Ah. The holidays. That time of year when it is so easy to become completely caught up in the in-your-face drama and busy-ness of the season.
When we are so caught up in the pressures and obligations (or even the joys/delights) of the holidays, self-care is often the thing that is forgotten or pushed to the side.
Taking a moment to remember that self-care is what allows you to be the best possible parent/sibling/co-worker… can go a long way to helping your self-care practices return to the forefront of your life.
To that end, here are 5 self-care tips to help you not just survive, but perhaps even thrive, this holiday season.
1) Get out – spend time in nature (even if, especially if, you think you don’t have the time for it).
Dress for the weather (comfort first!), go for a walk, tune into your senses, practice your Owl Eyes, and allow yourself to discover the natural beauty and wonder of this time of year.
Bonus tip: cultivate gratitude and connection to the natural world through reading the Thanksgiving Address while you are out.
2) Read this article and do the exercise it contains.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and as if there is simply too much to do (some of which you may even be resisting), the exercise in this article will help. I promise!
3) Commit to 15-30 minutes a day of You-Time…
Don’t know what to do during your time? Do some free-writing (write whatever pops into your head for 2-5 minutes – a timer is helpful) using the following questions as prompts:
- What would I really love to experience right now?
- What sounds/feels extra nourishing and supportive in this moment?
- What do I need now?
Then, give yourself the gift of something you uncover through your writing on a (fingers crossed!) daily basis throughout the remainder of the holidays.
4) Use Stephen Covey’s 4 Quadrants for Time Management.
I’ve recently been reintroduced to this method and am finding it a very useful visual tool to help me determine my priorities throughout the day.
It seems I’ve been spending a lot of time doing things that feel urgent but that aren’t really that important when I might actually benefit a lot more from doing the things that are important but not currently urgent.
And yes, this approach can most definitely be applied to all things holiday related!
5) Carry a small object with you that reminds you of the qualities you wish to have infused into the remainder of your holidays.
For instance, during the holidays a couple of years ago, I carried a small rock in my pocket to remind me that I was enough.
Every time I felt it in my pocket, I was reminded of what that rock symbolized and was able to consciously sink more into the present moment and out of the sense of overwhelm and stress I had been experiencing. It was a powerful experience for me.
Bonus tip: on solstice night (Dec 21) do a releasing ritual.
While this ritual can take many forms, a simple and powerful thing to do is to write out everything you wish to release on strips of paper and then ceremonially burn them, allowing the fire to purify, cleanse, and release all that you are ready and willing – including any holiday stress or overwhelm you may be experiencing!
Then, the following morning, in the light of the returning sun, symbolically breath what you would like to receive into your life throughout the new year into a natural object (perhaps a pine cone or twig or a seed) and ceremonially plant it in your garden or under a favorite tree or even simply in a potted plant in your home.
Finally, above all else, know that you are not alone this holiday season.
There are many, many, many of us who find this time of year stressful, isolating (even if surrounded by family/friends), and overwhelming.
Sink into your self-care practices, reach out if you need support, and keep in mind that the holidays don’t last forever. With solstice will come the return of the sun, the days will gradually begin to lengthen, and we will have the opportunity to begin anew in the new year.
For now, today, I’m sending you the ability to know what you need as you need it (and to be able to ask for it or give it to yourself) this holiday season.