The longest year of our lives is finally winding down, and it’s time we do something to celebrate. As you browse the store’s Hanukkah end caps for last minute gifts, remember it’s okay to take time to do something for yourself this year.
Of course, it’s always an option to buy yourself something special, but if you’re worried about finances or just need a break from the rampant consumerism this time of year, consider using this Hanukkah as a time to slow down, take a breath, and really connect with yourself. That’s right, it’s time for eight nights of self-care. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Eat those holiday treats
Latkes, sufganiyot, gelt, Chinese food… You can eat whatever you want, and you do not need to feel guilty about it. Food is part of our culture! Let yourself enjoy these holiday goodies and don’t pressure yourself to “make up” for the extra calories.
All of those expectations you had for yourself this year? Let that go. Remember we are living in unprecedented times and how you spent this year was what your body needed to survive. It’s okay. The first step is treating yourself with kindness. Place two hands over your heart and recite something like the following: “I am strong, I am brave, I am enough.”
Do you struggle to express when something is bothering you? Write it down! Allowing yourself the freedom of expression in writing, doodling, etc. helps to get stuck feelings out. Don’t forget to write the good things, too! It’s always a great tool for reflection to remind yourself later that you are resilient.
4. Turn off notifications
You will be amazed at how less often you’ll check social media when you just turn the notifications off. I’m not saying you have to avoid all apps completely (that feels nearly impossible these days), but disconnecting from your phone for just a bit gives you time to stay in the present moment.
There is no perfect way to meditate, and there are so many different kinds! A simple YouTube search will yield a bunch of results; try a few and enjoy giving yourself a few moments to just relax. For free content I highly recommend the meditations from Goodful. If you’re feeling like you want to gift yourself some sense of calm, I highly recommend the Ten Percent Happier app.
Ever notice how your body feels different when your mood changes? That’s because mental health has a somatic component. The best way to combat certain feelings is to react to them with joy and love. So, get your body moving! Blare your favorite songs (may I suggest some Hanukkah jams?) and turn wherever you are into a dance floor.
Take a few seconds for yourself every day to connect with your breath. You can try the “square breathing” technique. Draw a square with your finger. Line 1: Breathe in four seconds. Line 2: Hold four seconds. Line 3: Breathe out four seconds. Line 4: Hold four seconds. Repeat as many times as you like.
8. Write down eight things you’re grateful for
In the spirit of Hanukkah, write a list of eight things you are grateful for right now. There’s no wrong answers! It can be anything from donuts to Harry Styles (or you know, like, friends and family). Allow yourself the chance to remember what is important to you.