. Though peace was fleeting, when she did have it, it was often with a cup of Twinings Herbal Tea, shutting her eyes, and letting the noise drift away. Like the deep recovery meditation music that she listened to, when she needed to release pent-up fear, the tea, though simple, was life-saving. In more ways than one, she had a lot to thank Twining for. It was her favourite tea brand, and her cupboard was stocked full of every caffeine-free tisane that you could imagine. Her partner, was often bemused, by her simple requests.
She wasn’t fancy, but she was ever so quintessentially British. Among her favourites, was the BioBlends Soothing Peppermint, Fennel, and Spearmint Tea, alongside Superblends Sleep. Superblends Digest made her top three, sweet apple with mellow spearmint, rooibos, and baobob, a perfect digestive cleanser. When her stomach was upset, and cramping due to GERD, she’d drink this, along with chopped up ginger, to curb her nausea, the most perfect personsification of positive self-care Christmas habits she could imagine. But her current favourite was none other than the soothing peppermint blend, that felt like magic on her tongue (and her belly). She was known for having a sensitive stomach, but the fresh, strong flavours of spearmint, and peppermint with the delicate aniseed undertones of fennel, was divine. It eased her stomach with great applause, and she could think of no better digestive than this on Christmas Day.
She realized that people might wonder what was so Christmassy about a herbal tea. But A wanted gifts that made a lasting impact. That wasn’t just a Christmas gift that you would throw away, and use once. No, herbals teas had intention, and more purpose than people realize. Without getting philosophical, it was almost as though the teas licked away her pains, and helped soothe her mind, body and soul. Even if the relief was temporary, for that short moment, she let the spirit of the tea guide her, into a world where only comfort, rest, and relaxation existed. She smiled at the thought. Today was going to be a good day, she bloody knew it. She would get the whole gang involved, forgoing the usual alcoholic tipple in favour of merry teas instead, delightfully sipping in unison. The gift might not be the tea itself, but the reaction it invoked amongst her loved ones. Tranquility, stillness, reflection, and discovery. Hope, elation, self-love, a bubble of happiness caught between both hands.
Paper Plane Boost Natural Pulse Point Roller Oil
A remembered the first time she had a panic attack, belittled by a family member, who had to pick her up from school. She claimed that A was faking it, and ‘pretended to be ill’, so she could get out of school. To an outsider it might seem like she was OK, she had calmed down fairly quickly now the danger was over, ravenously tucking into a sandwich. But her insides were still churning, bubbling with anxiety, stress and tension. Why didn’t she understand that you were not OK. You didn’t make yourself have a panic attack, you didn’t want to hyperventilate. Nor did you want to black out, aghast by the turbulent sensations that a panic attack brought on. Didn’t she know what it felt like to walk on the edge, swept into the sea where no lifeguard dived into save you. From that moment on you thought, you were all alone.
A, should scratch what she just said though. It wasn’t the first time she had a panic attack. It was the first time she had any understanding that she was having one. She realized early on she was scared of everything, and thought she was a big baby like everyone told her. Well, she wasn’t, and being anxious didn’t make her weak. From that recognizable panic attack, she never let a panic attack stop her from doing anything again, no matter how debilhitating the pain was, or how badly she felt. She had to keep going, even if she felt like she was drowning. But that mentality was wrong, it was OK to pause, take a moment and keep still. After all, how could you give back to others, how could you take care of others? It was point she wanted to drive home, especially at Christmas. Christmas was spirited, messy, and often chaotic in the best way possible, but it didn’t always leave room for relaxation. Not this year, she wasn’t repeating past mistakes.
Still having panic attacks today, she remembered when she was first introduced to energy oils, by a friend of hers. It was this friend who told her that these oils wouldn’t just change her life, but her loved ones too. And she was right, the flavour of the moment being Paper Plane’s Boost Natural Pulse Point Roller Oil, infused with Bergamot Oil, Lavender Oil, Thyme Oil and Eucalyptus oil. She planned to gift a Paper Plane bottle to her aunty too, despite her cynical reservations. I have prayer, that’s enough. Sure, you would reply, but why not try something new? She never understood how anxious you would get or why, but you encouraged her to try new things and be open minded. You weren’t religious yourself, but in some ways you were spiritual. The roller oil felt like something spiritual, the carefully balanced blend of 100% natural oils, in a frosted glass bottle.
While they had a range including sleep, travel, flow, and calm, A opted for ‘Boost’, to help her loved ones feel renergized and re-grounded. With Boost, they could apply it to their pulse points and feel motivated, no matter how depressed, anxious, tense or stressed they feel. A knew that in her hardest moments, when she had no strength to continue, when the energy had seeped out of her, that the roller oil, would restore her to normality, coaxing her into action. It was most aptly used when she was depressed. With anxiety, she had high-functioning anxiety, where she had to keep going, giving herself no time to think, she needed to continue. But with Depression it was different, like the purple cat from Big Mouth who wrapped itself around Jessie’s shoulders. She felt, for better want of a word, like a sloth. But not with boost. It gave her the drive, it gave her the passion, it renewed optimism. It was bold claims to make for an energy oil, but once she stood steadfastedly by.
Neubria Drift And Shine
Mood swings were like rain torrents from demons, as you struggled to stay afloat The Tempest, across the tempestous seas. You would feel the bubble of elation popping, as it sank into hedonistic self-loathing, sucked into a whirlpool with no way out. No matter how much you thought, your limbs became stiff, frozen in fear, no longer the happy, bubbly girl that you once knew. This was the side of you that not many people saw, a terrified woman, enslaved to deep unhappiness. You were happy, yet unhappy, depressed, yet anxious. On the days that you were anxious, depression was at the door waiting to come in, teeter-tottering between mind-numbing anxiety, and the lowest of lows. One day you would be highly-strung, obsessive, and spiralling out of control, your thoughts whirring uncontrollably. The next, you would be incredibly low, unmotivated, wanting to shut the whole world out. Unlike the anxiety, where you would be super happy, over the top, and obsessive, depression would blur your mood, not even a smile licking your face.
Come anxiety or depression, you would struggle to control the mental health issues that had stood with you for many years. You didn’t know what life looked like without anxiety, least of all depression. And the emotions came with consequences too, sleepless nights, endless panic attacks, the fear of overwhelm setting in. Mood swings, and irritability, fear, sadness, low, wrapped in an unwanted gift. As far as Christmas gifts went, mental health issues were one that you could do without. And you weren’t alone, friends, and family had their own mental struggles too. Chronic fatigue, cancer recovery, insomnia, stress, and overwhelm. Whether they chose to label their fears or not, they needed a dose of sunshine in their lives, even if they were resistant to it at first. A had taken anti-depressants many times over the years, but in the phase that she was at now, she was looking at medicine-free alternatives, that could help her get the balance she deserved, especially at Christmas.
