Unwind With Me—A 7-Step Evening Routine to Stay Calm This Holiday

The holidays are filled with countless magical moments. Throughout November and December, opportunities abound to connect with family, friends, and loved ones. But between the prep, presents, and playing host for two months straight, our efforts to stay balanced and aligned often fall by the wayside. Our answer? Prioritizing the “pause” in those moments between all the hectic, hurried tasks that demand so much of our time.

During this season when we often default to a fast-paced flow, slowing down and savoring that space between the busyness is the ultimate opportunity to recharge and and restore. And sure, we may have our morning routines on lock, but I’d argue that a nighttime wind-down is just as important—if not even more so.

A Relaxing and Restorative Holiday Nighttime Routine

We teamed up with Haven Well Within to help you curate a holiday nighttime routine that supports you best. This year, rather than gritting our way through a packed to-do list, we’re all about slowing down and embracing the calm. Because a joy-filled season is built on the small, but nourishing rituals that allow us to cultivate our inner peace amidst the busyness of it all.

But as we all know well, self-care routines can quickly become an over-the-top affair. (12-step skincare, an overwhelming gratitude practice—you get the gist.) In the spirit of simplifying, I’m sharing my holiday nighttime routine. My hope is that it inspires you to step away from your screens and embrace this truth: the holidays get to look and feel however you want. With that intention in mind, let’s dive in to the evening habits that keep me feeling grounded and calm throughout the holiday season.

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Take a Gratitude Walk

Think of this like the calm and serene older sister of the Hot Girl Walk. Sure, I love feeling inspired by a podcast or energized by music, but sometimes, a walk serves the purpose of helping me get quiet with myself and taking in the environment around me.

This is the perfect way to begin my holiday nighttime routine, as it helps me transition from a hectic workday to a restful evening. By taking a walk outside, you signify to your mind and body that you’re stepping into a new part of your day. As you walk, reflect on what may have filled your day with gratitude. Perhaps it’s your co-worker who always makes you laugh, or a particularly delicious lunch your partner prepped. Maybe it’s your ability to take this walk at all, and the beautiful moment you get to soak up.

Cozy Up Your Wardrobe

When the temps drop, I want to be wrapped up in the softest, coziest pieces possible. (Of course, that means all my favorite Haven Well Within picks.) This is true all throughout the day, but there’s nothing comfier than slipping into elevated sweats and socks that fit my chill vibe. And when cozy is the direction, we all know that can quickly turn into a college tee and leggings-we’ve-had-too-long ensemble.

My approach to loungewear is keeping the fit flattering and tailored while opting for materials like organic cotton and cashmere to ensure it stays as comfy as possible. To emphasize elegance, monochromatic looks are always an easy yes.

Light a Calming Fragrance

Candles are key in my holiday nighttime routine. I love those that evoke the scents of the season—vetiver, cedar, fir, and anything pine. And while I can appreciate vanilla, the fragrance can often lean too sweet and saccharine. I like to lean into candles that emphasize the natural turn of the season, and this Ember Candle does exactly that. There’s also something so wonderfully ritualistic about lighting a candle before cozying up in bed with a cup of tea. For ambiance, a go-to candle is always a must.

Wrap One Present

Gift wrapping can often be a source of stress during the holiday season. (Especially when you have a pile of presents to wrap up on Christmas Eve.) This year, I encourage you to take it one gift at a time—and to make the process as joyful as possible. Get your holiday gifting done early, and gather wrapping paper that makes you feel inspired and excited to bundle up every present. Light your candle, pour a little tea, and set the scene with a little holiday music. With only one present to wrap each night, it’ll be a relaxing and restorative part of your holiday nighttime routine.

Soak in a Hot Bath

I’m a bath-taker—simple as that. For me, showers serve a functional purpose, but baths are a blissful ritual and an opportunity for self-care. While an everything shower keeps my hair clean and legs smooth, baths are more of a moment to soothe my soul. Again, candles are a must, and bath salts that blend CBD with magnesium and lavender are my secret to experiencing full-body relaxation. Sometimes, I’ll bring my current read in with me. But I also love simply soaking away and enjoying this moment of relaxation and calm.

Nourish Your Skin, Head to Toe

Let’s get real: is there anything better than slipping into clean sheets after moisturizing every inch of skin? It’s not only one of my favorite parts of my holiday nighttime routine, but something I look forward to each day. After exfoliating and/or dry brushing, I replenish my skin by pairing a soothing body oil with an effective moisturizer. Particularly during the winter, when our skin is prone to dryness, lathering on the lotion and prioritizing products that offer deep hydration is a must. Nourishing ingredients like those featured in Vertly’s California Bloom Body Oil (hi—calendula flower, chamomile, sweet almond oil, and olive squalane), keep my skin happy all throughout the day. That’s the power of a restorative nighttime routine.

