With Christmas around the corner you're likely racing around like a headless chicken, stressing about money, gifts, and making this year as memorable as last year. Am I right? And I bet that while you're doing that you're feeling kind of tense, even if you're enjoying it.
   So I present to you: Youvember.
   Before the stressful gift-giving last-minute month of December where you won't get the opportunity to really think about yourself for a solid 30 days, why not take November for yourself? Find a way to reduce and handle the stress, be it with exercise, organisation, pampering or simply setting aside half an hour a day for you and you alone. The point of Youvember: don't neglect yourself. Taking advantage of Youvember can help to make Christmas that much better for you and those around you if you have a clearer, more relaxed mind.

How can you participate?
Whether you're a blogger or not, anyone can participate. Beginning from November the 1st, all you have to do is set yourself a task designed to lighten the load on the run-up to Christmas, either directly by creating some kind of ultimate Christmas organisation plan, or indirectly by taking time to stop and breathe.
   You could try a brand new workout routine - perhaps you've always wanted to give yoga or kickboxing a go - maybe a resolution to eat clean before the unavoidable sweet tooth kicks in and takes over your mind, encouraging you to eat every current-ridden Christmas cake whether you like it or not...*ahem* or it could be to sit down and make a plan for Christmas - who needs shopping for, where to go, what to get, what to do for Christmas dinner, what living arrangements need to be made and organise it all into a four-week-four-section plan so you know what you have to do and when.

   If you're a blogger, record your progress and spread the word. There are buttons at the bottom of this post that you can use and add to the bottom of your own blog posts. Otherwise all you need to do to get into the spirit of Youvember is to do something positive for yourself in amongst the Christmas rush.

   There will also be an internationally-open competition for participants, a range of items including health and craft goods, as well as fun little bits and bobs for yourself like jewellery and art. To enter all you will need to do is email me either: a link to one of your Youvember blog posts, preferrably one written towards the end of the month showing/talking about what you've achieved in Youvember, or a photograph of what you've achieved if you're not a blogger. This could be a picture of a page in your journal, a page of your scrapbook, a picture of the workout DVD or class you've been attending, a picture of something you made that month, whatever, as long as it's a part of your Youvember.
   All entries should be emailed to me by November 30th, and the winner will be chosen at random based on a name pulled out of a hat. Each picture and blog post will be looked at, of course - your effort will not be skimmed over, I promise you - but it's important to remember that it's all for you, no one else. The most interesting pictures and blog posts will be posted or linked here, with the submitter's permission.
   The winner will be contacted via the email address used to submit their entry on the 2nd of December, and they will have a week to respond to the email with their home address. Once I've received the address I will post the prizes. If I don't receive a response in 7 days, I will pick a new winner.

For the full list of each prize bundle's contents, see this post.

Win this Fitness Bundle:

Win this Christmas bundle:

Win this Arts & Crafts Bundle

Win this Feel-Good Bundle

Suggestions for Youvember:
Try a new workout - give yoga, kickboxing, pilates or dance a go - visit a class or do it at home! Blog or write down your progress throughout the month, including time spent per day and any improvements you've noticed. You may only be able to get into a half-pigeon pose initially, but stretch into a full one after a week. Be sure you weigh and measure yourself before you start your workout, but don't touch the scales or the tape measure again until the end of the month after a two-day rest. See my Fitness page for a list of unique workouts which I've covered this year.

Eat clean - try to keep away from processed foods and go for home-made meals with organic produce. You could even subscribe to food boxes like Abel & Cole and have these foods delivered right to your door. Blog or write down some recipes that you've tried and note your favourites.

Try a new hobby - get creative! Maybe try stamping your own wrapping paper or experimenting with cute wrapping embellishments, or take up something new like modern calligraphy or watercolour painting. Again, you could join a class or just have some fun with it at home. There are plenty of how-to videos and posts on the internet for just about any crafting challenge you set yourself. Blog or record your process with progress pictures, and don't ever tell yourself that something you've put your time into isn't worth showing.

Try something you've always wanted to do - be it something huge and insane like skydiving, or something much more simple like writing a short story. Or perhaps starting a blog - NaBloPoMo and Youvember are the perfect encouragements to do so, providing you with suggestions for blog posts right off the bat as well as a link-up to get your blog out there! And Blogger is entirely free and customisable, by the way.

Play a game. This time of year there are loads of new titles coming out, from stand-alone games like Shadow of Mordor which came out at the end of September, to franchises such as Assassin's Creed - Unity for the PS4/Xbox One, and Rogue for the PS3/Xbox 360 - which are due out November - or Dragon Age 3, also due out November. Take some time for yourself and unwind by jumping into a world totally unaffected by whatever stresses are on your mind. Take screenshots, follow a new story and find out what all the fuss is about. Gamers and readers all live a thousand lives before they die.

   Below are three similar buttons you can use for your blog posts if you make any. Unlike NaBloPoMo there are no minimum or maximum number of posts needed to participate, just blog about it and share your positivity and progress when you can. And if you're not a blogger, no problem, but try to keep a record somewhere. Maybe get yourself a nice journal or scrapbook from Paperchase and record it by hand, print photos and make a nice presentation out of it.

   Youvember is for you, and don't you dare feel guilty for it. There's a difference between taking time for yourself and being selfish.


For light blogs:

For medium-lit blogs:

For dark blogs (same as above, but inverted):


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