The holidays are meant to bring families and close friends together to rejoice. However, the holiday season’s commercialism has crept in, bringing us far more stress than pleasure throughout these days. We’re running around due to the calendar of activities and festivities.
Our good eating habits are forgotten, and our sleeping patterns are frequently ignored. For many of us, it’s a formula for burnout.
The good news is that we can alter our approach to the holidays and ensure that we meet our own needs during this stressful period.
Christmas is a season of generosity.
Offer to yourself first this year in order to be emotionally and physically fulfilled enough to give to others.
The first time I boarded a plane, I recall vividly.
As I sat down and belted in as directed, I was nervous.
The flight attendants then began their presentation on what to do in the event of an emergency. This was a wake-up call for me since they stated that if we lost cabin pressure, an oxygen mask would descend in front of us and that we should put on our mask first!
This took me by surprise. Taking care of others around me comes naturally to me. I saw myself leaping from my seat to assist the elderly gentleman across the aisle or the young girl two seats ahead of me.
It was at that point that I realized that unless I took care of myself first, I would have no “life” to give to others. On the plane that day, I had an epiphany. In fact, it marked the start of my “self-care movement.”
Here are 5 tips to help you to begin your self-care during this most wonderful time of year.
1. Give yourself permission to
When you start thinking about self-care, it’s natural to feel guilty, irresponsible, or even selfish. You must give yourself permission to do so.
Allow yourself the freedom to do “anything” you desire. Give yourself the right to say “no” to a certain event, “no” to overpaying on gifts, or “no” to hosting an event. This is where self-care begins.
Learn to value the necessity of establishing limits. Slow down from the frenzy and ask yourself, “What do I want to acquire this year during the holiday season?”
What can I do to make it happen? What am I most passionate about? What are the kinds of traditions that are significant to me and that I want to keep?
2. Involve all of your senses
We don’t think about our senses too often. Our senses play a vital role in self-care. Consider the aroma of an apple pie baking in the oven; just smelling it might conjure up certain memories. Perhaps it will bring back memories of your mother making homemade pies when you were younger.
When we use our senses, we have distinct levels of experience. Consider how you might incorporate your senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing into your self-care routine.
In a cooking class, I was in, the chef had us smell the numerous spices and the meal while it simmered on the stove-top. The pleasure we felt while preparing the meal remained as we ate, savoring the various flavors in the finished product. Bathe in a candlelit bubble bath with pleasant items.
Sit and watch your favorite holiday movie while wrapped up in a soft blanket. Play music that is relaxing. Experiment with ways to incorporate all of your senses during times of refreshing for your body and soul.
3. Don’t get caught in the hustle and bustle of the season.
Plan ahead of time and assign particular time frames to the things you must finish or the events you will attend. This will allow you to mentally prepare and avoid becoming overwhelmed.
At certain periods of the day and week, the malls and stores are quite busy. If at all feasible, go shopping at off-peak hours, such as weekday mornings. To avoid crowds entirely, shop online in peace of your own home.
If you must go out amid the crowds, prepare your mind and body beforehand. Recognize that there is no need to haste. Take your time and enjoy the experience of shopping. Changing our viewpoint on a problem can often help us approach things more calmly.
We don’t have to join in the holiday madness.
Inside your mind and spirit, cultivate a sense of calm and joy, authentic holiday feelings.
4. Do things in moderation
This is the time of the year where it is easy to over-indulge. We find it easy to neglect healthy eating. Sleeping patterns may be altered as we have more activity in our days. We can over spend on gifts for those on our lists.
The list of things that seem to trap us in extravagance may differ from person to person, however, it is common to be swept up into excessive behavior. Aristotle wisely stated, “all things in moderation.” This is an excellent gauge for us to recall.
5. Give up expectations
The holidays, especially Christmas, have a tendency to instill unreasonable expectations in us. It’s nearly a “magical” time of year, and we fantasize about the ideal vacation. During the holidays, many people experience despair and anxiety. The number of calls to crisis hotlines has increased. Domestic violence is on the rise.
You won’t find everyone wishing you a “Merry Christmas.”Perhaps you are one of the people who have the most difficulty.
Past events, like the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or financial hardship, all appear to be amplified at this time of year.
Giving up your expectations of the perfect family with the perfect tree while hosting the perfect parties with the perfect gifts is one of the best ways to take care of yourself during this emotionally tough time. This way of thinking is incredibly harmful to your health.
As you relinquish these ideas, you are able to open yourself up to experiencing greater joy in the reality of the moment. Let go of false illusions and celebrate the moment. Wherever you are in your life this year, take care of yourself first.
Practice self-love abundantly This truly is the only way to experience the true meaning of Christmas. May peace, joy, love, and happiness be yours today and throughout the year!