Make Bedtime a Ritual

A calming, soul-nourishing one at that. All throughout your holiday nighttime routine, the goal is to help you transition from the frenzied busyness of your workday to a serene state before falling asleep. When my insomnia was particularly bad, I made the mistake of watching a cortisol-boosting movie before getting into bed. Not ideal. Nowadays, I protect my bedtime at all costs, ensuring all screens are off well before my bedtime—usually an hour before falling asleep.

After I put on my pajamas and lit my bedside candle (I’m sure you can sense a pattern here… ) I love getting cozy with a book. And though I love a good, fast-paced narrative, I tend to reserve my evening reading for self-help books only. That way, I feel inspired, but I’m not caught up in an action-packed plot. And while reading may not happen every night, I’m adamant about jotting down my thoughts and reflecting on the day in my guided journal. Though I’ve committed to a journaling ritual for years, I’ve found that the Five-Minute Journal is an easy, accessible way to fall in love with the practice.

From there, I put on a silk eye mask—one that both blocks out light and provides a nice weight on my face. My silk pillowcases are also a nice touch of luxury that keeps my hair frizz-free and any wrinkles at bay. Trust me, they’re worth the hype.

Final Thoughts

A holiday nighttime routine should focus on quiet and simplicity. While we’re all for dropping the rules when it comes to celebrating this special time of year, we also acknowledge that carving out space to slow down and savor these treasured moments is so important. And yes, that applies to the parties with friends and evenings at the dinner table with family, but it also calls you to prioritize the time you spend alone. Remember: during this busy season when we give so much to others, know there’s importance—and really, a need—to connect with yourself.

15 Easy Butternut Squash Recipes to Cozy Up to On a Chilly Evening

We can all list the things that define fall. Apple picking, hot cider, pumpkin spice lattes of course, and a general sense of comfort to be found in it all. But more recently, butternut squash has taken center stage, and easy butternut squash recipes for everything from pizza to pasta dominate the season. Because there’s little that doesn’t pair perfectly with the star ingredients (goat cheese, arugula, ginger, and sage immediately come to mind), the options abound for enjoying the beloved oblong fruit in abundance.

To celebrate the many comforting meals we can all look forward to, I rounded up easy butternut squash recipes to help us navigate these chilly months. Whether they’re roasted, puréed, grilled, or stuffed—there’s a butternut squash recipe for everyone. It’s an easy way to have an incredibly satisfying and comforting meal that doesn’t feel overly indulgent. Get ready for all the warming, nostalgic scents and flavors you know and love.

15 Deliciously Easy Butternut Squash Recipes

It’s time to give the humble fruit the attention it so deeply deserves. Ahead, discover the absolute tastiest butternut squash creations we could find. And be sure to bookmark this list so you’re ready to go when the next craving hits! (Because it’s bound to soon.)

Butternut Squash and Ricotta Tart

Why We Love It: Try finding a prettier butternut squash recipe than this. Camille made this tart for Thanksgiving last year, and suffice it to say, the final result was a hit. The creamy ricotta base serves as an airy, but rich foundation atop which layers of sliced butternut squash, apples, and sweet potato swirl around. It’s mesmerizing to look at, and all the better to eat.

Hero Ingredient: Just a little honey is the perfect sweet complement to the fruity veg.

Butternut Squash Pizza With Arugula & Almond Ricotta

Why we love it: There’s something about a good pizza that bonds people together. It’s the perfect party food whether you’re feeding a crowd or it’s a party of one. And did we mention that this recipe has bacon bits? What bliss. It’s a delicious flavor combination that will keep you coming back for more.

Hero ingredient: The homemade almond ricotta is a deliciously plant-based alternative to the dairy-laden fave. It’s creamy and tangy, and way easier to make than it sounds.

“Creamy” Vegan Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger & Coconut Milk

Why We Love It: This is the ultimate reset soup. During a season when so much of what we eat is an indulgence, it’s nice to get a break with a recipe that’s totally delish, but also light. This silky soup gets its (dairy-free) creaminess from a can of full-fat coconut milk. It’s just the thing to serve a group when dietary restrictions are a concern.

Hero Ingredient: Two teaspoons not only make this soup an anti-inflammatory powerhouse, but also a warming, spicy delight.

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

Why we love it: Have you ever seen anything more decadently delicious? This dish is an absolute showstopper and the perfect dairy-free pasta for cozy, chilly nights. Just be sure to use lots of squash to get that dreamy color and rich flavor.

Hero ingredient: Top your bowl with lots of crispy bacon before digging in.

