With Christmas and New Year right around the corner, many of us are starting to shop for holiday gifts. I keep thinking about what would make me and my loved ones happy and I have found myself scrolling through online catalogs or walking around aimlessly in the shopping mall. Bags, shoes, skincare, gift cards, food, drinks, you know the drill~ more often than not I focus on 'things to buy', which may not be things that make me or my loved ones happy.
I decided this year, 2019, would be different. I am going to focus on what creates happiness. After some reflection and soul searching I decided on these 5:
There is time for work, there is time for rest but for some of us it is not easy to get a good night's sleep. If you often have trouble sleeping, get some sleeping aides this holiday. Some ideas to help you sleep better: herbal tea (lavender or chamomile works great, here is a guide to choose herbal tea), candles, diffuser and essential oil for sleep, eye mask, soft linen/soft toys, relaxation or sleep app subscription.
2. Mindfulness and Therapy
Things are a lot better with a clear mind. To give ourselves the gift of a clear mind, we can set up a meditation habit, sign up to yoga membership (which I did last year and it's really a gift that keeps on giving), go on a spiritual journey, or show up to therapy. Therapy can sound scary or even unnecessary at first, but if you find yourself repeating some negative thought patterns, it's worth a try because the benefits could be life changing. If you live in Hong Kong, here is a helpful guide to find a therapist.
Moving your body is a free and all-natural way of combating stress and anxiety. If you have difficulty in sticking to an exercise routine, I would suggest signing up for gym or yoga subscription (which I did last year and it's really a gift that gives on giving!). Getting a fitness tracker is also a way to motivate yourself to move and walk more.
4. Love and Connection
No matter how much you want to believe you are a super human who does not need others, humans are undeniably social beings. Cuddling is stated to produce oxytocin, a natural mood booster, and endorphin, your body's own painkiller. So get that flight ticket to visit your loved ones, get a four-legged companion, or gather with people around you for some celebration this holiday.
Good diet helps us stay in shape and reduces risk of chronic diseases. But did you know it also promotes good mental health? There is increasing (yet limited) evidence behind food and mood connection, but intuitively we all know that better food creates better overall health. This holiday, how about challenging yourself to cook for yourself more often or opting for more nutritious diet full of fruits & vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein?
Bored with your job? Get a hobby. Problems in your personal life? Get a hobby. Lonely? Get a hobby. Having a hobby does not only help you clear your mind and magically makes time pass faster, but it may also be the gateway for you to discover hidden talents. 8 years ago, I decided to learn aromatherapy, and making DIY aroma goods became my hobby. Although my degree was in engineering, but it was my aromatherapy hobby that led me to become a startup founder. I hope you can also find a hobby that can transform your life.
This holiday season, let's spend our energy on things that create lasting value in our lives. So, what are you going to gift yourself this time?
About the Author
Hi! I'm Michelle, founder of Miscato Limited (Aromeo Diffuser), a wellness technology company. I'm from Indonesia and currently living in Hong Kong. Contact me any time for topics related to wellness, personal care and mental health. I'm always interested to exchange ideas and meet new people :)