Tis’ the season to be jolly, fa, la, la, la, la… la, la, la, la, la! 🙂 While you may thoroughly enjoy the holidays, chances are good, you too have mixed feelings about the most wonderful time of the year. Self-care starts lacking.
Why is that?
Could it be the added financial pressure to purchase gifts for all your loved ones (which is likely a LONG list since you probably love a lot of people like I do)?
Could it be how modern day society has gifted us with an abundance of expectations to fulfill and consume our time throughout the holidays (whether we really want to or not) — shopping, gift giving, party attendance, holiday card sending, noshing on high calorie “treats” that just leave your body feeling drained and plumper?
Could it be you weren’t blessed with a “Leave it to Beaver” type of family, so gatherings are peppered with annoying or disconnected relatives that give us more character building opportunities & dysfunctional interactions with “loved ones” rather than nourishing ones?
A few years ago, John and I went on a two-week vacation to the Caribbean during the holidays to celebrate his birthday, which is the day after Christmas. I have to admit, extracting ourselves physically from the normal holiday bustling made for the most relaxing season ever.
In case that isn’t a practical option for you this year (it sure isn’t for us these days), I’ve got the next best option for you.
Commit to self-care this holiday season.
It MAY seem more practical to fly to a deserted island than to make self-care a priority during the holidays. BUT, you can do this! And, I assure you — when you put the oxygen mask on yourself FIRST — you’ll enjoy your holiday season more than ever before.
Self-care is essential to inner peace. It’s essential to being in your power. When you’re in your power, you’re less likely to get your buttons pushed in the face of irritating people. And, it’s super fun to remain grounded when others are expecting to ruffle your feathers.
When self-care and inner peace is intact, you’re more likely to make great choices for yourself — choices that honor your waistline, nourish your soul, minimize drama and align with your values. How cool would it be to say “yes” when you mean “yes” and offer up a clear “no” when you mean “no?” Healthy boundaries are key to self-care.
Of course, if you’re already depleted because you haven’t made self-care a priority, then it’s tough to discern the best choices for you at any moment. See, how it’s all related? Making a commitment to self-care IS key to navigating the holidays with inner peace.
So what does it mean to make self-care a priority?
1. It starts with nourishing your fabulous body with healthy and nutritious foods that give you energy without turning you into Mr. or Mrs. Claus. Most mornings, I make a veggie smoothie to start my day right. It takes time. The busier I get, the easier it is to throw this habit in the diaper pail. LOL! But, I’m keenly aware of how much better my body feels when I’ve front-loaded the day with veggies, antioxidants, and vitamins galore. Even though it’s a hassle to assemble all 16 ingredients (some of which I pre-bag once a week) AND get my babies fed, I make it a MUST. Self-care starts with first-class nutrition. What nutritious foods does your body crave to live your best life?
2. Making self-care a priority also means getting plenty of sleep. Go to bed early if you’ve had several late nights in a row. Snuggle yourself under the covers with an inspiring book that nourishes your mind and spirit. How much sleep do you need to feel energized? And how glorious does it feel when you’re really rested?
3. Find some way to move your body every day. Make exercise a MUST! Attend yoga class. Stretch at home. P90X. Cardio on the exercise bike. Walk the dog. Run in the neighborhood. Visit the gym to pump iron. Sit-ups. Push-ups. Wii. There are SO many options. Choose the activities you enjoy the most, and commit to making it a part of your self-care practice.
When I dash off to yoga class 2-3 times a week, sometimes I flirt with feelings of selfishness. With all the holiday shopping, and ALL my other responsibilities to my family and business, do I REALLY have 90 minutes to spare?
YES. YES. YES!
And you do too!!!!
I’m a better mom, partner, coach, friend, colleague, daughter, sister and aunt when I get to stretch, move my body and take in a dose of stillness at the end of class during the final asana. Giving yourself the gift of self-care ensures you have the energy you need to thrive through the holidays.
I even view planning ahead as an act of self-care. In previous years, I waited until December 20th (or later!) to start my holiday shopping. I had convinced myself that last minute rushing was “no big deal.” That strategy didn’t work well last year. This year, my goal is to have everything purchased by Friday, and everything wrapped next week. I’m already feeling a greater sense of peace about the holidays.
Making self-care a priority also means creating space for stillness and downtime. Perhaps this feels the most difficult when family obligations and your social calendar is bursting at the seams. But, YOU can do it. Snagging a few minutes in between the busyness is doable. Visit my article about Finding Inner Peace in Your Busy World if you need ideas.
What other self-care practices have you felt your best? Meditating, journaling, avoiding stressful situations, brisk walks, warm fires, lighting candled, bubble baths or ??? Write down your top 5-10 self-care practices, and commit to them starting right now.
And finally, remember,self-care is a reflection of self-love.
As we talked about last week, the more you love yourself, the easier it is to keep inner peace alive in your life because you’ll want to avoid stressing out the one you love — YOU! Value yourself enough to make self-care a priority. Allow self-love to fuel your self-care activities.
Commit to self-care this holiday season.
And, let me know how it goes.