Roasted Butternut Squash Stuffed With Goat Cheese, Figs, and Pesto

Why we love it: The one downside of butternut squash? It’s a pain to peel. Thankfully, this easy butternut squash recipe takes the grunt work out of the equation, asking you only to cut the fruit in half and de-seed. These roasted squash halves make a delicious, simple side dish. Delight in the drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of fresh herbs, and seasonings of your choice. Or, follow Camille’s lead and stuff with your favorite ingredients to your heart’s content.

Hero ingredient: It doesn’t get much better than figs, does it?

Butternut Squash, Spinach, & Goat Cheese Pasta

Why we love it: It’s a one-pot wonder with pasta, greens, and healthy roasted veg. This dish makes a beautiful and hearty meal in and of itself. Which means less time spent washing pots and pans, more time spent around the table with friends.

Hero ingredient: Don’t skip the drool-worthy brown butter sauce.

Thai Chicken Soup with Butternut Squash & Bok Choy

Why We Love It: I make this Thai chicken soup anytime I need a little warm-up throughout the season. It’s hearty while boasting a light and veggie-packed broth, helping you feel just satisfied enough. The Thai flavors come forth thanks to the fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and red chili peppers. Trust, it will always cure whatever ails you.

Hero Ingredient: The chicken cooks on the bone in the soup, infusing the broth with rich, beautiful flavor.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Walnuts, Sage & Orange Brown Butter

Why We Love It: Fall pasta recipes may be a dime a dozen this time of year, but because these months are our favorite for loading up on carbs, you can bet Camille took her time ensuring this was the perfect butternut squash pasta recipe. The orange-infused brown butter is a sweet and savory dream and walnuts add an incredible nutty crunch that makes this dish impossible to resist.

Hero Ingredient: Scatter on the fresh sage leaves with a heavy hand.

Pita Tostadas With Butternut Squash, Black Beans, & Avocado

Why we love it: It’s ultra-healthy and bursting with gorgeous Tex-Mex flavors. The pita is an unexpectedly delightful vessel for some of our absolute favorite ingredients. Doesn’t get much better than this.

Hero ingredient: The golden-brown crust of the pita is a perfect canvas for all kinds of toppings.

Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Banana Bread from Minimalist Baker

Why we love it: Can’t you smell this bread through the screen? It’s a gorgeously moist, tender, and hearty loaf full of sweet banana flavor with a hint of buttery winter squash. Yum!

Hero ingredient: Almonds and oats give it a nutty and wholesome vibe.

Baked Pearl Couscous & Butternut Squash with Basil Tahini from The First Mess

Why We Love It: Can we take a moment to appreciate the rustic beauty of this dish? The pink pops of pickled red onions tucked in with butternut squash and basil leaves are each a true aesthetic achievement. I’ll be eating this every time my craving for something plant-based and downright soul-soothing comes up. (It happens more often than you’d think.)

Hero Ingredient: That basil tahini is something to celebrate.

Easy Skillet Butternut Squash Lasagna from Half Baked Harvest

Why we love it: It’s the best way to satisfy an Italian craving when you also want to get in on those cozy fall flavors. A vibrant, delicious dish that is perfect for any night of the week. It’s an absolutely mouthwatering recipe.

Hero ingredient: Crispy, spicy rosemary bacon is the perfect topper for this autumn meal.

Butternut Squash Curry with Chickpeas from Rainbow Plant Life

Why We Love It: The aromatic Thai flavors packed into this curry will wow anyone lucky enough to tuck into the dish at your table. With chickpeas, carrots, lemongrass, spinach, and more, it’s packed with nutrient-dense goodness to keep you satisfied and nourished. Honestly, it’s my favorite thing to do with chickpeas right now. (Sorry, hummus.)

Hero Ingredient: I love the floral, slightly sweet, and tangy flavors lemongrass brings forth. It’s so unique and adds a special je ne sais quoi to your dish.

Roasted Stuffed Butternut Squash from Minimalist Baker

Why we love it: All you need are 10 ingredients and you’re good to go. It’s savory-sweet, hearty, easy to make, customizable, and works beautifully as either a main or side dish. Even better, it reheats gorgeously for leftovers.

Hero ingredient: Don’t skip the balsamic reduction and delish crispy shallot to add a savory crunch to the top. 

Butternut Squash Salad from Love & Lemons

Why we love it: Use up your seasonal produce in this beautiful and healthy salad, because it’s about to become your fall go-to meal. It’s a simple, easy, and nutritious dish that is perfect for those crisp autumn days and evenings. You’ll keep coming back for more.

Hero ingredient: Salty toasted pistachios.

This post was originally published on September 30, 2021, and has since been updated.