She knew how she got, how much she worried, how she over-analyzed everything. At night when she was meant to be deep in slumber, everything was up in the air, deep breaths, hyperventilating, why couldn’t she chill out? She couldn’t sleep, she couldn’t rest, she couldn’t relax. It wasn’t a one time thing, but a pattern that kept occuring. A friend had suggested mood, and sleep supplements, but A was always wary of that type of thing. Still when she met Neubria at Balance Festival, a few weeks back, she realized that she wasn’t being open minded enough. She liked to think that she had tried everything she could possibly think of, but there was always another option. She liked to think that she would be open-minded, and cast away her previous misconceptions. It wasn’t a miracle cure, but taking Neubria shifted her focus.
Shine, a natural vegan mood support supplement, was made with Turmeric, Rhodiola Rosea, Ashwagandha and Saffron. It was, what A liked to call essential Christmas-Self Care. Why? Because it was hard to feel like the most positive version of yourself, when the whole world around you was crashing and burning. A had been through another trauma to know that it imprinted upon you like battle worn scars, hard to shake off, impossible to remove. Over time, they’d fade into the background but for now, they were lacerated, and bright red, woven with pain, stress, and desolation. It seemed bleak, and that is why Shine was created to help not only A, but everyone who needed that extra oomph, to shine brightly from the inside out. It reminded A of coffee which she couldn’t drink because of allergies, without the side effects. She felt more alert, motivated, a pick me up in mini form, that created a better-balanced mood. As for sleep? Drift had that covered, an all natural aid, that helped A, and her loved ones relax, and unwind. A better night’s sleep, in a blink of an eye, it was gentle, and unassuming. A could hardly believe that her festive night’s sleep would be restful, for the first time in a long time, calming her down in the throes of inky dark night.
Arran Ultimate Fig Candle
When it came to self-care Christmas gifts, there was nothing quite like a scented candle that radiated peace. A herself owned a few from Yankee Candles, Echor, Scentered, and Arran Sense of Scotland. She loved the rare weekends, where she was home, unbridled by the shackles of work, in a safe space to call her own. The lights were dimmed, as she lit her candles up in unified succession, smiling blissfully. She would read a historical fiction novel, while her candles flickered, the smell of fig, mixed berries, and vanilla, in a hodge podge of smells. Her body would relax, after convulsing with anxious tremors, easing out the demons that had ravaged her body. It was almost, like the wax of the candle that she was melting away, into much needed oblivion. She smiled at the thought, her cousin would love her candle collection too, obsessed with Arran in particular.
She knew the exact scent that would fill her home with joy too, the Ultimate Fig Candle. Infused with a balanced blend of sweet cassis, fig, and green leaf, it was underpinned by a warm basenote of woody cedar, oh so heady. Elegant, uplifting, and hopeful, this luxury scented candle, was already a joy to her, so she knew N would love it too. After all N was obsessed with how candles made her room look, and feel, and being at university needed all the self-care she could get. If A wanted to teach her cousin one thing this Christmas, it was to take time out in between studying, and reflect in the moment. For candles weren’t just aesthetically pleasing to look at, but they were also incredibly calm.
A envisioned looking into the flickering red-hot flame of the Arran Fig Candle, connecting deeply with her inner most thoughts and emotions. The candle would burn quietly, gazing at the flames, savouring their illuminating light. With each flicker, came a new emotion, love, warmth, healing energy. Even if she, or her loved ones were overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or burnt out, the candle offered rare solitude, an offer that was impossible to resist. It forced you to stand still, and reflect, pondering upon your day, and affirming what you were grateful for. A knew the gratitudes her cousin would have, thankful for a good university education, grateful for great family and friends, and optimistic about her bright and beautiful future. A imagined how N would feel when she presented her with a new candle, to add to her growing collection. It was an obsession of hers true, but A saw N’s passion as a much-needed act of self-care. And when they came together at Christmas, they would bring their candles together, flames conversing in hopeful optimism.
LOVE Wellbeing Ritual Aromotherapy Balm (Scentered)
To A, having a self-care Christmas wasn’t just about de-stressing, or relieving anxiety, and depression, but it was also about connecting with herself, and others. It was a time to recharge, rebalance and reconnect emotionally, on a journey of self-discovery, that was illuminating. A thought back to how much she had grown over the last few years, and felt wistful. Though she had a long way to go, she had taken big steps in her journey to becoming the most authentic, grounded version of herself. Unlike her former self, self-care was very much a big part of who she was, and why she existed. She couldn’t function without looking after herself, nor could she be the most radiant person, if she felt like s**t. She had to find a happy medium, a way of staying centered. Emotional connectivity was important to her, both with herself, and others.
It’s why she was a huge fan of LOVE Wellbeing Ritual Aromotherapy Balm, by Scentered, a soothing self-care Christmas must have, that she knew her friend L would love too. L, like A, had rediscovered herself during lockdown, using that time to further her personal growth, and create more intentional emotional connections. It made sense that L would be the recipient of the Aromotherapy Balm, being vastly into self-care Christmas hacks as well. A knew that the Therapy Balm, was like a hug to L that she would love and appreciate, embraced in squeals of happiness. It made A happy that she could treat L to a gift that was mindfully intentional, a soothing self-care Christmas gift that was embalmed in connectivity. It wasn’t just about connecting with others, but it was about aligning with ourselves, and what we wanted.
Hopefully optimistic, the woody oriental scent with top notes of Orange and Clove, was a spirtual awakening. The rose was heart-warming, while the ylang ylang helped keep the wearer grounded. Wrapped in the rich woody base notes of grounding and calming Patchouli, Vanilla, Cedarwood & Cabreuva this blend would transport L into a centered mindset, supporting her emotional connection not just with herself, but also with others. It was self-recovery 101, pairing beautifully with the LOVE Aromotherapy Candle, with warming floral rose and jasmine notes. Unlike the other Scentered collections that focused on quietening the mind, the invigorating blend of ingredients was curated as a stimulant for good health and wellbeing. And when did our wellbeing matter more than at Christmas, where the world outside paused, and breathed.
Alphagreen CBD Sample Kit
This festive season was all about families and friends coming together, rejoycing as they spent the first December in two years, indulging in festivities. There would be kissing under the miseltoe, stolen kisses at office parties, young love’s optimistic flair, and mulled wine, brewing. Santa would ride his sleigh, bringing all the gifts to the people who had suffered quarantine, reminding them that despite their trials and tribulations over the last few months, yuletide would be time out, a chance to live blissfully unaware, and free in the moment. It’s what they deserved after all. And yet, with the news of the Omicron Variant, events were being paused, and people were recluding, terrified that they would be struck down. A knew how they felt, having had COVID in July. Despite being double vaccinated, A knew that it was hard to predict if COVID would strike again.
She didn’t want to think that Christmas might be cancelled once more, she refused to think like that. Though she knew that the virus was at its most prolific in winter months, she hoped, and secretely prayed, that (if it was safe to do so), that loved ones could congregate together, freely, and happily, not confined behind a video call on Skype or Zoom. So she remained optimistic, despite the tinge of fear, that the festivities would be cancelled once more. It wasn’t because it was Christmas specifically, it was more than that. After all, to A, Christmas self-care meant being with the people that she loved, and cared for the most. It was like a balm to her fractured soul, as she breathed in their positivity, and glowing aura. Despite the optimism, the anxiety remained, picking at her fingernails, a nervous habit.
Like A, there were many of us, who didn’t know how to look after themselves during the festive months, when they had no idea what was going on. After all, it seemed like only yesterday that we were in lockdown, and who was to say that it wouldn’t happen again. It’s why A suggested that her loved ones have a solid mental health routine, like she did, where she had tools, tips, and hacks to get through her most anxious moments. Whether it was a cup of herbal tea, a hot bath with relaxing bath salts, or reading a historical fiction novel, A took pleasure in the small things, with relishing delight. And what could be more fortifying during this revolution of anxiety, than CBD, which A always had plentifully stocked, in her bathroom cabinet. Alphagreen had a CBD sample Kit, that A particularly loved, created by founders Alexej and Viktor.
Featuring a mid-range CBD oil, and sweet yet sour peach CBD gummies, the founders might be using their goodies as post-workout goodies, but to A, she reached to them in times of dire stress. The peach gummies had 25mg of CBD, the perfect sweet treat, that took the edge off her anxiety, while the CBD oil helped create inner peace, balance, and resoration. Whether she put some in her herbal tea, dropped it under her tongue, or had it after a workout, the CBD oil was enjoyable, no matter what time of day it was. THC free, with CBD isolate, the CBD range was vegan friendly, glutose, and lactose free, meaning it was suitable for people who had allergies, or dietary requirements. A knew that in the run up to Christmas, where there was so much uncertainity, and strife, that the CBD range would give others the stress-relief that they needed. A reccomended a drop of it in a herbal tea like cranberry, and orange, for a festive tea-blend packed with flavour, and calming ingredients.
The Massage Company
It had been four years since A had got a professional massage, the faint reminder of the mausesse’s magic touch, easing the knots out of her body. And yet a lot had changed since then. Though A was serious about her self-care Christmas routine, it had been a while since a massage had featured, as a high-priority. After all, she would tell herself, she barely had enough time to herself, let alone time enough to have a spa day. And yet, her need for time out was heavily overdue, bogged down with the weight of life, grief, anxiety, and depression, which bore its weight on her shoulders. She knew from past experiences that massage therapy had holistic, physical, and emotional benefits, and was determined to carve time out for it in 2021. After all massages have been proven to aid sleep, improve mental health, and relieve physical pain, while easing joints, so it was well worth the investment.
The Massage Company caught A’s eye immediately, having followed their journey over the past few years. They had always had locations outside of London, so when they came to Putney, A was all too thrilled to give their ‘deep massage’ experience a whirl. Not only were you able to get your first massage for £59.95, but if you were interested in getting regular massages, they had a monthly subscription service too. A was thrilled, and made a vow to herself, that when she had enough money saved, she would get regular massages, especially since she had bad back, shoulder, and neck pain. She had Scolosis, and had deep knots across her whole back, neck, and shoulders, but her worse ones was around the rotator cuff, and upper back, which made sense given the amount of time she spent in front of a computer.
A no-frills massage experience, it was tailored to her ‘therapeutic needs’, centered around anxiety, and de-stressing the body. Using fragrant essential oils, 50 minutes of pure pleasure commenced, as incense wafted aromatically around the room. A breathed a sigh of relief, her anxiety had been particularly bad the day before, and the masseuse deftly identified her pressure points, focusing on them the most. Though she had a little tension in her calves and legs, from excersing and running, her back, as she had expected was in worse shape. J, her mausesse was extremely helpful, answering A’s questions with finesse, and expertise, telling A what muscles she was working on, what A could do to continue a massage routine back at home, and what she would suggest for A’s next massage.
Accessible massage therapy, was hard to come by, and The Massage Company was one of a kind. In truth this was A’s first deep tissue massage treatment outside of a spa, and she enjoyed the simplicity of it. She loved spa’s as much as the next girl, but this was a treatment that she could genuinely fit into her working day, and still have time to continue working afterwards, without guilt. Whether she wanted to rest after her massage, work, or go out with friends, unlike a spa day, it took less than an hour. Yet, like a spa visit, A couldn’t help but feel incredibly relaxed, happy, and joyful, her skin as smooth as butter. J suggested that they focus on A’s problem areas, the next time she booked an appointment, to really address the tension, and knots that were prominient in A’s body. In the days that followed afterwards A noticed a dramatic improvement in her anxiety, and stress levels, and while it came back as it always did, it was a relief to have a break from mental health issues. A knew that she was not the only one who would enjoy a massage treatment as part of her self-care Christmas, and reccomended the Massage centre to her friends, and family, who could definitely benefit from a massage or two!
Self-Care Christmas Gifts For A Good Night’s Sleep
Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep, that’s what her aunt used to say to her. And it was so true. After all, when A suffered with insomnia, had panic attacks in the middle of the night or slept fitfully, the consequences the day after were unavoidable. There was the grogginess that would envelop the day, in a chronic yawn, and the fatigue that set into her bones, and joints like a winter chill. Often there was nausea, irritability, and feeling unmotivated too, devoid of the energy that she needed to get through the day. A knew that sleeping well wasn’t just appreciated, but needed. With sleep, it helped improve your mood, create balance, and leave you feeling more productive the next day. It was essential for heart health, keeping your immune system strong, and reducing your stress levels. So A knew that to create a self-care Christmas, she needed to curate gifts that were from the sleep gods themselves. From printed bedding from Yvonne Ellen, to pillow spray that would coax you into a good night’s sleep, the time had come to sleep for your life.
A had many pillows over the years, but none had served her more faithfully than her Soundasleep pillow. After all, they believed that a healthy sleep, created a healthy mind, and who was A to disagree. She knew herself in her own heart for this to be true. She had seen how her loved ones would come zombies, merely going through the actions of a day-to-day routine, and had the same happen to her too. A remembered when she was pent up with grief, unable to sleep, eat or function, she became ill in those days. She was scared to go to sleep, because she was worried that she would meet the same fate. But in time she realized that she couldn’t be scared of closing her eyes, even in the circumstances. Now more than ever, she needed strength, to power through the day. Throwing the shackles of grief aside, she succumbed to a good night’s rest, and played gentle meditative music, yearning for its good vibes to wrap her in a blanket of comfort.
Over time her pain became less vunerable, and red raw, but she had a lot to thank her Soundasleep pillow for during those days. In the nights where she could barely keep her eyes open, but her mind refused to let her sleep, it gave her solace. When she had breathless panic attacks in the middle of the night, and struggled to sleep, it gave her comfort. For it was no ordinairy pillow, but one equipped with a speaker, that could play your favourite music, podcasts, and audiobooks, when connected to your smartphone. Just by downloading the Soundasleep app, you were able to create the perfect sleep environment, while relaxing in bed, dozing off. Not only this, but it could even manage your snoring, analyze your sleep, or create a smart alarm, that would wake you up the right away.
