The idea of relaxing during the busy holiday season seems bizarre. Right now soap makers and small business owners are working hard to get orders out the door.
However, it’s important to take care of yourself now more than ever – even if that means 5 minutes of relaxing in front of a fire before wrapping and labeling soap. We asked makers on Instagram for their best self-care tips. Find their advice below.
Kelly, Madalmy Soap Company
When I’m making holiday orders, I like to make a special batch just for myself in a favorite scent, or a new one. Some of my current favorites are a Kentucky Bourbon sugar scrub or a Cocoa Butter Cashmere soap. And when they turn out well, you also have a few extra special gifts for the other people who need a little pampering in your life. Finding little “feel good” moments throughout the day helps me to feel relaxed overall.
Madalmy Soap Company's Sweet Vanilla Bourbon Soap
Julie, Ophelia’s Soapery
It seems that no matter how much we prepare, we’re never ready. I try to pace myself and not get overwhelmed. When that does happen (and it usually does) my family steps in and helps me. Another thing I think helps is I’ll set a time to stop for the day - 5 p.m. rolls around, I’m clockin’ out. It’s not going anywhere, everything will be there the next day. :)
Meagan, Avery Grey Soapery
For me, I have to sneak in my self-care. My husband works away from home for two weeks every month, and being a work at home mom with two young kids, things get pretty hectic. I love face masks because you can put one on while you’re doing other things like cooking dinner, or helping with homework. And if everyone gets to bed on time (which isn’t a common occurrence lol), I like to treat myself to a soak with a bath bomb or bath salts and one of my favorite soaps! A soak is also the perfect time to catch up on a book you haven’t had time for. There’s nothing like relaxing your mind and body at the same time!
Curtis, Haus of Hygiene
I love to indulge in a lovely bath made from my own products or from other small businesses! Throw in a bath melt, a bubble bar, or even a bath bomb and relax with some candles and soothing music! As small business owners we constantly want others to be pampered and for them to treat themselves, but need to remember that we need to treat ourselves as well!
Also I feel like taking a relaxing bath/shower full of amazing products helps me become re-inspired and a lot of new ideas come to me while I’m relaxing and not trying to force creativity!
Haus of Hygiene’s beautiful bath bomb
Zahida, Handmade in Florida
I got a little chuckle when I read this…self-care and relaxation during the holidays?!? Then I realized that there ARE some things I enjoy doing during the holidays that fall under these categories:
#1 Movies! Going to the movies has always been a fun escape for me, I especially love all the feature films that are released over the holidays. It’s also a great way to squeeze in 90 min. of rest and relaxation with friends and/or family.
#2 Audio Books. I love reading, but don’t always get the chance to sit down, undisturbed, and enjoy a good book (especially around the holidays!) Audio books help fill that gap.
#3 Travel. While it isn’t always feasible to just get up and go, particularly during busy seasons, it is one of my most favorite ways to relax, recharge, and enjoy life. We try to explore as much as possible, even if it’s just a weekend road trip. Truth be known though, one of my fondest Christmas memories was sailing the Western Caribbean with my family. We left after wrapping up our holiday restock…it was smooth sailing from there!
Linda, Mimi and Boo
My idea of relaxing involves doing something other than work (soap!) Relaxing falls into 2 categories for me: things I do by myself and things I do with my husband and son. This summer I decided to teach myself to draw and paint watercolours, so this is what I’ll be doing in my downtime. I read lots too. I try to fit in a walk every day (40 mins. to 1 hour) so that gives me some headspace. We live in the countryside so walking as a family is a regular activity and that’s quite relaxing. We have lots of footpaths that go through/by fields, woods, hills, the river… We joke that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes and off we go, lol! So I’m not sure if I have any real tips but I’d say that for me it’s a mixture of doing something that stills my mind & doing things we enjoy as a family!
Jackie, Erie Handmade
I’d say definitely scheduling “me time.” For me, that’s a bubble bath with a good book. For others, maybe baking, crafting (ok, that’s me, too), dinner with friends, etc. And making sure it actually happens! It’s easy to let the business of the holiday time overwhelm you, so schedule that “me time” and enjoy it, guilt free!
Erie Soap Company’s Bubble Bath Scoops
Margaret, Sweet Soft Skin Handmade Soaps
If your hobby is cold process soap, you can’t make more for the holidays past a certain date as they won’t cure in time. I like that because it helps me kick back and enjoy the time. You only have packaging and handling orders to deal with, so take extra time to do holiday things and if you can’t live without soaping, make stuff that is just for fun! It is also a good time to teach kids how to make things that fall within their ability level for them to give as gifts. They love making and giving! Make gifts and memories together. Also have a done by date and make sure to take time off to enjoy things after that day.
Cornelia, Flora & Pomona
So I thought a lot about this, and my first response was “why, I have a bath of course!” Because these days in my life baths are a real luxury and what else can a soap maker say? But if I think about it, the real thing I do for myself during the holidays, or any time when the demands are higher, is to cut myself some slack in the guilt department. As women, and perhaps mothers especially, we spend a lot of our time feeling guilty for what we don’t or can’t do. During the holidays I think we all feel a certain amount of pressure to create that holiday cheer by decking the halls so to speak. But meanwhile daily life still goes on, and maybe the business as well, and if you do one thing well, another thing suffers. It’s unavoidable in the end. So what I do is I get into all of things I love the most – gingerbread, Christmas movies, glogg, and spending time with the people I love – and I don’t – or try not to – worry about the rest. And maybe, if I have the time, have a nice long bath.
Simi, Muddy Mint Handmade Soap
In the winter months, the sun goes down early and I naturally retreat indoors. This, combined with the craziness of retail during the holidays, leaves me feeling a little down and stressed out. I’ve found that fire is a fantastic alternative to the sunshine I’m lacking in the winter. You can find me keeping warm and crocheting by the fire nearly every winter evening. Since installing our wood stove a few years ago, I even find myself looking forward to the coldest days! Of course, you don’t need a fancy wood stove. A simple candle with dinner (or even breakfast!) can really boost your mood. With the dry Colorado air, winter wreaks havoc on my already dry skin. I drink a lot of water and use thick moisturizing body butters all winter long. I’m loving the combination of peppermint and lavender this season, as the lavender makes me feel calm, while the tingly peppermint is invigorating. It’s a great mix for the holiday season when you want to be both relaxed and energized!
Simi relaxing by the fire
Jolene, Scent and Sensibility Inc.
I like to start the day by setting aside 10 to 15 minutes to think about the day I have before me. I like to do this in the morning before I turn on my phone or/and check my emails. This 10 to 15 minutes helps ground me. As I inhale in the scent of my favourite beverage in the morning – coffee! Writing it down helps to organize my thoughts and prioritize the to do list. Taking a bath and giving yourself some me time helps too! In the afternoon… I like to drink a cup of tea, especially if my day is hectic. Tea contains lot of antioxidants and drinking it helps with our immune system, especially when we are overwhelmed.
Nora, Nora’s Soap Shoppe
As the holiday season is approaching, and as busy soap makers we are during this time, we have to remember to take some time out for ourselves. I love to take time each day to reflect on myself and revitalize. It may be a brisk walk I’m after or a warm bath with some of my favorite handmade pampering bath products. This helps me focus on what’s most important in my day-to-day life.