With November comes a stream of Christmas gift shopping, all in the hopes of making your loved ones smile during the holiday season.

Did you know that the average Brit spends over £1000 on Christmas, with over £300 alone being spent on presents for friends and family! Whilst buying other people gifts is a great way to give back and show your loved ones how much they are appreciated, it is important to show yourself some appreciation too with a little bit of self-care!

Contrary to popular belief, self-care isn’t about becoming self-obsessed and egotistical. Self-care is the practice of accepting yourself for all that you are and recognising your daily accomplishments by treating yourself with respect and doing things that make you happy. 2020 has been a challenging year for us all and we deserve to celebrate our strength in getting through this strange time and staying strong despite all the uncertainty.

Self-care looks different for everyone. For some, it means sitting in a bubble bath with a glass of wine. For others, it might mean going for a long walk on a beautiful winter day. Self-care is the best gift you could give yourself this Christmas and will definitely help you to move away from stress and welcome in the New Year with a positive mindset.

This year, many people have found themselves giving extra care and support to vulnerable family members or friends because of the pandemic.

Caring for others can be incredibly rewarding but also very tiring, especially for those who have to hold down full-time jobs! As things remain uncertain for the foreseeable, it may be time to give yourself a well-deserved break and treat yourself with a staycation. Travelling abroad is not an option at the moment, but the UK plays host to some beautiful escapes that will definitely offer you the self-care that you need, whether it be over the festive period, or in the New Year. From heading to the coast, to exploring a new city - you can find all kinds of exciting trips right here in the UK. Getting away from your local area, and having a change of scenery and routine, may be the best way to release stress and completely unwind.

Another great way to escape the day-to-day routine and appreciate the amazing person that you are is to exercise.

For many, exercise may seem like the furthest thing possible from self-care but, if you take the time to find something that feels great for you, it can really help to boost your confidence and, most importantly, keep yourself healthy! In the current situation, exercise also gives you a good reason to take a break from work and get yourself outside!

Fresh air is good for both the mind and body. If you’re lucky enough to live near a green space, there are many types of exercise that can be done outside. Running, walking, Yoga and HIIT are all popular with many fitness enthusiasts and can all be done with no equipment - just an outside space. If you would prefer to move around inside, you could try online classes. Not only will this keep you fit, but online classes will also give you a chance to socialise outside of your bubble within a community of like-minded people who are also practicing self-care.

At Christmas time, we all try our best to give generously to others and to be charitable with our actions. However, there is no harm in spending money on yourself as well!

Retail therapy is a great act of self-care that you should definitely try this holiday season. Spending time revamping your style and buying clothes that make you feel confident is one of the best ways to boost self-esteem and keep yourself feeling motivated through the hard work that you are currently doing. You deserve to buy yourself lovely things and should not feel guilty for doing so. Black Friday is a great opportunity to grab some amazing deals that will make your shopping experience even more successful.

Self-care is the best way to improve both your mental and physical health this Christmas, and is the best gift you could give to yourself.

During this difficult and busy time, it is very important to keep your mind and body healthy so that you can be ready to take on whatever the New Year will bring!

You can start practicing self-care right now by looking into a mirror and thanking yourself for your hard work, strength, kindness and health. Doing small acts of self-care each day will boost your mood and give you the gift of happiness that you truly deserve!

If you're an adult carer living in Gateshead, you might be eligible for a grant from the Carer Wellbeing Fund. If you're a young carer, you can apply to the Young Carer Wellbeing Fund.

Lily is a freelance writer and a passionate advocate for mental health. From a young age, Lily volunteered her time at local care homes, to help provide some companionship, and was inspired by the dedicated staff she met. When Lily isn't writing, you can find her getting stuck in to a book, or walking in the countryside with her dog Griffin.

Yougov report on British Christmas spending
Just Go Holidays
Your Self-care Action Plan