For A, she found the most peace listening to meditation music that was designed to de-stress, release anxiety, and invite feelings of love and warmth into her mind and body. She would listen to healing music, that would send subliminal messages into her brain while she slept, helping her deal with her grief, in a healthier more cathartic way. No longer was she struggling through sleepless nights, but she let her body feel, she let her emotions go, and opened herself up to the stages of healing after loss, remembering that the pain was temporary, but the memories were forever. Even now, A would use the same method while she worked, tried to calm down after an anxiety attack, or relax. She found the music soothing, like balm to her lungs that taught her to slow down and breathe without the negative emotions taking over.
It helped that the pillow was super comfortable too, so imagine D, A’s boyfriend’s delight when she brought one for him too, relishing a comfortable pillow for once. To him, he didn’t care so much about the technology that it had, but more about how wonderfully soft it felt. Generously filled with soft and springy hollowfibre to provide the right amount of support for his head and neck, it was wrapped in a luxurious quilted cover for ultimate comfort. Still, he couldn’t help but be curious about its features too, pleased that it was compitable with 1000’s of apps. A remembered coming home one day, and seeing him listen to Spotify, as he lay curled in bed, his eyes closed in contentment. It was a pleasantly gratifying sight, watching him bliss out, and A was glad. He deserved the world.
Yvonne Ellen Cheeky Cheetah Duck Egg Duvet Set
Yvonne Ellen was a quirky homeware brand that A had discovered during lockdown, with stunning printed mugs, bedding, afternoon tea sets, and even scented candles and diffusers that were begging for attention. Though all her products were beautiful, A was particularly drawn to her bedding, featuring Cheetah prints, parrots, tigers, and even penguins in kitsch vintage designs. Why? Because it paired her love of two things, a good night’s sleep and bold and electic prints that screamed out for attention.
So imagine her delight when she stumbled across the Cheeky Cheetah Duck Egg Duvet Set, that was beautifully hand illustrated. After all, A liked to think that her bed was a safe haven, and should look inviting enough for a snooze that cats could be proud of. Especially during the festive season, she was planning on wearing out the bed, big time. And not in the way you imagined, but with sleep, bountiful and splendid sleep, that deserved an award for how freaking great it was. When it came to creating the ultimate self-care Christmas, A knew that she had pull out the big guns if she was going to impress her loved ones, and believe me they became huge fans of Yvonne Ellen, after lusting after her own trusty duvet. Not only did it present her with ample opportunities for sleep, but it was mesmerizing to look at.
Printed on a soft duck egg coloured background with a simple black on white ditsy spot reverse and finished with a smart piped edge detail, it was breathtaking. A had always loved a cheeky print, and the cheetah was a little saucepot, if she didn’t mind saying so, like herself. Tongue in cheek, the duvet set was a talking point, produced in a 100% cotton, 220 thread count sateen weave for a soft, silky feel. It felt like vegan silk on her skin, effortlessly soft, as it caressed her until she fell into a luxurious slumber. Paired with a matching ‘Big Cat’ cushion, it brought a touch of the wild into the bedroom that she shared with her partner. It seemed fitting given the new jungle print canvas that they had in their bedroom, which by accident matched Yvonne Ellen’s vibe perfectly. It was almost as though it was pre-destined, some might say. As for Christmas, what was more festive than a cheeky animal doing its thing?
WellBeSleep Organic Shots And Bars
With more than 1 in 3 people in Britain saying they don’t get enough sleep, A knew that she had to find an effective solution. After all, a night without sleep, was a struggle bus to get through, one that many of us understood. So what could be better than WellBeSleep‘s organic shots and bars, combining medicinal herb lemon balm with hops to help us fall asleep easily? A had often had lemon balm in her diet, ranging from herbal teas, to even growing her own fresh lemon balm, to use in curries, salads, and soothing hot drink remedies for cold winter nights. Recognized for its positive health benefits, it was adept at helping with insomnia, which A had struggled with a lot growing up, and also in recent times.
Though Lemon balm might not be the first thing you would think of when it came to self-care Christmas hacks, its nature as a calming herb, made it compelling to say the least. A read how it was used as far back as the Middle Ages, to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic). But how would the WellBeSleep products came useful in her own life? A natural alternative to sleep medication, it contained flavours such as beetroot and ginger, apple and blueberry, and tumeric and elderflower organic shots, infused with medicinal herbs. A’s personal favourite for Christmas self-care was apple and blueberry, enjoying the sweetness of the shot, that had a tinge of sourness.
Based on research from Lund University, the products were designed with the perfect bedtime in mind. Taken 30 minutes before getting into bed, A could feel the drowsiness coming over her, in a way that didn’t leave her groggy. It calmed her down, and though it was not a miracle drink, she did think it went well with her bedroom self-care Christmas routine. The bars too, were a pleasant surprise, made from dark chocolate, that felt richly indulgent. It wasn’t heavy on her stomach, and the pleasant infusion of lemon balm, and hops felt oh so calming. As her loved ones had told her, it wasn’t a traditional gift, but it would make a wonderful stocking filler for someone who wanted to make their self-care priority. A had just the perfect person in mind for it too, someone who often forget to slow down, who like her, didn’t always priortize herself. Well, thanks to WellBeSleep, she was about to make a difference. After all, what was a good night’s festive sleep, without a helping hand or two? A could vouch that they tasted pretty darn good.
Echor End Of Sleep Candle And Pillow Spray
A wished that she could make all her loved ones stresses, and anxieties melt away, in a pot of oblivion. She would flick away the demons that were keeping them up at night, and banish them to a place far, far away, where they had no choice but to live their lives in exile. For she wanted her loved ones to have a good sleep this Christmas, choosing to ignore the devil that perched on their shoulders, and made them obsessively worry, in favour of an angel, who filled their head with sweet and pretty dreams. It was a calm world here, one that radiated positivity and joy. It wasn’t about living in ignorance, but about finding happiness.
Echor too shared the same values as she did, vowing to bestow the power of a good yuletide night’s sleep, on its deserving patrons. They believed that sleep was their saving grace, and were determined to make the world, a happier, well-rested place, where dreams were glorious and golden, not vemonous, and fitful. Whether it was their calming candle, mesmerizing pillow spray, or luxe weighted blanket, Echor was founded as part of a mission to change the way that we viewed sleep. For A, who cherished the days where she had blissful, gorgeous sleep, she was all too happy to get behind an amazing brand like Echor, believing in their narrative of change.
But what would be the best gifts for a Christmas, full of well-rested festive cheer? The End of Sleep Candle was the ultimate pre-sleep aromotherapy, blending Ylang Ylang, Lavender, Geranium & Sweet Orange. Shown to reduce stress hormones and lower blood pressure, the geranium in particular had anti-inflammatory properties, that opened up your airways blissfully. While A didn’t snore, she often had a tight chest due to anxiety, and the candle helped her feel clearer, and more at ease, when preparing for bed.
