We've all heard the saying 'you can't pour from an empty cup', but do you feel at this time of year that your 'cup' is emptier than ever? As we approach Christmas we find ourselves juggling our regular commitments of work and family, with additional celebrations, events, shopping, eating, drinking, extended family obligations and travel. Routines are abandoned and our schedules are packed full, so I'm fairly certain you think I'm crazy asking you, (at this of all times!), to think about doing anything for yourself. But I'm not crazy, there is logic in my madness!
Here's the thing - if you give give give, run run run, and stress stress stress, what is your mental state to those around you who want to enjoy the season with you? Are you exhausted? Short tempered? Stressed? Anxious?
Take a moment to consider how you would like to be during the holidays. How does it sound if you could be happy, present, relaxed and able to solve unexpected challenges with grace and ease?
Now, more than ever, you need to take care of yourself so that you can be there for those around you (and not as just a physically worn out slightly grumpy version of you that can't wait for Christmas to be over and normal routine to resume!).
Self-care doesn't have to be hours of luxury in a spa. However nice that might be, for many of us it's probably not going to happen (but if you can and you want to, please do!). Self-care is a practice, or practices that you weave into your day, that nourish and support you to help you feel energized, present, and stress free. They look different for everyone and can change depending on the season of life you’re in, as well as current commitments, and mental and physical health.
Be careful not to confuse self care with checking out; TV watching, gaming, scrolling on the internet and similar activities where we tune out and lose 10 minutes, 30 minutes, and even hours (and don't try to convince me that facebook time is self-care! If you're not in control of the nature of the content it's not guaranteed to be positive or helpful and there's a risk you'll end up more stressed and annoyed, most likely at someone you'll never even meet!)
Think of self-care as checking-in time; actions that make you feel better and more connected to the inner workings of your mind and body in a positive way.Here are some ideas of what self-care can look like - some are daily actions, whereas others might be something you do 1, 2 or 3 times a week. Remember we're all different so the practice should reflect what brings you joy and relaxation, not what you feel you 'should' do, or what someone else does.
- Read a page (or more) of something inspirational
- Walk or run
- Write down 3 things that you're grateful for
- Take 5 deep breaths every morning before looking at your phone/laptop
- Go to bed 15 minutes earlier
- Take a yoga class
- Free-write for 15 minutes a day
- Walk in nature
- Go to the gym
- Spend time connecting to people that support, encourage and inspire you
Take a few minutes to think about what actions nourish you, write them down and decide how you will make time for one of them today, tomorrow, in the coming weeks, and even on your busiest days, so that the best version of you can shine through during the holidays and into the new year.