It’s that time of year… you’re running around like crazy buying gifts, decorations, food, etc. Trying to make the holidays perfect (whatever that means). You’re rushing here, there and everywhere. Making appearances but never being fully present. We’ve gotten wrapped up in the consumerism of this holiday season. It can be such a stressful time of year for so many people, in so many ways. We hardly say no or take time to care for ourselves.
In this day and age, everyone has heard of self-care, but that term has gotten really watered down. Self-care can be whatever you need it to be, but it is more than the surface level things we think of; taking a bath, getting your nails done, going shopping, taking a vacation, etc. These are all great things, but will likely only act as a band-aid, making us feel better for a short amount of time. Eventually, we find ourselves back in the same state of being feeling drained.
What we really need to do is strip away all of the outside distractions and look deep within. How have you been treating your body and mind lately? Have you gotten enough water and sleep? Have you taken time to do something you love or learn something new? Do you talk to yourself in a loving, supportive way?
”Taking care of yourself is an essential part of taking care of others. The healthier the tree, the better the fruit it can offer.”
It seems that we, as a society, don’t take time to put ourselves first because we don’t want to appear selfish. In doing so, we are not the best versions of ourselves; therefore, we are unable to give as much as we potentially could. Running ourselves thin, constantly giving without taking time to care for ourselves is actually a dis-service to others.
Let’s take a look at a metaphor: we have two cups that are half full (We’re optimistic here, people!). The first cup gives and gives, not taking time to refill. This cup runs out long before the second cup, which has taken the time to refill along the way. The first cup is now depleted has to stop giving and fill itself, a much harder and longer process than refilling along the way. Which cup is able to better serve those around it? The second one, right?
Shifting back to us humans… we need to take the time to recharge along the way so we avoid that harder, longer process that is needed if we let ourselves completely deplete.
We’ve tackled the importance of caring for yourself… now how do we go about doing it?
- Set boundaries: saying no is okay. If you need a break, take one. We have the mentality that we are weak if we aren’t constantly pushing ourselves. In reality, you are weak if you don’t know your limits. Setting boundaries also applies to the people you allow in your life. People are either adding to your life or taking away from it. Pay attention to how you feel during and after a time spent with someone. Do you leave feeling refreshed, motivated and excited or exhausted, crabby and frustrated?
- Prioritize: unfortunately, you are not Superman/woman. You can’t do and be it all. What are the things/people in your life that you love more than anything? When something comes up, take a minute to ask yourself if it aligns with your priorities. From there, it is pretty easy to decide if it should get your time and attention.
- Get to know yourself: perhaps you start a journal or voice memos to see or hear your thoughts. Breath work, meditation and yoga are great ways to connect your mind and body. Know your purpose in life (this isn’t stagnant and should develop and change as you grow).
- Make time for yourself: do at least one thing for yourself each day and SCHEDULE IT INTO YOUR DAY! It’s easy to say you’re going to do something. Then, when you have a really busy day, full of outside commitments, you realize you left no time for it. This can be anything that brings you joy. It doesn’t even have to be the same thing each day. When you wake up in the morning, take just one minute to check in with yourself. What do you need to not only survive but thrive throughout the day? Make a promise to yourself to make time, whether it is one minute or one hour, and don’t break that promise.
- Set goals: goals are a great way to keep yourself focused on what makes you better and therefore allows you to better serve others. Without goals, you have nothing to work towards. Goals need to be realistic, yet challenging.
Peace and love to you this holiday season.