A slow-burning vegan soy wax candle, it was toxin-free, with lavender essential oil, that allowed you to wake up with more energy the next morning. It wasn’t just the candle that was therapeutic either. The ‘End of Day’ pillow spray was infused with Lavender, Geranium, Eucalyptus and Sweet Orange. The eucalyptus oil in particular was soothing, decreasing the activity of the body’s stress response system, while lowering blood pressure. A could scarcely believe it, she knew her aunty would love the spray especially as a thoughtful, and mindful self-care Christmas gift. She smiled, as she added a weighted blanket to the order too, knowing how much her aunty loved her creature comforts. Besides, she was tempted to buy one for herself too, and imagined the double joy she would feel in this comfortable, sleep induced state.
Mindful Self-Care Beauty Gifts
Beauty was in the eye of the beholder, or so the saying went. A believed that beauty, was in self-care, rather than aesthetics, but then again she was no expert. What she did know is how much beauty was a big part of her self-care Christmas routine. Whether it was pouring bath salts into a bubbling, hot bath, feeling her limbs stretch out, or slathering potions, and lotions all over her body, and face, taking care of her skin, and her muscles was extremely important. And no holistic self-care Christmas guide was complete without beauty must-haves that would leave giftees glowing with elation. From vegan skincare that would treat scars, and blemishes from Nurture, to Organic Work’s natural vegan bath-time products, no Christmas was complete without a bubble bath or two.
Nuture Skincare Range
Pampering her skin, was always an integral part of A’s self-care Christmas routine. She would get up early enough, but rise slowly, savouring a good book under a weighted blanket, the frosty morning light pouring into the room. Later, she would sink gratefully into a steaming hot bath, as she prepared her morning skincare routine, taking extra care this yuletide to give it the love, and attention that it deserved. She had recently fallen in love with Nuture, a plant-based skincare range, with non-toxic clean ingredients enriched with vegan Omega rich oils. Specially designed to improve scars, stretch marks, and dry skin, it was a beautiful miracle. A herself had scars, and dry skin, and was determined to give her body, and her face, the tender loving care that it deserved.
Her friend too, who was pregnant with her first child, was gifted the Nuture skincare range by A, certain that J, would love it, as much as she did. And she was right, while it was too soon to tell whether it had visibly reduced her stretch marks, she loved how the products felt on her baby bump. J described the Nourishing Skin Treatment oil as gentle, lightweight, and hydrating, glossy like butter, on her growing bump. It was gloriously enriched with 5 Omega-Rich Oils like Rosehip, Sweet Almond, Grapeseed and Chia along with replenishing Vitamin E & hydrating Squalane. A deeply nourishing, moisturising and restorative oil, Nuture believed that it would assist the skin in becoming more supple, improving the appearence of scars, and stretch marks in only 8 weeks. It was a remarkable claim, and one that A and J, would be surely testing out.
For A, the oil felt amazing, loving that she was investing in clean beauty, and skincare, that was kind to sensitive and dry skin. Though A’s face was predominantly oily (with dry patches), her body was often dry, particularly around her feet, hands, back, and legs. The oil helped hydrate her ‘dry spots’ while soothing the itchiness that often came with having dry skin, and felt like heaven. Suitable for old, and new scars, as well as stretch marks, and dry skin, A couldn’t wait to see whether it massively reduced her existing scars. From a burn scar on her right foot, to facial scars, A was avidly testing out the oil twice a day, and while it was early days, she felt hopefully optimistic. After all, who didn’t want the gift of happy skin, this Christmas? The Recovery Cream was like bliss too, formulated with multi-beneficial ingredients like Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5) which was recognised for helping with skin recovery.
A multi-purpose skincare remedy, it helped protect, and soothe dry skin, to retain natural moisture levels. Though A had been using it a short time, it had acted as a barrier against the cold conditions that she often worked in, and helped hydrate her dry skin effectively. Infused with plant-based actives Centella and Arnica, to help soothe and calm distressed skin, A felt at peace. Deeply soft, A couldn’t believe how it felt like cashmere on her skin, though it made sense given the infusion of luxurious Shea Butter, and Omega-Rich Oils. Vegan-friendly, the recovery cream was a saviour during the biting cold winter months, where A was exposed to extreme weather conditions on a daily basis. Unlike previous winters where her hands would crack, her hands remained soft, supple, and most importantly not bleeding.
Organic Works Face, Body And Hand Collections
When it came to a skincare, and bathtime vegan range, that had the whole package, Organic Works was pretty high on the list. Why? Because their face, body, and hand collections had a minimum of 98% natural ingredients, and was suitable for sensitive skin. Made in the UK, the cruelty-free brand, had sumptous skincare saviours, heavenly hydrating washes, and even vegan moisturisers, that felt like paradise. Taking A’s self-care Christmas to a whole other level, rose, bergamot, and lavender, made up a large portion of Organic Works affordable cruelty-free beauty range. These natural ingredients were soothing, calming, and smelt oh so delicious.
She would start with the Bergamot collection first, a Daily Hydration Shower Gel, Hand Wash, and Hand and Body Lotion calling her name. The award-winning hand wash, was a ‘Gold Winner’ at the Pure Beauty Awards London 2020, and it was easy to see why. Clean beauty at its finest, it was enriched with Sweet Orange and Bergamot oils, and had a mild floral fragrance. Gentle on A’s sensitive skin, it didn’t irritate A’s hands like other hand-washes were apt to do, and in a day, and age, where we were being more cautious about our hygeine, it didn’t dry out A’s hands, which were prone to dryness. Given that Christmas was a time to connect with others, it was more important than ever to keep on top of keeping clean, and this hand-wash made the job effortless. A scent that wasn’t overpowering, it complemented the rest of the range beautifully.
The Shower Gel and the Hand and Body Lotion were like two peas in a pod, clean, soft, and light-weight. It didn’t feel heavy on A’s skin, but fluffy as a new-formed cloud, wispy soft, but still packed an impact. She could use a small amount of both the shower gel, and the hand and body lotion, and watch it lather, in a luxurious langorous trance. Indulgent, yet affordable, the lotion and gel were both moisturising, and adept at dealing with dry, sensitive, and irritated skin, which A was prone to. For those who preferred the scent of Lavender, the Hand and Body Lotion, and Hand Wash was a real treat, infused with Lavender Essential Oil. Clinically tested, and suitable for all skin types, the Lavender Hand And Body Lotion was a 2021 finalist in the Clean Beauty Awards, while the Hand Wash might not be award-winning, but it was hella good. A had always found the smell of lavender incredibly soothing, and Organic Works Lavender range was no exception.
