While the holiday season is one of the most magical times of the year, it can also be the most stressful. Family gatherings, Christmas shopping, party hosting, and winter weather can take their toll on even the most robust social butterfly.

Amidst all the merriment, make sure to take some time for yourself so all the festivities don’t become overwhelming. But how can you practice self care without racking up a bill for expensive massages and retail therapy? Take a look at some of our favorite money-saving hacks below.

Download a Free Meditation App

Learning to tame your restless mind through yoga classes can get expensive—fortunately, there’s plenty of free smartphone apps that can help guide you toward inner peace. If you find the holidays make you more anxious than usual, try out a meditation program through Headspace, Clam, or Insight Timer. These easy-to-use apps help teach you the basic principles of clearing your mind and training yourself to relax in the face of stressful situations. Practice in your pajamas before bed for an even cozier experience!

DIY Spa Day

A day of endless massages, mud baths, saunas, and facial treatments probably appeals to any busy-body, especially during Christmastime. But with a massive list of presents to buy, a luxurious spa day is out of the question. Instead, look up recipes for DIY face masks, bath bombs, and other soothing self care treatments that will help relax your aching bones. Try a yogurt, honey, and oatmeal mask—the yogurt is packed with nourishing vitamins, the honey is moisturizing, and the oatmeal works as an exfoliant. Voilá! Beautiful glowing skin without the expensive price tag.

Get Your Body Moving

Exercising releases endorphins, which are a chemical in your brain that makes you feel happy! But if a costly gym membership is out of reach this winter, there are plenty of other ways to relieve stress through exercise. If it’s still warm enough to venture outside, head out for a walk around your neighborhood and admire all the festive Christmas lights. But if the winter weather is too chilly for an outdoor stroll, take a look at exercise routines online. There’s an endless number of fitness bloggers with follow-along videos that don’t require any special gym equipment to get you sweating in your living room in no time.

Cook a Childhood Recipe

Making a fancy Christmas day feast might be stressful, but cooking a comforting meal from childhood is a great way to practice self care during the holidays. If you make the meal just for yourself, ingredient costs will be low and the nostalgia associated with that food will encourage a relaxing night venturing down memory lane. Plus, it’s likely you’re eating out a lot while you shop for presents or meet coworkers for festive drinks—staying in to cook will drastically cut down how much you spend on food this month. Just pick up the phone, call mom or dad, and have them email you the recipe for that delicious meal you always requested on your birthday as a kid. There’s nothing more satisfying than a home cooked dinner!

 

Tis the season for stress, but don’t let an endless to-do list get you down. With these inexpensive self care tips in your back pocket, you can take some much needed “me time” in between all the parties to relax and reflect on the wonderful year you’ve had.

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