Self Renewal During the Holidays
The holidays can often be a hectic, over-scheduled, stressful time despite the intention of connection, goodwill, and peace. Start your holiday season off by committing to yourself this year. Ask yourself what do you need to renew, refresh and connect this holiday season? Remember, self-care is not selfish. Self-care is what allows you to be present and available to yourself as well as others. Be honest with yourself, what is the stressed out version of you really like? For myself, I know I’m more irritable and less present. Not my best self! Make a commitment to you first and you’ll find that you are more connected to others.
Self-renewal strategies you can use:
1. Know your top priorities this holiday season. What matters most to you? What do you value the most? If it’s connecting with friends and family, make time for that in a way that’s easy. Giving and gratitude, find ways to give that energize and not drain you. Peace and reflection? Schedule regular time for your own inner work (not just once, but multiple times!) Once you’re clear on your most important values and priorities, you’ll know how to divide your time. Simplify and focus on what matters to you not what you should do.
2. Ask for and receive help. Hosting a dinner, party, or other event? Invite others to help whether by bringing a dish, or washing the dishes. Who else can support or help you during this time? Perhaps you need emotional support? Spend some time assessing the resources you need during the holidays. Asking for help is a vulnerable position. Recognize your own discomfort with asking for help and see how far you can comfortably stretch in that direction.
3. Learn to say no. Listen and trust your inner voice. Do not what others say is right for you, what is expected of you, or what you should do, or what you’ve traditionally done, but what is important to you. Remember, when you say yes to everything, it’s value is diminished.
4. Practice inner ease. Connect with your loving, compassionate self when you feel stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated. Here is an exercise adapted from HeartMath. Follow these four steps:
a. Close your eyes. Place your hand on your heart.
b. Imagine that you’re breathing in and out through the center of your heart. Your breath comes into your heart on the in breath and out through the center of your heart on the exhale.
c. On each breath imagine that you are breathing in love, ease, and compassion (in whatever way that makes sense to you), then exhale normally. As you breathe in love and ease you can think about someone or something that helps you feel this or just say the words you need to hear the most (peace, love, calm, etc.)
d. After your last in and out breath, slowly move your hand off your heart and open your eyes again. As you open your eyes, notice how you feel emotionally and physically in your body. Pay attention to the subtle sensations – tingling, groundedness, warmth, pulsating.
This exercise only takes a few short minutes, you can do this while waiting in line, taking a break during your day, etc. The more you practice, the more ease can become part of your default state, so try practicing 2-3 times a day to start.
5. Remember to let yourself soak in the joy! Whether it’s your to-do list or family dynamics, it can be easy to focus on the negative when things get overwhelming. However, in between those spaces are many opportunities for positive moments. Take time to notice the good in the little things: the one thing you did accomplish, the crisp smell in the air, the people who care about you, the resources you’ve used to get to where you are right now. Give yourself permission to and set and intention to soak in the positive moments in your life this holiday season.
6. Connect. Set an intention to connect: whether with yourself, family/friends, nature, community or religious organizations, support groups, or any other way. The holiday season can be a difficult, lonely time. Connection helps stave of shame, loneliness, and depression.
Wishing you peace this holiday season!
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