In preparation for Christmas, instead of doing a typical Advent calendar, I wanted to do a self-discovery series of self love and relationship-building-themed activities. Instead of only doing 24, I’m doing a whole 25-day countdown! I thought it would be fun to have something special to do on Christmas day. I was not sure whether or not this should be called “25 Days of Self Love” or just “25 Days of Love.”
The idea was inspired by, my favorite person, Amanda’s birthday gift to me. She gave me this book that has cute little activities you can do when you’re feeling stressed. You can get the book here:
This giving season, it’s really easy to forget to take care of ourselves. Putting our happiness first sounds really selfish but it’s important because giving is not easy when the heart is not full.
To me, Christmas is all about family and nurturing relationships. I wanted to encourage everyone to look around and remember how loved you are. Even though at times, it feels like you’re fighting your battles alone, you are surrounded by people who root for you. Make time to bond with them and remind them that they are important too.
Ultimately, I went with the title “25 Days of LOVE.” Although it’s mostly self care activities, you can most certainly grab a loved one to enjoy these activities with. It’s designed to be mutually beneficial.
We become so tangled up in our own mess that we forget how important human interaction or having a deep connection with someone is. So, go out there and talk to your friends or loved ones. Be vulnerable, it’s so liberating! It’s really not that scary, I honestly think being vulnerable is much more courageous than being a shut in.
This is an experience calendar. With all the stuff we’re wired to buy/receive this holiday, it’s 25 less things to accumulate. This one’s a gift for the soul.
If you have been following me on Instagram, you’ll see my stories from the last 2 days. My best friend asked me what’s for day 3 and if I have a list available. So far, I’ve been spontaneous about it and have been thinking of the activities on the fly. I think having a list will make it go smoother. So here it goes:
Day 1: Hug someone you love!
When we hug someone, our body produces oxytocin a.k.a the “love hormone.” It promotes the feeling of trust, calm and nurturing. Here’s an article that outlines the benefits of hugging. It reduces stress, gives comfort, may help protect you against illnesses, boosts heart health, reduce your fears and it can make you happier.
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”Virginia Satir, family therapist
Day 2: Watch a feel-good movie under a fuzzy blanket
We live in a time where we can watch movies at home on demand. Staying in is such a treat as an adult. Movie nights at home are so relaxing so clear your schedule for an hour. Sit down and watch a movie, don’t think about anything else. Grab a friend or a loved one to watch it with.
I am one of the millions of people who absolutely loved Ariana Grande’s Thank you, next music video and remembered how much I loved the movies in that video. I ended up rewatching Legally Blonde on YouTube yesterday and it was amazing. Elle Woods is my hero. No matter how mean everyone was to her, she was always so nice and gave them kindness in return. She proved that first impressions aren’t always true. Also of course, because she’s so extra and I just love that about her (LOL).
Day 3: Paint your nails
Ah! I just love freshly painted nails. I feel so confident and fabulous. I also find that painting my nails give me such peace of mind. It’s even better when you get it done with a friend! Whether you do it at home or get it done at the salon, try to relax and enjoy. Here’s a challenge, try to choose a holiday color! I’m excited to see what you choose. Post a pic on Instagram or Facebook and add the hashtag #25daysoflove so I can see it. Will be reposting them on my stories.
Day 4: Purge your closet
Go through your closet. Donate whatever you think hasn’t been used in the last 6 months and you don’t see yourself using it in the next 3 months. It’s a great practice on letting go of things you love yet know it will be better with someone else who needs it more. Decluttering is so liberating and makes you look forward to new beginnings. Make space for future fabulous styles.
Day 5: Make someone smile/laugh
Bring joy to others! Compliment someone, make a joke, make a silly face. Try anything to make someone smile today. Extra points for making them laugh!
Day 6: Wear your favorite color
I love wearing neutral colors for my everyday style but when I’m feeling down, I dress up and wear pink. It just somehow puts me in a better mood. So for this day, try wearing your favorite color loud and proud!
Day 7: Wear your coolest shoes
Do you have those pretty boots that you keep in your closet for special occasions? Well, make a point to wear it out today! Step in those fabulous shoes and feel how lucky you are to have them. Treat yourself!
Day 8: Make a list of people who are important to you
Try to think of at least 20 people. Write their names down as they pop in your head. Your brain will prioritize them as they come to you. You’ll be surprised to see the level of importance they have in your life as they appear on paper. This is a great exercise to figure out who your main support system are and a great mindfulness exercise to appreciate them.
Day 9: Tell someone you appreciate them
Like I said, being vulnerable is so liberating. Don’t be afraid to tell someone how much you appreciate them. Reach out to the top 5 people on your VIP list from day 8 and show them you care. Tell them what you appreciate about them the most.
Day 10: Read old letters or messages
I have a box of love letters from my husband when we were dating. We used to write each other a letter every month to remind our future selves what it was like to live in our dating years. Letters or messages serve as a time capsule to remind you what life was like and how it compares to now. What major changes happened from the time the letter was written to now? How do you feel about this change? Do you regret anything? What did you learn from it? How do you want to proceed with your relationships in the future? Remember to be grateful for this experience: good or bad.
