Welp friends, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. OR it can be the most hurried, stress-filled and expectation-riddled season of all. I find that it really all depends on my perspective. My sanity and joy during the holiday season hinge on my dedication to self-care.
Just so we’re all on the same page, I’ll give you my definition of self-care. I believe that self-care includes mindsets, self-talk and actions that create space for us to remain healthy and grounded, throughout various seasons of life. In difficult, stressful or challenging times, we desperately need self-care practices in order to be refreshed and renewed, and to keep us from burnout. In seasons when we are experiencing ease, joy and peace, self-care serves to fill us up to a truly abundant state. Our needs are met and we can generously overflow to others.
The purpose of self-care is not to become self-focused and certainly not to be selfish. Rather it is to love others as we love ourselves. Did you catch that last part?
“. . . as we love ourselves.”
This means that we have to learn how to love and be kind to ourselves before we can possibly overflow with love and kindness to others in a truly unselfish, no-strings-attached kind of way.
In my experience, honoring my need for self-care chases away scarcity and the resentment that comes from continuing to give from an empty well. As I have love and grace for myself, I am filled up with love and grace for others. Scarcity, resentment and burnout are replaced with abundance, overflow and freedom.
Just let that sink in.
Imagine experiencing the entire holiday season from a place of abundance, overflow and freedom. Freedom to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to invitations, without the guilt that people-pleasing often brings. Freedom to give from a loving, generous place, knowing that others may or may not be able to give back in the same way—or at all. Freedom to be yourself among the various groups of family members, friends and coworkers you’ll find yourself with in the coming weeks. Imagine experiencing all of this grace and freedom for yourself and then extending it extravagantly to others. To me, that sounds like the most wonderful way to be any time of the year.
Here are a few of my favorite self-care practices that I integrate into my daily routine. They keep me from getting depleted during an ordinary, no-drama week and are thus extra necessary during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
Meditation and prayer
Reading a great book
Taking a walk
Hugging an animal
Having a treat
Time with a loved one
Time with friends in recovery or other encouraging friends
During stressful or challenging times, I often add:
- Chiropractic care
- Saying ‘no’ to optional busyness in favor of downtime
- Additional recovery meetings
- An extra visit or call with a friend
- Coaching or mentoring sessions
Any support I need to process my experiences, thoughts and feelings when I am under added stress is an investment in my sanity and serenity. These resources help me to slow down and choose how I’d like to respond, rather than reacting under stress. They also help me glean lessons from my experience instead of just white-knuckling my way through them.
The point is, self-care takes lots of forms—from a cozy day of resting, recharging and hugging your pet (possibly against their squishy-faced will), to action steps such as reaching out for support or setting boundaries. All of these choices help to keep us healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
So, as the official Ambassador of Self-Care . . .
. . . I invite you to consider being kind to yourself this holiday season, and year-round. The world has only been entrusted with one of you and so I encourage you to take care of your wellbeing accordingly. Let yourself be renewed and recharged and then love others generously from a place of abundant overflow.
And now let me ask you…Which of these self-care practices resonate with you? What you would add to the list? Which practices are essential for you, even in the busiest times?
You can start today, with just one small choice or action. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated!
We’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment and then share the article—and the (self) love.