It’s Christmas week, and whether you celebrate Christmas or instead honor one of the other winter holidays, why not give yourself something nice this week. I’m pretty sure you deserve it. Because the best gifts don’t have to carry a hefty price tag — or any price tag, really — I want to offer you five ideas for totally free gifts you can give yourself, all in the spirit of trying something new and practicing meaningful self-care. Without further ado:

Have a news blackout

It seems like everyone I know — friends, family, clients, me — has been watching a lot more news than usual for the past several months, if not longer, and is a little (or a lot) stressed by it. I’m all for keeping up on current events as part of our civic duty (and, I’m a journalist as well as a dietitian, so there’s that). However, given that most of what’s in the news right now could be likened to a dumpster fire, taking a little time off from the news — via print, radio, TV and social media — may go a long way to helping to restore peace on your earth.

Try a new activity

With gyms and fitness classes a no-go, and the weather outside not always amenable to outdoor activity, why not try out some online fitness classes. Many of them offer free trials, so you can try before you buy (or try just for fun). Here are my five favorites:

  1. Barre3: i recently signed up for a year membership (there was a sale) after trying (and not liking) a different online fitness class. I’ve only been doing it for a few weeks, but so far, I love it…even when my legs are shaking from glorious effort. Free 15-day trial.
  2. Glo. I love this online service, which offers mostly yoga classes (that’s why I signed up), but has pilates and meditation, too. Free 15-day trial.
  3. Yoga International. I admit I have not tried this streaming service, which offers yoga and meditation classes, but I really, really want to. Free 14-day trial.
  4. The Become Project. I also have not tried this service, but I love, love, love that they are “body neutral and inclusive” (i.e., you’ll see different body types). The routines are a blend of pilates, yoga and dance, the movements are simple, and there’s one new routine per week, which many reviewers say is soothing. 10-day free trial.
  5. The Class Digital Studio. This one’s a little different, because the dance/fitness classes are live streamed 7 days a week from a studio in Tribeca NYC. Based on the trailer, it looks like this could be a good stress reliever! 14-day free trial.
Mellow your mind

While you’re trying on some streaming fitness classes for size, why not try on some calm? There are many meditation apps out there, but these are my three favorites, and they all offer free trials:

  1. Ten Percent Happier. This is my go-to meditation app. It offers guided meditations and mini courses from a variety of top-notch teachers. 7-day free trial.
  2. Headspace. This would be my go-to app if I wasn’t so enamored with #1. I actually started with Headspace, and many of my clients love it (I love it enough to maintain a paid membership even though I don’t use it all the time). 14-day free trial.
  3. Calm. While both of the above apps have meditations for sleep, if you really struggle with sleep, Calm might be a better pick. I’ve never had a paid membership (because, #1 and #2), but I’ve enjoyed their free trial previously, and I have a few clients who use and benefit from it regularly. There’s a free version of the app, but they also offer a 7-day free trial of their premium content.
Write yourself a permission slip

Give yourself permission for the holidays to be whatever you need them to be (but please stay safe).

  • Use this time time to enjoy some solitude, or plan lots of activities with household members (or video get-togethers with those outside your household.
  • Make favorite holiday foods, or skip it this year. (I’m making chicken enchiladas on Christmas day, which is not usually on the agenda.)
  • Curl up with a good book, or catch up on streaming shows (I finally started watching Schitt’s Creek).

If there’s ever a time to honor your needs (again, while staying safe), it’s now.

Tweak your holiday traditions (if you want to)

Related to #4, since the holidays are not going to look the way they usually do, why not make this year the year when you really look at what traditions you want to keep going forward, and which you would prefer to say “bye bye” to.

It’s so easy to get in the “but we always do it this way” rut, but this year has presented an opportunity to think outside the box. (I mean, sure, we’d rather not have been handed this “opportunity,” but we might as well get something out of this bizarro year.

Never have time to make holiday cookies? Make them this year! Really tired of making holiday cookies every year? Ditch them this year…and see how it feels.

Carrie Dennett, MPH, RDN, is a Pacific Northwest-based registered dietitian nutritionist, freelance writer, intuitive eating counselor, author, and speaker. Her superpowers include busting nutrition myths and empowering women to feel better in their bodies and make food choices that support pleasure, nutrition and health. This post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute individualized nutrition or medical advice.

Seeking 1-on-1 nutrition counseling? Carrie offers a 6-month Food & Body program (intuitive eating, body image, mindfulness, self-compassion) and a 4-month IBS management program (low-FODMAP diet coaching with an emphasis on increasing food freedom). Visit the links to learn more and book a free intro call to see if the program is a good fit, and if we’re a good fit!