Day 11: Pour yourself a glass of wine
Pop that cork, put down your devices, pick up a relaxing hobby that you’ve been putting off. What’s your favorite relaxing activity? You can read a book, draw, listen to music, play music, organize, decorate, etc. As long as you’re not on social media or working, you’re in the clear! Enjoy that wine.
If drinking alcohol isn’t for you, make a cup of hot chocolate, tea, warm cider, etc. Enjoying a warm drink is also very relaxing.
Day 12: List your worries and fears
Ok this sounds negative but in the next few days it will make sense. I want you to list exactly what you are worried about so that you can confront it. You’ll know exactly what to do when you have all your variables. List your problems and your fears. It will help you see what you’re dealing with. Knowing is half the battle!
Day 13: List your proudest moments
Now this is going to be a booster from yesterday’s activity. A contrast from all your listed fears are things that you’ve already accomplished. It will remind you what you’re capable of and inspires you to take action. You are not completely hopeless! Don’t let your fears take over your life. Your worries will be nothing but a memory once you accomplish it. Set your mind to it and remember to rejoice in the little victories of everyday.
Day 14: List your favorite memories
Take the time to really list at least 10 of your favorite memories. Start thinking of memories from this year and then look beyond that. It’s incredible how the small moments can mean so much to us.
Day 15: Look back through your photo library
When I don’t have internet, I go on my photo library and just look through all the photos I took on my phone. It’s another way to remember times that made me want to capture that moment. It always makes me smile and realize I’ve lived all those days.
Day 16: Eat your favorite food
Food is really a comfort to the soul. I feel happiest when I’m eating! My ideal self treat is to allow myself to eat my favorite foods in a day. I love donuts, Korean fried chicken, wonton soup, ramen, pho, etc. Event thinking about them makes me happy! Go give yourself a treat today. This activity is better shared with someone so go grab a friend.
Day 17: Cook a fancy dinner
Nothing like cooking a real home-cooked meal, right? I feel so accomplished after following a recipe through. I really enjoy cooking with my husband because we get to spend time in the kitchen together. It’s a nice way to make memories, plus you get food at the end of it. Win-win-win!
Day 18: Light a holiday-scented candle
AH! Setting the vibe is so important. Smelling the nostalgic scents helps me remember all of my favorite holiday memories. It puts me in such a good mood. I just love it. I usually put Christmas Jazz on my music app and just sit there while I lounge around. So relaxing. Try it.
Day 19: Bake something
Ok, this sounds scary to some but thankfully, pre-mixed cake/brownie/cookie boxes are a thing! Trust me, it will feel really gratifying to bake something. At the end of it, you get to enjoy some dessert made with love. Plus, you get to share it with everyone.
Day 20: Enjoy a relaxing bubble bath
Need I say more? Stay in, play relaxing music and just let go of all your stress for an hour. If you don’t have a tub, enjoy a long relaxing warm shower.
Day 21: Put a face mask on
Put a face mask in the fridge for 15 mins. and apply to your face after you wash it.
Day 22: Have a dance party
Stay in, play a fun song and dance freely. No judgements, no pressure, just move. Jump around if you want to. Did you know that dancing has real health benefits? Dancing releases feel-good endorphins and reduces your cortisol levels (stress hormone). Read about this inspiring story about a girl who was saved by dancing here.
Dancing may also be good for your mood. It has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress and boost self-esteem, body image, coping ability, and overall sense of well-being, with the benefits lasting over time. In one study, it even helped control “emotional eating” in obese women who eat as a response to stress.BerkelyWellness
Day 23: Start your day with a motivational video
You don’t have to watch it, just play it in the background. I can’t tell you enough how these videos have helped me get things done or inspired me to do something I’ve been putting off, like this blog. It’s a good reminder that you just have to believe in yourself and in your goals. Go on YouTube and just type “inspirational stories” or “motivational speech.” You can start with this one:
Day 24: Think of 10 goals for 2019
After listening to a motivational video, I bet you’re pumped. Really think about what you want to accomplish next year. Whether it’s a big or small goal, write it down.
Day 25: Write a letter
Write your 2019-self a letter. Write down what your hopes/dreams are for next year and if there’s an advice you’d like to give yourself in the future. Remember to note all your accomplishments for this year in the letter so that when you read this a year from now, you can look back on all the amazing things you’ve done. When you read this letter next year, I hope that you’ll make your past self proud. This is setting accountability for all your goals from day 24. Set a reminder on your phone to read the letter for next year and a description of where you hid your letter.
Write someone a letter. If there’s someone you wish to thank for being in your life this year, write them a letter. Tell them why you’re grateful. Write an actual message. Don’t cheat by buying a card and signing your name at the bottom. Actually write someone a letter. Got it? This is to make sure you remember to pass on the love. Have fun!
Remember that it is all about taking care of what matters first: yourself and your loved ones. The rest will fall into place. I hope that you too, feel that way at the end of this series. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #25daysoflove so I can see how you’re taking care of yourself this season!