Welcome back to another season of Cool Yule…where we celebrate everything wonderful about Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and the winter holidays.
Here are 30 self-care activities for every day in November. We all need to take extra good care of ourselves at this time. I invite you to download and print the November Self-Care tracker, which is aligned with these days to celebrate and self-care ideas.
Feel free to do the activities in any order you choose. The more you do, the better you will feel!
Fun, Safe and Free: Self-Care Activities in Northern Virginia in November
2020 Unplugged. For adults: Pick up a packet containing yoga, mediation and breathing exercises, calming coloring sheets, brain games to engage your mind, and trivia to test you from the Dolley Madison library in McLean, VA.
Make Your Own Greeting Cards (adults). Stop by at the Thomas Jefferson Library in Falls Church, VA and pick up a kit with blank cards, brush pens, and lettering practice sheets. Available November 1 – December 1.
Take ‘n Make: Mini Zen Garden Relax with your own Zen garden! Kits available from November 9 until supplies last at the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library.
U.S. Botanic Garden and WithLoveDC offer a free, 1-hour weekly meditation and yoga class every Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Space is still first-come, first-serve for the 100 people to log in. REGISTER: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4dI8s7GuRIiyvvHfgzYfIQ
Virtual Yoga for All Jennifer Eubank combines breathing, poses, mindfulness and meditation in this session. Mondays at 6:00 p.m. and Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m.
Gentle Yoga and Mindfulness An experienced Yoga instructor will combine Yoga and mindfulness into a flowing sequence to help recharge the body and calm the mind. Thursdays at 12:00 p.m.
Virtual Trivia Happy Hour Virtual trivia program will feature different categories for adults of all ages and bonus questions to test your trivia mettle. Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.
The Kennedy Center presents free “Arts Across America” live performances Monday – Friday at 4 p.m. Watch on Facebook Live or YouTube.
The all-virtual Alexandria Film Festival runs November 12 -15 and features 18 premieres.
Sunday, November 1
Today is All Saint’s Day. Daylight Savings Time ends today; set your clocks one hour back. Adapting to new times is an adjustment. Make it a relaxing Sunday and take a nap, if you need one.
Monday, November 2
Have you tried using affirmations? Affirmations are positive statements you make in the first person and are a form of self-care. Abundance affirmations help you appreciate all that is good in your life. I tape them in up on next to my bathroom mirror sometimes. Here is a simple one you can repeat.
Today is the Day of the Dead in Mexico (and elsewhere, where celebrated). In London, the courts will rule on the Johnny Depp libel case.
Tuesday, November 3
Today is Election Day. It is not a Federal holiday and banks will be open. It is believed we will not know the election results tonight. At least one half of the country will feel disappointed or disenfranchised and there will be collective anxiety. One way you can take care of yourself is to plan out your day to moderate your exposure to social media and news coverage. For example, instead of checking it frequently, assign yourself times when you will be online. Then distract yourself with an outdoor walk and doing other things you enjoy. Remember to avoid crowds during the pandemic. This too shall pass.
Wednesday, November 4
Today is Stress Awareness Day and I bet we will all be aware of our stress levels today! One way you can de-stress is with soothing scents. Smells are closely tied to our emotions and memory. Fortunately, autumn is chock full of soothing scents, like pumpkin spice, cinnamon and apple. Some other soothing scents to try are Lavender, Chamomile, Mint and Rosemary. I like to put the Aura Cacia essential oil roll on called “Chill Pill” on my wrists or spray their Relaxing Lavender spray on bed sheets. I have also put sliced lemon and dried rosemary in a large pot of water to simmer on the stove (this is great to inhale if you have a cold). Or drink a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea. Twinings Winter Blend is a lovely herbal tea containing chamomile, apple, cinnamon and cardamon.For more potent fragrance, light a pumpkin spice or apple-scented candle or burn some cinnamon incense.
