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As the holidays are quickly approaching, we can often get caught up in finding the perfect gift for others, baking the perfect pie, or visiting family members. But the holiday season is a great time for you to focus on yourself, and to find time for selfcare. So, in this blog, I am going to talk about building a selfcare routine so you can take time for yourself!

Having a selfcare routine is important because it can help provide you with a constant, reliable time to relax and take care of your needs. This can help lower your stress levels and help you feel ready to take on the day, while feeling your best. 

Perhaps my favorite part of self-care is skincare, so I’ll focus on that the most. While it is very important to embrace yourself and your skin with flaws and all, skincare can help give you that glowing boost to make you look and feel like your best self. If you are new to skincare, here are some tips I used when building a skincare routine.

Use a facial cleanser twice a day. When you wash your face in the morning, it can help you feel refreshed and any dead skin or products you put on your face from the night before will be washed away. It’s important to wash your face before going to bed so that bacteria, dirt, and oil don’t stay trapped on your face all night! For acne-prone skin, look for salicylic acid in a cleanser, for dark spots, look for a niacinamide cleanser, and for dry skin, look for hyaluronic acid. 

Find a good moisturizer. Many skin issues can come from having a weak moisture barrier. If your moisture barrier, the outermost layer of your skin, is damaged, your skin may feel dehydrated, suffer from bacteria buildup, and sun damage. Any moisturizer that is oil free and contains ceramides, a type of waxy lipid, should help keep your skin healthy. For acne-prone skin, look for lightweight moisturizers made for oily skin.

Build with serums. Serums are lightweight and great for focusing on individual skin needs. A vitamin C serum helps give you that lit-from-within glow. AHA and BHA exfoliant serums help buff away the top layer to get rid of dead skin cells, and provide a new, refreshed look. Retinol serums help treat and prevent those fine lines we all get while we are scrunched over our math homework. Collagen serums help to tighten loose skin. But: you need to be careful with the serums that you use. Too many harsh acids on your face can have the reverse effect of what is intended and destroy the top layer of skin, leaving rashes, dryness, and the perfect opportunity for bacteria to invade.

Use sunscreen! Exposure to strong UV rays can lead to a host of issues later in life, like skin cancer and moles. Sunscreen creates a shield for your skin, so the sunlight can’t penetrate the deep layers of skin. While some may envision sunscreen to be the white goop we put on only at the beach, sunscreen comes in a variety of forms, and even in makeup! You can also use a moisturizer with SPF in it!

But, you might be asking, how does a skincare routine connect to my mental health?

A daily skincare regimen helps boost your emotional health. By keeping your appearance healthy, this promotes a greater feeling of self-appreciation and confidence that can lower stress levels and start you off on the right foot each day! A consistent  routine is a great thing to have in times of uncertainty and an ever-changing world.

Besides a skincare routine, there are some other tools out there that can really bring up your mood during the winter months and the hectic holidays.

Candles. Candles are a great way to set a relaxing mood and when your limbic system in your brain relaxes, it can release happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine, regulating your mood and helping you relax. 

Walks. A quick walk in the brisk winter air always helps me refresh my mind, as being outside in nature for a little bit always brings a smile to my face. Exercise is always good for your brain!

Weighted blankets. Weighted blankets have become very popular in the past years for the many benefits they provide. The pressure on a body reduces cortisol, a stress-causing hormone, and helps release melatonin for sleep. The weighted blanket mimics the feeling of a giant hug, which some people may like, because sometimes we miss those who we have lost or aren’t able to see more during the holiday season. 

Hope you enjoy these tips for a great self-care routine and mood-boosting ideas!

The holiday season can be difficult for some. If you or someone you know is struggling with some tough thoughts or feelings during the holidays, reach out. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is here for you, 24/7/365 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).