The Cleansing Face Wash in the rose geranium range was one of her favourites. Not only was it the 2021 winner for face wash in the Clean Beauty Awards, but it also picked up silver in the Global Makeup Awards in 2021. Enriched with Rose Geranium Flower, and Aloe Vera, it made A’s skin feel gloriously soft, and refreshed it when she was feeling at her most tired. The Renewal Night Cream, was another one of her favourites paired with Lavender Essential oil. The winner at the Global Makeup Awards 2021, the 100% vegan moisturiser smelt and felt amazing. The pump dispensed the right amount of cream to transform A’s skin, while she slept, and the scent was super-calming too. A couldn’t believe that when she woke up, the smell was still there lingering, beautifully poignant. As far as A was concerned, Christmas had come early with this clean beauty bundle.
Wilkinson Sword Intuition 4 in 1
A had always had a complicated relationship with shaving, not allowed to shave until she was 14. It was a late age to be able to groom herself at, given that she had thick dark hair, and naturally had body and facial hair, that would grow quickly. She would cover up her body, embarrased, and was most thankful when she could finally groom her body, to the standards that she wanted to. From threading her eyebrows, and upper lip, to shaving her whole body, hair removal was a huge part of her self-care Christmas routine. She would shave often, and to this day, keeps on top of her grooming routine without fail. Even in the winter months, she would keep a regular upkeep, preferring to have hairless skin, that made her more comfortable. While she had friends who were liberal about shaving, and preferred to have hair in their armpits, and pubic regions, A was not one of those free-spirits.
Then again it made sense, given the culture she had grown up in, and how people had teased her mercicessly, for being ‘hairy’. She admired their love of body hair, and thought they looked cool, but A’s personal preference was to be well-groomed. So when she came across the Wilkinson Sword Intuition 4-in-1 Perfect Finish Multi-Zone Trimmer, she knew it would be an excellent gift for Christmas self-care. With a dual sided trimmer to precisely trim your eyebrows, and a brow comb to trim eyebrow hair to the perfect length, it wasn’t just your average grooming areas that it trimmed. For days where A was letting her eyebrow hair grow out in between threading sessions, the trimmer was ideal for the hard-to-reach little finiccky hairs, that liked to avoid removal. Adept at removing facial hair, as well, it was specially designed to keep the blades from touching the skin.
An innovative solution, the trimmer included one handle, five attachments, a beauty bag, a cleaning brush and an AA battery to meet all of A’s grooming and product care needs. It was pain-free hair removal at its finest. It gently removed underarm and bikini hair, with 4 adjustable comb lengths to create the desired look, and it didn’t hurt that it was aesthetically pleasing to look at either. In a beautiful shade of lavender, the all in one tool makes shaving, trimming, shaping and styling easy, without irritating or inflaming the skin. In short it was the trimmer of A’s dreams, the female equivalent of D, A’s partner’s Manscaped trimmer, that she had often lusted and coveted after. Now she didn’t have to, as her Wilkinson Sword was just as bad ass as his.
Meditation, Journalling And Wellbeing
A wasn’t always a fan of meditation, finding it difficult to get in the zone and block everything out. She remembered when she first started CBT, and they gave her mindfulness sessions as well. At the time, she found that mindfulness did not help her, but it was because she was A. in a group setting, and got easily distracted, and B. needed to give herself time to practice meditation. When she opened up her mind, heart, and body, she found that meditating alone was extremely useful for her, particularly, when she followed guided meditation, listened to meditative music, and watched mindful breathing videos. Journalling on the other hand was something A had done since she was a small girl, a way of documenting the events around her, and getting her feelings on paper. But journalling for self-care, mindfulness and affirmations, was something she had got into recently over lockdown. Which is why no self-care Christmas guide was complete without gifts that centered your wellbeing, such as a Guided Journal from Lucid Habits, EFT sessions with the incredible Andrea Hunt, or affirmation cards from LSW.
The Anti-Burnout Club Wellbeing Platform
A’s loved ones would often smile at her vaguely, as she spoke passionately about her self-care progress, detailing her personal development journal. They would listen, but the words would go over their head, secretely thinking that it was hippy dippy, and the sage advice she was giving them, would go over their heads. If only they understood just how much self-care had changed her life, how it had forced her to listen to her mind, and think purposefully about what her body, and soul needed, and wanted. It was time to tune in to the power of self, and heal herself, before she could even attempt to help others. After all, she had often burnt herself out helping others, ignoring that she was also burnt out, overwhelmed, and needing help. She didn’t care if people wanted to call herself selfish, for putting herself first, because for so many years, she had denied herself, in favour of others.
Don’t get me wrong, she was still loving, kind, and helpful, but she knew she had to be in good health, to give back to others. Christmas after all was the season of giving, and this year for once, she would give back to herself. Hence, she subscribed to The Anti-Burnout Club, an incredible all in one wellbeing platform, that had recipes, courses, and classes, all in one place. Created by the incredible Bex Spiller, she knew all too well, what burn out could do to our minds, and bodies. Like A, she had been around the corporate block enough times to know, that self-care was vital, whether it was in the workplace, at home, or on the go. Partnering with nutrionists, yogi’s, dancers, fitness experts, and meditation teachers to name a few, The Anti-Burnout Club was an incredible safe space that was oh so nourishing.
A particularly loved the range of nutrient rich, vegan and vegetarian recipes that the platform offered such as the Crispy Chickpea Bowl, Meal Prep Grain Breakfast Bowl, and Butternut Squash Rancheros. Each recipe had clear cut instructions, how much protein, fibre, and calories it had, and even its prep, and cooking time, alongside a beautiful instagrammable image of the chosen dish that you were going to make. From sides, to starters, mains, and desserts, every diet imaginable was covered, and was designed to be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle. After all when it came to a self-care Christmas, eating nourishing, warming, and fortifying food was a must, to stay energized during the colder months.
And it wasn’t just food either; the classes were incredibly enjoyable too. A was currently taking part in Meditaion classes for gratitude, sleep, and relaxation, and was loving every single second of it. Kristy Lomas’s class on ‘Ending the Day with Gratitude’, was her current favourite, as it was a 20 minute meditation video, that taught her to be grateful and appreciate what she had. It allowed her to look back at the day, and remember that even if it was a s**tty day, there was always something positive to think about too. And A had plenty to be thankful for, a wonderful partner, a lovely flat, great friends, and family that made her feel loved, and special. She was grateful for being her own boss too, having a blog, freelancing, and having her fingers in many pies. The courses too were amazing, and A planned to take a Breath Work module, as she often struggled with good breathing habits because of her anxiety. She would join Charlie in his Breathwork for Productivity 4 part series, to stay motivated during the festive season.
Andrea Hunt’s EFT Tapping
Ever since A saw Jane the Virgin practicing EFT tapping after the death of her ex-husband Michael, she knew immediately that it appealed to her. She was currently in a transitionairy stage, waiting for long-term psychotherapy, and could wait up to two years to be seen. Unlike CBT, the psychotherapy was long-term therapy, that would be longer in length, and a greater amount of sessions. Though she had CBT since 2018, which she found extremely helpful for her depression, she needed something therapeutic that would address her anxiety too. She was fed up of always being anxious, and dreaded the sensation of tightness in her chest, and the lack of air in her lungs.