Thursday, November 5
Donating is a form of self-care because it improves your sense of well-being and connection. Donate your gently used coats and holiday decorations to Goodwill. Goodwill provides job training, mentoring and employment for people with disabilities and people facing challenges.
Friday, November 6
Brrr…it’s getting chilly! How would you like to create a cozy bedroom?
You can add little white lights and string them like a canopy over your bed or along the walls. I have seen good deals on flannel sheets and some nice buffalo plaid blankets and comforters. And check out this Target spread for creating a contemporary fall bedroom. Just beautiful!
When you turn on the heat, you’ll probably want a humidifier in your bedroom…and a LOT of distilled water. I pick up a gallon or two each time I go to the store because, as you may recall, distilled water was hard to come by this spring. You can use regular water but distilled water prevents those cakey calcium deposits from forming on the heating element and the humidifier will work more effectively.
A humidifier keep your nasal passages moist while you sleep which helps prevent the transmission of respiratory viruses. So, it’s a great form of self-care in the cold months. They are indispensable for preventing or treating croup in babies. I like this one from Vicks. You can also lower the temperature in your bedroom (but not baby’s room) a few degrees at night, if you like, because the humidifier will make the air a little warmer.
And you know what else? It’s National Nachos Day.
Saturday, November 7
The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductions will air tonight on HBO. Have you thought about trying a new hobby this winter while we remain safer at home? There are inexpensive options. You can buy a skein of yarn and a pair of knitting needles or a crochet needle and make a hat! That will be my first project. What will you choose to do? Paints? Learn how to play the ukulele? Sewing?
There is a Nature Scavenger Hunt today at Green Springs Gardens in Alexandria, VA. $5.
Sunday, November 8
November is Native American month. Here is an authentic butternut squash soup recipe to try — it sounds delicious! You could use frozen butternut squash instead of fresh to save peeling and chopping.
Monday, November 9
It’s Mindfulness Monday! Today, take a mindfulness walk outdoors. The mindfulness aspect is that you are doing one thing only — no music, no cell phone conversation — simply clear your mind and take in the sights, sounds and smells of autumn on your walk.
Tuesday, November 10
Are you taking Vitamin D every day? Normally, I’d say you’d get most of the nutrients you need from a balanced diet. But as winter approaches, there is less sunlight. A lot of people are deficient in Vitamin D but that deficiency can lead to bone fractures and osteoporosis later. A bottle of 1000 mcg of Vitamin D costs less than $6 (Nature Made brand). Dr. Fauci takes it every day; there is evidence to support Vitamin D supplementation may reduce your risk of being infected with the corona virus.
Wednesday, November 11
Today is Veteran’s Day, a Federal holiday. Your bank will likely be closed today. The 54th annual Country Music Awards are tonight, hosted by Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker. Annnd….it is also Workout Wednesday! Here is an arm workout you can do at home.
Thursday, November 12
The pandemic has really hit the food banks hard. Check the websites of your local food banks and pick one to donate some canned food today.
Friday, November 13
Today is Friday, the 13th! It is also World Kindness Day. Given that we are in the midst of a pandemic, what do you think is the kindest thing you can do? That answer will be different for everyone but do this today. Here are loads of suggestions that hadn’t occurred to me.
Saturday, November 14
Ready for a Thanksgiving-themed movie? Yeah, that’s too bad. Because there is not one Thanksgiving movie out there I can honestly recommend. Not one! Maybe a Friends episode. Maybe just curl up with any old favorite movie you enjoy. There are some good Hitchcock movies that are free to watch on YouTube, like my favorite, Notorious.
Sunday, November 15
Today is the New Moon and it is also known as Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. That’s a good idea as you get ready for winter feasts. Home Depot explains how to do it.
Want to organize your refrigerator better? Ever since I bought these “Fridge Binz,” I am saving money because I can easily see what’s in my fridge and I know where everything is. Worth every penny in minimizing frustration, too! I purchased mine at the Container Store but I’ve seen less expensive versions at stores like Home Goods. And I bet you could engineer Dollar Tree baskets…maybe. But these hold up and they work great.
