Give yourself some holiday love this yuletide with these simple, nourishing self-care rituals
The winter solstice on December 21st marks the start of winter and the season of Yule. It’s the season of the shortest days with the least light and chilly temperatures outside. While it’s completely understandable to want to hibernate with Netflix, having self-care rituals is a great way to celebrate this Yule season. Focus on checking in with your complete self by tending to your needs and living intentionally by prioritizing self-are rituals during Yule.
Having daily self-care rituals keeps us healthy and happy, but it’s important to change these rituals seasonally. Seasonal variations in temperature and daylight affect our body and mind. Yule season can be a challenging, stressful time of year and it doesn’t help that it’s dark and cold outside. Prioritize joy and feeling invigorated rather than depleted this Yule season by tending to your own well-being. The more positive energy you have, the more you’ll have to share for this holiday season. The below self-care rituals will keep you feel relaxed and in tune with yourself, so you will have plenty of Yuletide cheer to go around.
“Hygge” is a Danish term that means, “A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” It’s a concept that refers to finding comfort, pleasure, and warmth in simple, soothing things. It means creating a warm, cozy atmosphere and feeling good about it. Have you noticed all the extra-cozy socks, pajamas, robes, and slippers in the stores at this type of year? These textures will bring you the most comfort during the darkest, coldest time of the year. Treating yourself to comfy loungewear during Yule season is the perfect form of self-care as it brings comfort and joy.
FIND A GOOD BOOK
What better time to cozy under a blanket and enjoy a good book during the chilliest days of the year? Find a fun romance novel, cross a classic off your list, deepen your wisdom by finding a “how-to” book in a topic you want to learn, and last, you can never go wrong with a good mystery. You could even start a book club with friends as a fun way to stay connected and use books to spark new conversations. This Yule season take the time for yourself to gather the books that will make you super excited for a cozy night in.
DIFFUSE ESSENTIAL OILS
Yule season is very symbolic of the ambiance of hearth and home. While I’m always a fan of diffusing essential oils, I really enjoy the scents of this winter season as it makes me reminisce about my childhood. In my childhood home, we always had real fir needle trees and I will forever associate Yule with this scent. Other essential oils that are perfect for this time of year are rosemary, orange, clove, cinnamon, and pine.
MAKE ORANGE POMANDERS
This can be a fun, relaxing craft to do with family or friends to build connection and reduce the stress of the Yuletide season. Start with whole oranges and a jar of whole cloves. Use a sharp, pointy object like a nail to make holes where you want the cloves to go. Stick the cloves in the fruit and you’re all set. Place a few in a bowl as a fragrant centerpiece that makes the house smell great, or hang smaller fruit as ornaments on the tree. They also make sweet gifts!
This traditional warming drink is perfect for sipping on during Yule and makes the house smell incredible. Simply combine 2 quarts apple cider, 1 1/2 cups orange juice, 3/4 cup pineapple juice, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 cinnamon sticks, a dash of ground cinnamon, and a dash of ground cloves in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Discard the cinnamon sticks, pour into mugs and serve.
CREATE AN EVENING BATH ROUTINE
I know baths are always recommended as a self-care ritual, but this can truly be a wonderful way to connect spiritually with yourself. During the quiet, cold Yule season is a great time to focus on your own thoughts and intentions and just surrender to a nice bath. Play soothing music like sound bowls, light candles or incense, and even add a bath bomb. Use the time for meditation, journaling, or just losing yourself in a good book.
GET OUT MORE IN NATURE
This is my favorite time of year for a walk. I love when the air is brisk and cool! A walk is a great way to get your dose of fresh air, natural light, and exercise during the cold months. Take a walk through your local park and feel nature’s energy around you. Research in your community to see any outdoor Yule festivals that are happening near you. Getting out in nature has a way of connecting to and rejuvenating your soul.
COOK NOURISHING SOUPS
With the colder temps comes the perfect time to warm our bodies from the inside out with nourishing, warming soups and stews. To cook up a comforting winter soup, look for hearty and healthy ingredients such as root vegetables, chickpeas, carrot and sweet potato. One of my favourites is a Spiced root vegetable soup I found on BBC good food. It’s full of vitamins and minerals from seasonal vegetables that are easily found during Yule season.
TRY YIN YOGA
Yule season is the perfect time for a calming, restorative practice like Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga increases mobility, circulation, and regulates energy flow throughout your body (like acupuncture) through slower movement and longer holds in poses. It’s a great way to unite the body and soul and feel more grounded. Some of my favourite yin poses are below and I would suggest holding each for 1-3 minutes.
Being by sitting on your heels with your feet together. Tuck the toes under and try to be on the balls of the feet. You might have to reach down and tuck the pinky toes under.
- From a seated position, bring the soles of your feet together and then slide them away from you.
- Fold forward, allowing your back to round.
- Lightly rest your hands on your feet or on the floor in front of you.
- Your head should hang down towards your heels. If this is super uncomfortable for your neck, you can always grab a bolster and place in front of your feet to put your hands or elbows on.
- Lie on your back and draw both knees into your chest.
- Open your arms to the side like wings and drop the knees to one side.
- Make sure your hips are stacked directly on top of each other and then take your gaze in the opposite direction from your knees. Repeat on both sides.
*If you need a deeper twist, take eagle version in the legs. Take the top leg and cross it over your bottom thigh. If possible wrap the toes around the bottom calf.
Dragonfly or Straddle Pose
- From a sitting position, spread your legs apart until they won’t go any further.
- You can sit on a bolster or pillow if needed to tilt your hips forward.
- Fold forward, resting your weight onto your hands with your arms locked straight, or rest your elbows onto a block or bolster. Head is heavy and spine is naturally rounding towards the floor.
Sleeping Swan or Half-Pidgeon Pose
This is one of my favorite yoga poses and I could linger here forever.
- From downward facing dog or all fours, stretch one leg behind you.
- Bring the leg forward in between your hands as you bend your knee, placing your foot near the opposite wrist.
- Your back leg will be stretched out straight behind you, knee and top of the foot on the floor.
- Your arms are on either side of your leg to help prop you up. Make sure your hips are level.
- If there is a great discrepancy between the height and position of each hip, place a folded blanket under the hip of the bent leg in order to support it.
- Keep your spine long as you inhale, walk your hands out in front of you and fold over your front thigh. Exhale and sink into your hips. Repeat on the other side.
*If this variation is too hard for you to get into, you can always do this pose in a chair. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Cross one foot over the other knee in the number's shape “4.” As you exhale, slowly lean forward, keeping a flat back until you feel a stretch in your lower back and glutes. Think about elongating your spine rather than curling your shoulders in toward your lap.
Implementing these self-care rituals into your life is the perfect way to keep you inspired and relaxed through the upcoming Yule season.