Although she had trauma, she was more interested in EFT for managing the emotions and anxieties that she was going through. She wanted to manage her mental health, even when she was on the go, and create better emotional and mindset shifts. So imagine her delight when the fantastic Andrea Hunt got in touch, a transformational coach, who also provided EFT tapping. Andrea was warm, friendly, and put you at ease straight away, eager to answer any questions that you may of had. Though she was not licensed to deal with traumas, she excelled at creating a safe, and comfortable space, where you felt free enough to open yourself up and your emotions. You remember the call, how she carefully explained every aspect of the process. EFT was nothing like you had ever experienced before, allowing you to untangle yourself, change unhelpful beliefs and patterns, and empower yourself with personal growth for a more fufiling life.
But what is EFT tapping? EFT is a meditation tool based on Chinese acupuncture points, to overcome situations by changing your mindset, managing stress and anxiety, and changing the way that you think about things. Unlike meditation, or other forms of therapy, EFT could be done anywhere, even on transport, as its a lot more subtle. For A, this was helpful given that she often had anxiety, and overwhelm, no matter where she was, and wanted practical self-care tools that she could regardless of her environment. Her EFT session with Andrea taught her a lot about her limiting beliefs, and how resistant her mind was to being comfortable with her emotions. It made sense though, given that people had always called her a drama queen or made fun of her, for crying a lot, and being an ’emotional person’. She realized though, that this was a strength, and there was power in vunerability, and naked emotions.
The EFT was unlike anything she had tried before, but she could honestly say that she felt a visible difference. Andrea was calm, and patient with her, giving her enough time to pick up the phrases, and beliefs, and mimicking the EFT actions that Andrea was carrying out. She had seen more patience from Andrea than she had seen with some of her past therapists, and felt gratified, that she could pick up a new therapeutic skill that would help change her life forever. Since her first session, she continued to practice EFT, remembering the words that Andrea had repeated. I am strong, I am worthy, I allow myself to feel the way that I do. This pain is temporary, I acknowledge that I feel the way I do. Each word that Andrea spoke spoke was not romanticized but realistic, allowing her to acknowlege the way she felt, and how anxious she was, and work together to reduce her anxiety levels.
Lucid Habits Guided Journal
A, had been journalling ever since she was a little girl, her secret confidante that got her through trying times. It was a saviour during an abusive childhood, and a friend when she was being bullied throughout her teen years. But then in her adult years, she had stopped. Not because she didn’t love getting her story out on paper, but because she let work get in the way of documenting her life. Besides, she had her blog, which often documented her stories. There were detailed messages too, detailing major life events, that she could look back on. And yet some memories remained too painful to get down on paper, one she hoped she could write about one day. Still, she had started a new form of journalling in recent times, where she was starting to live life more lucidly with daily rituals.
But what did that mean? Well Lucid Habits Guided Journal, alllowed her to ritualize wellness with daily trackers, and prompts. Not only did it reprogramme her understanding of wellness, but it also priortized her self-care Christmas habits, by promoting mindfulness, and gratitude. There were daily prompts that allowed her to be in tune with how she felt in the present moment, as well as a daily gratitude list. It allowed A to hold herself accountable, and ensure she created gentle, and mindful habits, so that she had a daily practice of awareness and expression. After all, in the past A had found it difficult to take timeout for herself, least of all journal. When we lived in a toxic ‘hustle culture’ this made a lot of sense, and A often felt at times that she would lose the essence of herself in work, personal life, and relationships.
It was time to enter into a new age, where wellness culture was not a fad, but a way of life, that nourished you mind, body and soul. Using the guided journal helped A slow down, even if she was still just as busy. She would ritualize herself, and vow that no matter how jam-packed her day was, she must, and would always ritualize herself, in a healthy, more holistic way. A self-care Christmas wasn’t a luxury, but a neccessity, and she needed it to function, and get through the festive season in one piece. One thing she could say was that she was incredibly grateful to get back into journalling practices again.
Mal Paper Stress Relief Card Deck And Affirmation Card Deck
A often struggled to find a state of calm, and clarity, overwhelmed by her high-stress levels, that were a result of her severe anxiety, and depression. At times she would struggle to breathe, the air cloying her lungs, feeling like the whole world around her was spinning and she had no way out. It was hard to appreciate the stillness, when it harboured her darkest moments, but her mental health was a journey, that she was struggling with for a long, long time. If only there was a way of staying centered during her most stressful moments.
Knowing that she was often under a lot of pressure, and was usually tense, nervous or anxious, she wanted to try a new form of stress-relief. She loved the tools that she had in her current stress-relief kit, but was always open to new stress relief techniques, that would heal her mind. Enter Mal Paper‘s Stress Relief Card Deck, made up of 52 different practices, and reminders, that reminded A to take a moment away from stressful situations. A tended to use it first thing in the morning, as a way of centering herself, but the cards could be used after, or during high-stress periods too. Whether she was stressed with work, feeling overwhelmed or struggling with the feeling of being out of control, the cards were a reminder to slow down, stop, and be kind to herself.
During Christmas when the workload was extremely busy, and she was battling health issues, juggling everything seemed impossible. But the deck of cards, simple as they was, helped refocus her thoughts, calm her mind, and increaase her energy. One of her favourite reminders was almost poetic ‘ Relax your shoulders. Unclench your jaw. Steady your breathing. This is just a bad day, not a bad life. The tension will pass’. It was a welcome phrase that helped her re-channel her energy into a realistic, optimistic, safe space. She acknowledged the way she felt, but ultimately recognized that better days were coming. It allowed her to change the way she was breathing, and control how her body was reacting to stress. It wasn’t just stress relief that A was practicing either, but affirmations too. The Affirmation deck, helped her focus on the positives and become more mindful, while taking back control of her long-term goals.
Not only did it help remove limiting and negative beliefs, but it also helped reduce anxiety, and create calm. The affirmations were easy to practice, and she would repeat them out loud several times each day, so she could cement the positive sentence in her mind. While she had her own positive mantras, Mal Paper’s ones were just as effective. They allowed her to manifest her affirmations in every aspect of her outlook, and allowed her to stay grounded in her work, health, relationships and more. While the cards were able to be used all year round, she especially found that they would be a wonderful self-care Christmas gift, because of how hard people worked, during this season. At this time of year, we would have goals, and targets to reach, and the cards reminded us to be thankful no matter the outcome.
LSW Mind Cards
Speaking of thankfulness, when it came to practicing graditude LSW’s Mind Cards, were a great affordable find. Designed to help you become more mindful of your thoughts and feelings, it gave you simple to use tools that helped you look after your mental health and happiness, while spreading positivity throughout your life. The 45 cards, helped you build the habit of making more positive choices each day, to help you lead a more fufilling and happier life. The Mind Cards were split across five categories: Kindness, Ritual, Gratitude, Journal and Reflection.
