On the to-do list this week: It’s the holidays. It’s snowy. Times are stressful. We have some ways to help this week. First, we’ve got some self-massage techniques that, let’s face it, we could all use right now. We also have a roundup of excellent gifts to buy someone you appreciate (even if that person is yourself). And while you’re in a giving mood, we’ve got an easy way to give back.

And remember: We’ve collected our best articles with our best Philly tips. They’re in one place here.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and, as much as possible, it’s still a good idea to stay home.


Know this

» Ask us a question through Curious Philly: inquirer.com/askus

Stay safe, do stuff

Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:

  • 🎊 New Year’s Resolution Wall at the Kimmel Center (Seasonal / virtual / kid-friendly / free) You can post your 2021 New Year’s resolutions on social media, tagged with #KimmelResolutions2021 and they’ll be collected and shared by the Kimmel on multiple platforms, including the huge digital sign outside of the theater. (Free, through Jan. 14, kimmelcenter.org, add to calendar)

🔎 Find more of this week’s safe kid-friendly, outdoor and arts events.

Try this

Need a massage? Yeah, we’re right there with ya. But while you can get a professional massage, it may not be a great idea right now. So Grace Dickinson found some RMT-approved ways you can DIY it if you have a collection of rocks in your back where your muscles are supposed to be. There are several exercises — with videos — in Grace’s full piece, but here’s one to help you deal with neck tension:

To release tension in the neck

  1. Place your left hand on the back of your neck on the right side. Starting where your skull meets your neck, begin directing pressure toward the front of your neck as you glide your hand down to where the muscle spans out down toward your shoulder.

  2. Then, gently or firmly pressing with your fingertips, feel the muscles next to your spine, and use your fingertips to roll the muscles back and forth. You’re pulling the muscle toward your vertebra, and then away.

  3. You can also press one spot that feels tender, and make very slow, up-and-down movements with your head, like you’re saying “no.” Notice how tiny changes to the angle of your chin affects the sensation. When you find a position that brings a release of pain, pause and take three deep breaths. Imagine a softening with each exhale.

  4. Switch sides, and repeat.

» READ MORE: 5 techniques to give yourself a massage at home, from a Philly massage therapist

Buy this

Here are some great gift ideas for friends, or for yourself (you deserve it):

  • Whisky: Whether you’re thirsty for something local or more unusual, Craig LaBan has picked 16 of the best brown boozes for every price range. Excuse us while we go and fact check each of his choices.

  • Philly food gifts. If you want to send a taste of Philly across the country, you can. Yes, even cheesesteaks. Grace Dickinson found the Phillyest food gifts, from Lore’s chocolates to La Colombe to some very yummy DiBruno classics, that ship across the U.S. Even a little chocolate LOVE statue for friends who need a bit of sweetness as we ride out the rest of 2020.

  • Cozy clothes. Yeah, it’s cold, but that’s not the only reason why it feels like a good time to wrap ourselves in the softest, coziest sweaters, sweats and knits. Elizabeth Wellington has found the best local spots to buy for comfort, and they’re pieces that you’ll want to leave the house in, once the pandemic, and our hibernation, subsides.

Do this

Baby, it’s cold outside. And for a lot of people without stable housing, the winter can be really tough. Grace Dickinson found places where you can donate warm items — scarves, hats, socks, blankets — to help keep someone warm. Donating, like everything else, is a little complicated right now. Here are a few to get started:

» READ MORE: Where to donate scarves, hats, blankets, gloves, and socks in Philly to help people experiencing homelessness

Bookmark this

There are new restrictions in place in New Jersey and Philly. Having a hard time keeping track of what the latest rules are? We’ve got it all for you in some handy, easy-to-use guides: