Self-Care in Holiday Season

Christmas WreathWe all wish for a happy Christmas time, but for many people the Holiday Season is quite hectic and stressful. Social gatherings, decorating the house, baking, shopping, wrapping gifts … all this takes time. Then there is the rest of life, too! By the time Christmas comes around, we may be very exhausted. It is not easy in this state to fully engage in Christmas and be available to family and friends. In times of high demands and stress, we often put self-care on the back burner. When it is most essential to take care of ourselves, we often don’t pay attention to our needs – physically, mentally and spiritually.

Taking care of ourselves includes taking care of our basic needs such as restful sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise. Good self-care also involves other aspects of life and is highly individual; one person restores his energy best by going for a hike, another person may feel refreshed by meditating in the morning. It is necessary to find out what self-care means to you personally.

Neglecting self-care is common: It is difficult to make life changes. Even though we know it would be better and healthier for us to have our healthy breakfast or do our run in the morning, we might have a hard time following through. This is especially true, if our intentions have not yet become a habit.

Self-care is often associated with over-indulgence, or even selfishness. Many of my clients express that they feel they don’t deserve taking (most necessary!) time for themselves. They feel guilty. Women especially are so accustomed to taking care of others, that taking care of themselves feels unfamiliar or even uncomfortable. – However, as the flight attendants tell us on any flight, you have to secure your own oxygen mask before attending others. In other words, if you take care of yourself well, you have more resources to take care of others.

Here are a few ideas for self-care practice during the Holiday Season:

  • Learning the “Art of saying NO”: Check your commitments and your priorities. Give yourself permission to say “no”, if you are asked a favour and you don’t want to do it. You can always say “Sorry I cannot bake two dozen cookies for the Christmas party”. Be clear what you would like Christmas to be. You may want to say “no” to over-spending this year. Stick to your values.

 

  • Take time for yourself in the morning: It may it be sitting quiet with a cup of tea, meditating, doing your morning yoga practice or journaling … Beginning your day quietly helps to get centered, helps you live your day more mindfully and allows for better choices.

 

  • Breathing: Being conscious of your breathing is a wonderful way to quiet and to connect to the present moment. With your awareness the breathing will become naturally calmer and deeper. Paying attention to your breathing several times a day, will change your experience of the day and bring you back to yourself.

 

  • Listen to your body: Rest when you are tired. Go for a walk when you need some fresh air and movement. Eat when you are hungry. Go to the bathroom when you have to go. Turn your computer off when it’s time. Drink water! Have a refreshing Alexander Constructive Rest!

 

  • Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow …: Dance when you feel like dancing! (You don’t even have to go out to do that. A living room and music from your ipod will do!) Sit by the fire with your husband. Play board games with your children. Take some time to talk to your neighbour. Have fun with the dog … ENJOY life! In this season as in any other, listen to your needs and let it flow!

Wishing you a joyful and peaceful Holiday Season and all the best for the New Year!

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