As we all know random acts of kindness, release feel-good hormones like oxytocin, and serotonin, that increase energy and happiness. The kindness cards help you offer kindness towards the outside world, while remaining kind to yourself. The ritual cards, were wonderful for self-care Christmas actions, with each card containing a different short activity, that was incredibly beneficial for your wellbeing. After all, building positive, and mindful rituals into your life, helped you think, act, and move intentionally, in a world that was so fast-paced. A relished how it taught her to stop, and be purposeful, rather than agitated, and rushed. Like the affirmation cards from Mal Paper, it also taught gratitude, to look out for the little things, that would leave us feeling our happiest. For A, this card helped her change the way she looked at the world, and reduce negative emotions such as envy, resentment, or being overly critical.
All the cards created mental strength, but the Journal card, was a great way to dig deep and see if you needed to make any lasting changes in your life. For A, the questions that the journal cards asked, were deep. It made her reflect on how she was living, and what she could be doing differently to live a more fufilled life. When the same card popped up again, she would think nack, and see whether her answer was different or the same, and what might have changed in her life, to create a new response. Lastly, the reflection cards, were much needed. Often A and her loved ones were guilty of not sitting still in the moment, and savouring the here and now. She was either stuck in the past, or grounded in the future, and the reflection cards helped her focus on the present. Just by taking 10 minutes out of her day, she could focus on the card quote, and how it could apply to her own life. She would look at the meaning behind the words, to better herself, and her life too.
Nourishing Food Gifts
The greatest way to A’s heart was delicious food, and drink, a fact her boyfriend D knew all too well. After all, her pleas of being hungry all the time drove him up the wall. But what could she say, she loved to eat, and enjoyed eating nourishing food that was nutrient rich, and made her heart, and soul happy. Especially at Christmas, oh how she loved the delectable sweets, treats, and all things nice around the festive period. But this year her food gift ideas needed to be unique, educational and fun. From Rassa’s online cookery school meets recipe kit, to Sous Chef’s Dishoom Cookbook and rare ingredients bundle, the festivities were all about cooking delicious and unusual recipes.
Sous Chef Dishoom Cookbook And Ingredients Set
Indian cuisine was by far A’s favourite. Not only was it vegetarian friendly, but the spices were unbelievable, the flavours were amazing, but it reminded her of family. Not family in the traditional sense, but how Indian food brought people together, allowing people to talk for hours, as they conversed over curries, samosas, and lassi’s. A had family who was Asian, and remembered having delicious meals at their house, infused with flavour, and how amazing their home would smell.To A, the smell of spice, was the smell of love. When it came to food, there was no better self-care, than Indian food. It was nourishing, filling, and incredibly cooked.
In A’s adult years Dishoom was one of her favourite Indian restaurants, and she would often have a Chole Puri (without the black tea), with grilled broccoli and snow peas, tumbled with chilli and lime. Paired with the Colaba Colada, the waiters and waitresses would often be bemused, as she ate all the food, leaving no room for scraps. The chickpea curry was delectable, paired with puffed puris, and sweet halwa, while the Colada was laced with chai syrup, lime juice, and two rums, with a touch of coriander. And yet, she wished that she could know the secrets to Dishoom’s amazing recipes and recreate them at home, especially during lockdown, where she couldn’t visit her nearest Dishoom. And that is where Sous Chef came to the rescue, a chef-marketplace, where she could explore over 3,000 ingredients from the world’s best kitchens.
Imagine how her heart leapt when she discovered the Dishoom Cookbook and Ingredient set, finally able to recreate her favourite meals at home. Able to rustle up Bombay flavours in her humble London flat, she felt awed. D, too was excited at the thought of being able to cook up classic like the black daal, jackfruit birayani, and a bacon naan roll (for him). Unlike A, D was not vegetarian, but he still ate vegetarian with her most of the time. And what a pleasure the ingredient set was too, including Jaggery, Urid Beans, Tamarind pulp, black cardamon, gram flour, amchoor powder, amchoor powder, kashmiri chilli powder, the Dishoom Cookbook, and of course the Drawstring Gift Bag.
The Kashmiri chilli powder was used in many Dishoom recipes including Paneer Tikka Achari, and had a fantastic red colour. With a fruity, gentle heat, the paneer tasted incredible, and A loved how it brought the dish to life. The amchoor mango powder, was another exciting ingredient, used in vegetable samosas, while the urid beans were essential for Dishoom’s incredible black daal. The black cardamon on the other hand was incredible, in a Rajma kidney bean stew, which was D’s definition of a perfect meal. The gram flour helped make their own bhajis, while the tamarind pulp was equisitte in the creamy yoghurt Dahi Bhalla Chaat. A was so thankful to Sous Chef, who had helped make her Indian cooking dreams come true, and she was determined to improve her skills, with the help of D, her partner.
Rassa Cookery School
Rassa was a online platform like no other, a hybrid cookery school, that was also a meal kit, where you could master new cusines and skills. Whether you were a meat lover, or a vegetarian like A, there was a range of courses including Israeli, Fillipino, and Irish cuisine. For A, Israeli was a mostly vegetarian meal kit, where she could experience a new cuisine and try delicious, healthy, and fortifying food that was incredibly moerish. From Arabic sharing plates, to Mediterrenean feasts, Rassa allowed you to cook brunch plates, street food classics, Israeli fire cooking, and even floral desserts. Titled Israeli Dining: Sunrise to Sunset, it was the course that she was most enticed by, but was reccomended to try the Vegetarian meal kit.
From making a Filipino classic of Suman with Rex, to a delicious Israeli Fattoush Salad & Labneh Cheese with Zoe, A loved the mix of cuisines and cultures that the vegetarian box had. It wasn’t the typical main, dessert or side that she would normally make, and she loved how it challenged her to think outside of her comfort zone. After all, having a self-care Christmas wasn’t just about creating mindful habits, journalling, and having me-time, but it was also about personal development and growth. A wasn’t the best cook, she wasn’t afraid to admit, but she was adventorous, and loved nothing more than trying new things, and creating recipes that were unique, delicious and 100% tasty. From Irish cuisine, to Fillipino and Israeli cuisine, it had a great taster of the other courses that Rassa offered, and she loved how each recipe was something she had never tried before in her life.
You didn’t get that often, and she appreciated that it highlighted underepresented cuisines, and gave them the spotlight to shine. A in particular was looking forward to recreating the Israeli Fattoush Salad with Labneh Cheese and Zoe, because it would teach her to make her own cheese, and create a healthy, flavourful and vibrant salad that was a welcome antidote to the heavy, creamy food that Christmas often offered. She had never made her own cheese before, and was fascinated by the process of cheesemaking. As for Israeli cuisine it had always appealed to her immensely, given that was vegetarian and vegan friendly and used fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables in all of its dishes. A had been guilty of over-indulging this season, and wanted to try something that would make her look and feel good.
What Would You Like For A Mindful Self-Care Christmas?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by gifted products, and services. As usual I include brands that match my ethics, and are genuinely companies that I love to support. I am passionate about championing cruelty-free brands who are kind to animals, and loved compiling a self-care Christmas gift guide for conscious shoppers. After all, now more than ever we need some TLC!