Holiday Self- Care Tips

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Dear Friends,

As November draws to a close and the holidays begin rushing upon is, it is really easy to become bogged down with the stresses and pressures that the holidays bring. The holidays are my absolute favorite time of the year because giving gifts to friends and loved ones is one of my favorite things to do. Does anyone else get super giddy when you are watching a loved one open up the perfect gift?!

However, over the holidays a lot of us unknowingly give so much of ourselves without taking time to take care of ourselves and our mental health. Last year, by the time Christmas rolled around I was so run down and depressed that I was not able to fully enjoy the love and joy that surrounded me. So this year, I have been implementing some changes and I already feel so much happier and healthier. So if you are not sure how to relax and take care of yourself this holiday season or even if you would just like to gather a few new ideas on self-care, stay tuned for my favorite ways to relax over the holidays!

  1. Taking quality time to do things you love on your own– One of the best parts about the holidays is spending time with loved ones, however, everyone needs to take some time on their own to refuel and rejuvenate. One of my favorite ways of doing this is by curling up with a warm drink and a fantasy book(:
  2. Get active– Even if you aren’t a huge gym rat, spending time moving your body is an instant mood changer. For me, working out is my “me time”. It allows me to actually think while also getting an instant mood booster from the surge of endorphins. Even something as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood or sitting down for some relaxing stretches instantly improves my mood.
  3. Take a bath– Grab a bath bomb, a luxurious smelling bath oil, and sink down into a nice, long bath. It will help ease the tightness in your muscles and calm your heart rate for a better night’s sleep.
  4. Drive around and look at the Christmas lights– Nothing makes my heart happier than driving around and looking at the wonderful Christmas lights around my neighborhood. Grab some friends and family members and see who can find the most decorated house!
  5. Watch some corny, romantic Hallmark holiday movies– No matter how much we complain about how predictable they are, there is something that always pulls us in with Hallmark movies. Maybe it’s the predictability that we find so appealing. It is nice to know that no matter what, love is always going to prevail.
  6. Do an art project- It doesn’t matter how un-artistic you believe that you are, everyone can find a project that they will enjoy. Even if it does not turn out perfectly, it is nice to lose yourself in the joy of creating something all on your own. Try painting, or writing poetry, or making a holiday wreath; the possibilities are endless.
  7. Bake some holiday treats– You and your friends and family will love this one. If you love baking, try a new recipe that you have always wanted to conquer. If you are new to baking, try something simple that reminds you of your childhood. Plus, the yummy treats will warm you from the inside out.

These are just a few of my favorite ways to practice self-care over the holidays. Even if none of these interest you, the important thing is finding what kind of activities relax and revitalize you. Holidays are all about giving, but don’t forgot to take some time to take care of yourself too!

Wishing you a wonderful start to the holiday season!

The Traveling Brunette

Be Your Own Greatest Adventure

One of the hardest things I have ever learned to do (and am still learning every day) is how to love myself exactly as I am. It is so sad to see in our society today how hard it is for everyone to accept themselves. We are constantly bombarded by images and messages telling us how to change ourselves, how to be sexier, skinnier, more successful, etc. The whole point is a constant demand for MORE. And it is exhausting and discouraging if you listen to these messages because you start seeing yourself as unworthy and not enough. There is nothing wrong with wanting to change things about yourself, but the important thing is still loving yourself exactly as you are in this moment because you are fighting.

For a long time all of the relationships in my life were poisonous because I was relying on everyone else to give me the love that I wasn’t giving myself. And when you constantly tell yourself that you don’t deserve love, you will always push it away and you will lose people who truly do love you. Even if you think you don’t deserve the love someone is giving you, they think you do! So stop trying to deny it and just accept the abundance of love that surrounds you!

The journey to loving yourself may be the longest and hardest journey you will ever take but it is certainly the most important. Until you truly respect yourself, you won’t be able to confidently accept the love that others want to give you. I went so many years truly hating the girl that I was. In my head I wasn’t pretty enough, skinny enough, strong enough, etc. I was just never enough. So I buried deep inside myself, which didn’t work because I didn’t like who I was. I exhausted myself trying to please everyone because I couldn’t handle the fact that I wasn’t happy with who I was. And let me tell you, if you have a powerful negative self-image, it WILL start poisoning you. I started losing weight rapidly, I stopped sleeping, my relationships suffered, I developed debilitating anxiety and depression, and I just truly stopped possessing any joy in my life at all. The most important relationship in my life suffered because I believed I was unworthy of love and my insecurities led to jealousy and a desire for constant reassurance. One of the reasons I know I have met the love of my life is because he stuck by me through my absolute darkest times, despite how hard it was on him.

At the end of the day, loving yourself is the most important journey you will ever take. My journey started with the absolute hardest year of my life. I will always be on this journey but I am finally at a point where I have started accepting who I truly am and am actually being proud of being myself. I’ve stopped wishing to be someone else. I’ve started loving my body, encouraging myself, finding acceptance through genuine friendships, and taking all the steps to recovery. You are your own biggest adventure. No one else can be your everything. I’ve learned that. It was up to me to find the change and joy that I had been desperately searching for. You are never alone by any means, but you can never place the sole weight of your happiness on someone else.

So, find adventures. Travel to somewhere that scares you. Create memories. Take a bubble bath. Enjoy the brownie. Enjoy the salads, too. Wear what makes you happy. Dance to your favorite song. Blast the music in your car. Find your support system. Find your tribe and love them ferociously. And most importantly, be your own biggest adventure.

 

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Always and forever,

The Traveling Brunette

As You Wish…..

Halloween (October 31, 2017)- Kentucky

Although this blog has been primarily about travel, I also designed it to be about life and love as well. This Halloween, I was blessed with one of the biggest events in my life: my best friend and the love of my life asked me to marry him! The last couple of weeks since our engagement have been a whirlwind, but they have been the absolute best weeks of my life. Derek found the perfect way to propose that completely took my breath away and this Halloween will be completely unforgettable.

If you were not aware, this year is the 30th anniversary of the official release of The Princess Bride. And, if you are part of the majority of the population, you know that you can’t help but absolutely adore this movie. To celebrate, Derek and I decided to dress up as Westley and Princess Buttercup for Halloween and to hand out candy to children at his house. I was beyond excited because I was going to be a real-life princess for the night and there was lots of candy, so win-win. I had to buy my dress, but Derek absolutely blew my mind by putting together his costume all by himself! He looked amazing!

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On Halloween, I rushed over to his house after my last class of the day and quickly changed into my costume before the kids started ringing the doorbell. His family had set up amazing decorations the night before so we set up some chairs and the giant bowl of candy and waited for kids to arrive. It was a really cold night but I was having so much fun handing out candy in our costumes. A little after we had started, my sweet Derek asked his parents and his younger brother to take pictures of us in our costumes in front of the house. Silly me was smiling super wide for the pictures, but little did I know that Derek’s parents were recording us. In the middle of the pictures, Derek knelt down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I of course said yes and turned incredibly red because everyone was watching us. It was so amazing to see the video of the proposal afterwards and it is something I will always cherish.

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(Look at that sneaky ring box(: )

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Looking back at the photos, I can see where Derek was hiding the ring box in his hand during the first photos (sneaky boy haha). It was an absolute fairytale and I cannot wait to share our future adventures and travels with you as husband and wife!

 

Lots of love,

The Traveling Brunette