The holidays are over, yet somehow, you’re more stressed than ever. Your bank account is empty, your back muscles are an impenetrable knot, and your house is a mess. It’s time to focus on you. The below “gifts” are ones you should give yourself, to put your mind and body at ease and start the new year strong.
Gift yourself extra time by spending Sunday jotting down some no-hassle lunches and dinners for the week and doing the requisite grocery shopping. You’ll save time on weeknights when you’d rather be watching TV, and bonus: You’ll avoid the horrors of a soggy, tupperware-squashed lunch salad.
All this requires is forethought. Bookmark recipes during the week, then import the ones you want to make to a meal-planning app, which will spit out a grocery list. Shop on Sunday and make a few meals that day. I find that three big dinners last until Friday, with enough left for lunchtime leftovers. Plan to cook a few different, quick sides, so you can add variety to your meal rotation. Also stock up on staples like rice, sandwich supplies, and other quick-cook items like frozen fruits or veggies for smoothies. Make sandwiches and smoothies the night before, then pop them into your bag before you head out the door.
As painful as it seems, it’s worthwhile to give your phone a curfew. By banishing your phone — and really all electronic devices — from the bedroom, you’ll reduce your exposure to blue light, which has been said to suppress melatonin, which regulates sleep. And studies have shown that increased screen time before bed is linked to more time spent awake. Plus, you’ll avoid the temptation of checking your work email at 2am or when you first wake up. Believe me, that expense report (or insta-dog) can wait until you’re at your desk.
Taking care of yourself includes taking care of your face, too. And there’s no need for you to be walking around with ingrown hairs and razor-burned skin. To combat that, give yourself the gift of a better razor. Gillette’s razors sport progressive geometry, which positions blades to reduce irritation. Plus, their razors are designed to prevent clogging. The best part is, you’ll save money because their Fusion ProShield razor is engineered to last 20 shaves. Nothing beats the gift of a quality shave.
If you’re caught in a loop of insomnia-inducing nighttime anxiety, your best bet is to get up and get something done. It sounds counterintuitive, but when you’re tossing and turning, your body views your bed as a stressful space. Escape that loop and go take a walk or drink a glass of water. You can also try something meditative but distracting like light cleaning, listening to a podcast, or reading.
Dropping a few hundred dollars on a massage or spa day is tempting, but it’s not always worth it. Instead, as Lifehacker suggests, save money by relaxing from the comfort of your own bathroom. First off: Clean your tub. Nothing’s more gross than bathing in a month’s worth of hair clumps and grime. Use some citrus and salt, or try an oven cleaner for heavy-duty de-griming.
Next, make (or buy) a bathroom caddy that can hold a glass of wine, your book, and other knick-knacks. Dim the lights or light some candles, and turn on some soothing sounds. You can find music that’s specifically made for relaxation or, if you want rainforest or ocean noises, download a free soundscape app. Lastly, spice things up with some homemade bath bombs, salts, or oils.
Nandita Raghuram is a Senior Writer at Studio@Gizmodo. She tweets here.