New Moons are good for setting intentions. Now that you’ve organized your refrigerator :), what else in your life needs atttention? What would you like the rest of November to look like? Reflect on this Sunday night, set your intentions and write them down.
Monday, November 16
It’s Mindfulness Monday! I love to color. It’s almost like meditatiing. Here’s an autumn leaf mandala for you to download (free) and color today. By the way, this is also my only child’s birthday. Happy Birthday, sweet boy.
Tuesday, November 17
It’s Take a Hike day! Hopefully, the weather will cooperate. Bundle up and get some fresh air so you can color in a turkey on your self-care tracker today. Or attend the library virtual program Finding Inner Peace and Calmness Through Meditation. Gerry Gorman talks about the journey of finding peace, happiness and a greater sense of wellbeing by applying simple meditation techniques. 12 p.m. Register.
Wednesday, November 18
It’s Workout Wednesday again! Since exercise is an important part of self-care, we really should try to do it at least once a week so we can color in our turkey! Head outside for a cool weather workout. How about ice skating at one of the many outdoor ice rinks in the area? Skate for an hour and you will burn 400 – 800 calories.
Thursday, November 19
Thanksgiving will be different this year. The CDC has issued guidance for pandemic-safe turkey day celebrations. New York City Mayor DiBlasio is urging people not to travel at all during the Thanksgiving holiday. Maintain those social bonds by sending beautiful Thanksgiving cards. Dollar Tree sells Hallmark greeting cards and they are 2/$1. There is nothing like getting a beautiful card with a heartfelt message of gratitude in the mail!
Today is also Beaujolais Day, International Men’s Day and the Great American Smokeout.
Friday, November 20
Music reduces stress so well, it really should be part of your Thanksgiving celebration. By now, the radio is playing Christmas music. But what about Thanksgiving music? Not to fret, here is a playlist of contemporary songs about gratitude. Or make your own playlist today for T-Day.
Saturday, November 21
In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,world leaders will attend the 15th annual summit of the Group of 20 economies.
The Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, VA opened on November 11. If you go see it today or before (with social distancing and masks), you may beat the crowds that will visit at Thanksgiving and thereafter.
Sunday, November 22
Today is Go for a Ride Day! Pile in the car and take in the electric holiday splendor of the Bull Run Festival of Lights, a drive through light display in Manassas, Virginia.
Monday, November 23.
The 48th annual Emmy Awards are tonight. It is also Mindfulness Monday. Here is a lovely guided meditation on gratitude for you to enjoy.
Tuesday, November 24.
A big part of your self-care plan for the holidays is understanding your boundaries and communicating about them (if needed). If you are spending Thanksgiving with loved ones, reflect on your boundaries and how you can, wordlessly or with love, ensure that they are honored by your family. For example, perhaps you want to have a discussion today with your children or family members about cell phones at the dinner table. Or maybe you need to be sure you carve out a little alone time for yourself every day. Think about what you need to feel happy and safe on this holiday.
Wednesday, November 25
The day before Thanksgiving is notorious for drunk driving accidents. You really don’t need that extra can of cranberry sauce, do you? Stay home and try this Thanksgiving-themed yoga workout, instead.
Thursday, November 26.
Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving can be an emotional time, laden with expectations and dashed hopes. And all of that is compounded with the pandemic. Allow yourself to feel all of your feelings — gratitude, loss, happiness, irriration. Try writing them down instead of sharing them aloud (and minimize your alcohol intake).
It can still be a joyous day, though! Take a walk with your loved ones, call all your relatives, play board games, cook, watch football, count your blessings and eat! You can also Zoom-share your dinner with loved ones. Even a solitary Thanksgiving can be meaningful (I should know).
Here are 24 ways to say grace at Thanksgiving.
