The holidays can be full of pressures, how do you find the “silver lining” “the bright side”, “the joy” when perhaps your feeling lonely, depressed or stressed? There is on top of this the “holiday tyranny” where we are encouraged or have learnt to hide actually how we are feeling “for the sake of the holiday”. We logically know however, sometimes fall into old patterns and forget about loving yourself first. There can also be mixed feelings and complexities that prevent our feelings from flowing. Instead we get stuck or stuff them.
For example, you might feel happy to see your mom or dad at Christmas but sad that their health is failing or failed. Or you end up doing most of the work and others sit back or have excuses as to why they are not doing more. Practicing loving yourself is sometimes being in the “messy middle” of all the circumstances and feelings. The key is noticing ways to respond instead of reacting in old patterns of overindulging in food, drink, shopping and than regret it later. We are not in the minority if we find ourselves experience a less than ideal holiday season. It is easy to start believing that others are experiencing the perfect holiday when we are constantly getting outside influence of consumerism. It is possible to stay centered during the holidays. Be present for yourself and give yourself the gift of self love.
Here are some of my favorite tips to assist you in loving yourself over the holidays and anytime for that matter :o)
- Put yourself on the top of your holiday list. Create a self care plan just for the holidays. I call this being shamelessly selfish. Think of what will feel honoring for YOU, what gives you joy! Hint! It is usually the simple things. I.e. special foods, calling or visiting a friend. Practice ways to experience less stress. If you were shopping take a time out from the festivities if you need to. Immerse yourself in a good book, hot bath or craft. Short walks in fresh air can help you unwind and clear your head. Find something that brings your heart joy! I loved singing when I was little and joined a Christmas Carol group this season. I have been reminded how much joy I get from singing!
- Be an angel to yourself! Take a few minutes each day and reflect on what the season means to you. Create a cozy, private spot where you can relax and contemplate the season. Meditate with some soothing holiday music, savor pleasant memories from holidays past with a favorite beverage. Be your own best friend. Experiment with loving ways to fill yourself up and renew your energy.
- Adjust and lower your expectations or better yet – have none- Notice how your expectations bring suffering when they are not met. Notice the “shoulds’ are you shoulding on yourself? Focus on what’s good and working and practice gratitude! It is an instant remedy to get out of a pity party. If you’re having a challenging feeling gratitude, a sure cure is to give back, volunteer an hour at a local community function of your choice.
- Educate others in the best way to support you- Be clear about what actually feels supportive. Ask for help? Yes it is okay to ask for help! Lighten you load! Ask a friend to go for tea and find something to laugh about ! Remember your sense of humor!!
- Experiment with new traditions and rituals for the holidays. Do things differently. Create new rituals that represent who you are rather than carrying on traditions that don’t serve and honor your heart. Face the places that aren’t working and speak up about them. If you have complaints about the holidays, see if you can put your complaints on paper and resolve to have new experiences.
- Allow yourself to experience your holidays imperfectly. Revise your ideas of perfection and increase your capacity for spontaneous joy. For example, if you find yourself getting tense and pressured about preparing a meal, buying gifts, sending cards, trying to do it all, try: doing less and notice how simplying can give you a feeling of freedom- refuse to be a prisoner of others expectations. Doing parts of things, doing tiny amounts. Again asking others for to help?
- Be present for yourself and discover ways to spread joy and love this season. Remember LOVE is the most precious gift of ALL!
Perhaps you have some tips of your own you would like to share with me! I would love to hear.
With Love and Joy!