“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
[Part 2 in the Holiday Stress Series]
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to take care of everyone else. The only problem with that is unless you are paying attention, your own self-care can end up at the bottom of the list.
It starts with telling yourself there’s not enough time in the day to love and care for yourself. This is not true. You absolutely must block off some time for yourself each day.
Find the special time during the day when no one else is around — even for 15 to 30 minutes — and claim it for yourself. Cherish that time and never give it away. Spend it doing something that gives you complete bliss, like meditation, reading, yoga or other pastimes. Defend that time as you would give it to a loved one. You are that important.
Here are a few more non-negotiable self-care tips to keep in mind through this busy season.
Keep Connected to Your Tribe. Your tribe may be those people that you spend the holiday with, but then again they may not especially if you have to travel long distances to be with family over the holidays. These are the folks that laugh and cry with you and love you no matter what happens. These are your go-to people when the world seems at an imbalance. Make time to keep them in your life. They will be the ones to help keep you real during times of stress.
For Every Yes, Say No. It’s far too easy to say yes. And before you know it, your life is filled with a long to do list. Make a habit to consult with your calendar every time someone asks you to do something. Give yourself space. There is never a rush to commit to a task.
Watch your self-talk. As the stress of the season ramps up, it’s easy to get down on yourself. Begin to examine thoughts or statements that include should, always and never. These words may mean you are beginning to criticize yourself or use controlling behavior. An example is “I’ve always done it this way,” leaving no other option or path to get a task done. Other words to watch out for have to do with beating yourself up. A rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t say something to put down a friend, don’t say it to you, either.
Get real. Give yourself space to develop realistic expectations. Pace your projects and avoid the temptation to start something at the last minute. Be flexible when setting your holiday plans and goals. You may find that situations change after setting a goal. Revise goals as needed.
Do all self-care as usual. Keeping a consistent schedule is so important this time of year. There is a tendency to skip meals, get less sleep and forget your own needs. Your calendar is your best friend right now. Keep on a routine and refuel your body regularly.
Always remember… You are enough.
Self-worth is not measured by how much you do. Self-worth doesn’t come from things outside of you. It comes from within. So, take a breath and make the time to care for yourself. Balance changes as time moves forward. Remember self-care will help you rebound from holiday stress quickly.
This post is adapted from my upcoming book “The Stress Relief Holiday Guide: How to find peace and happiness during the holiday season,” available online November 19, 2013.
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