Macy’s Day Parade
The 94th Annual Macy’s Day Parade will air on Thanksgiving Day from 9 a.m. to Noon on NBC, with some changes for the pandemic. People won’t be holding the balloons!
Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Sadly, a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will not be airing on broadcast television for the first time in more than 50 years. Apple TV has a monopoly on the Peanuts specials. You can’t even watch it on Amazon video. As of this writing, the DVD is out of stock at Walmart AND Target.
To which I say WHAT. THE. HELL!?!?
2020, you just get worser and worserer.
I don’t usually do this but desperate times call for desperate measures. If Apple wants to hijack an American tradition, they deserve what they get. People are uploading the program in pieces on YouTube. Here is the playlist. You can watch it right here 🙂
Make it a Healthy Day
Thanksgiving is about splurging but you can still save fat and calories.
Here is the football line-up for Turkey Day.
The Houston Texans plays the Detroit Lions at 12:30 p.m. (which is just too plain early for football). The game airs on CBS.
Washington (no longer the Redskins) plays their arch-nemesis, the Dallas Cowboys at 4:30 p.m. and God save us all. Watch on Fox.
The Baltimore Ravens battle the Pittsburgh Steelers at 8:30 p.m. You can see it on NBC.
Don’t Trot the Turkey
Please note: it’s traditional for Turkey Trot 5K foot races to be held today. The CDC considers participating in these crowded, outdoor races as a high-risk activity. Things must be really bad. So, avoid them. There will be other years for races!
Kiss Black Friday Goodbye in 2020
The CDC also recommends that people shop online and avoid entering stores and malls today and tomorrow. Read the CDC pandemic recommendations about Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Friday, November 27
Today is Black Friday. This is not the year to head to the malls, my dears. There will be loads of Black Friday deals online or you can choose to skip shopping altogether. One idea would be to order supplies ahead and make a gift or two for a loved one this year. Even little children can paint wooden boxes or frames.
You might think the museums will be empty on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. Or maybe you’re thinking about heading to the Kennedy Center because you think it will be a ghost town. Or maybe you’re thinking about popping down to Mt. Vernon.
WRONG. The museums are uncomfortably crowded on these days. Parking will be non-existent. It’s just about the worst time to go to any of these places, even when the pandemic isn’t happening.
I’d like to recommend the Christmas parades and tree lightings that are happening today and I get in a lump in my throat when I think about missing them. But I will not be going to them this year.
No, the best thing for all involved (particulary since drunk driving accidents also increase this weekend) is to stick close to home ane enjoy indoor and outdoor activities away from others. Plan ahead for extended togetherness! — buy some crafts materials to make Christmas ornaments, for example.
Saturday, November 28
Today is National French Toast Day! It’s the perfect day for a leisurely breakfast before NOT going absolutely anywhere. How do you like your French toast, with powedered sugar, maple syrup or both? French toast is also part of the delicious Monte Cristo sandwich. You could make a Thanksgiving version with some of that leftover turkey and cranberry sauce!
If you feel like venturing out…
Turkey Walk (4-Adult) Discover the wild turkey’s habits and secret ways during a walk in the cedar forest. Look for wild turkeys and their signs. The program at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park (Chantilly, VA) runs from 10 to 11 a.m. The cost is $6 per person. Children must be accompanied by an adult registered in the program. For information, call 703-631-0013.
Sunday, November 29
Today is the first Sunday in Advent, the beginining of the Christmas season. Even if you don’t celebrate Advent, it would be a nice evening to light some candles. If you head to Old Town Alexandria just before sunset, you can see the outdoor Christmas tree (or see the outdoor ones at Tysons Corner, Fairfax Corner or Reston Town Center, with social distancing).
Monday, November 30
Today is Cyber Monday, the official online Christmas shopping day. But….it’s has pretty much been Cyber Monday since March. But you might find a few bargains, if you need anything. Tonight is the full moon. The November full moon is known as the Beaver Moon. There will also be a penumbral lunar eclipse.