13 Ways to Reward Yourself During the Holidays in 20 Minutes or Less

13 Ways to Reward Yourself During the Holidays in 20 Minutes or Less


If the Hallmark Movie channel is any indication, the holiday season brings excitement and anticipation, regardless of one’s religion, age or weather. Yet the holiday season also brings anxiety and stress; so many events on the calendar, besides a family’s regular schedule (WHY ARE THEIR BASKETBALL GAMES AT 8 PM ON A FRIDAY IN DECEMBER?). Office holiday parties are fun but that one person might be there, and they are going to drink a lot. Or maybe you will drink a lot and have to work at 7 a.m. the next day.

And that’s not to mention the gift shopping and wrapping, card writing and addressing (and stamping!), and family from out of town.

Don’t let your yule turn into yuck. We’ve got 13 ways you can reward and recharge yourself this holiday season, in 20 minutes or less. Set your Time Timer to 20 minutes and make yourself do it. The timer isn’t to limit your time but to keep you honest about spending 20 entire minutes on yourself in this busy season. 

  1. Read your favorite magazine. We won’t judge. Don’t subscribe? Find it online through your library or take the 5 minutes to find one at a nearby gas station. And then maybe add 5 extra minutes for yourself.
  2. Put your phone on airplane mode for 20 glorious minutes of quiet. I’m writing this on an airplane. Before we took off, a colleague told me to “enjoy being disconnected.” Honestly, I don’t enjoy it, but I’m getting a lot done in between my son’s complaints about being hot. And maybe you do enjoy it. So do it.
  3. Light a candle or diffuse your favorite oil. Don’t light a candle to mask dog smell or diffuse an oil that fights germs. Fill your house with good aromas just because. With no necessary utility.
  4. Write in your journal (gratitude!) In November, we shared some of the benefits of displaying gratitude. You don’t have to take 20 minutes, but you just might want to. Be grateful for what you already have not what you can’t find for your kid’s Santa presents (because they’re only being sold by third-party sellers for a 500% markup).
  5. There are apps for this.
  6. Call a friend. Talk to them. On a phone. Have a need to multi-task? Dust your living room.
  7. Express manicure. Do you feel better when you look better? Go reward yourself with an express manicure. It’s cheaper, and you don’t have to feel guilty about time wasted. While you’re there, pick up a gift card for a friend who really needs one.
  8. Turn on your favorite holiday music and enjoy a cup of coffee/hot chocolate in a Santa mug.
  9. Watch Hulu videos. You can’t get through an entire episode of much of anything in 20 minutes. If you watched something commercial-free and skipped the song and any episode recap, you could ALMOST make it.
  10. Go ahead and plan, but only if it makes you feel relaxed. Find that cookie recipe.
  11. Stretch, or do a few exercises.
  12. Take a hike, or take the dog for a walk.
  13. Get a chair massage or use a heated neck wrap for 20 minutes. 

Remember, these are rewards, not another to-do for your growing list. So think about what would make you feel good, and make it something you can do easily.


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