In my part of the world, the weather still feels abnormally un holiday-like, but I already feel the pressure. Several years ago, I noticed that November and December just weren't feeling fun anymore. The joy was gone.
I spent some time resigned to the thought that #adulting was about more serious things than finding joy in the holidays (true story). Recently though, I've realized that beauty is wherever I find it. Life is most certainly too short to turn a blind eye to what may in fact be one of the most wondrous times of year. Am I already feeling pressure to compile the perfect gifts so that I'm ready to pounce on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Yes, yes I am.
Whew, I sound conflicted. Let's slow down a minute here. Not much time in there for self-care is there? It almost sounds laughable, but as I've learned, it most definitely is not. We can either lament the pressures of this time of year or we can face it head on. I think you know the choice I'm making. Let's do this together, 'kay?
This is where self-care comes in. See, my thought on this is that if we can relentlessly use strategies that fill our own cup first, especially now, perhaps this time of year just may not be so bad. In fact, it might seem...dare I say, fun?
I've assembled my top self care tips below. Try one or two of these a week (at least) and watch your mindset change. Most of all remember -- if your cup is empty it's impossible to show up for anyone else.
1. Movement - Step away from the tracking device. This kind of movement is more about finding stillness and balance rather than tracking steps or calories burned. Ideally, outdoors, but let it be anything that gives you joy. Whether that's yoga, a HIIT class, CrossFit or a lovely walk around your neighborhood -- just get out and move your body.
2. Meditation - I've started meditating for just 5-10 minutes a day, and already can feel it helping. I'll be the first to admit that I tend to go off and on with this practice, but I've found a new guided meditation app that really helps called Insight Timer. There are so many guided meditation tools out there now - I also love Headspace or the Calm app. Above all else - look at meditation as something simple. It can be anything from 5 minutes of deep breathing, to a 20 minute session. Just do something that works for you!
3. Heat - Whether it's taking hot bath with epsom salts, infrared sauna, or hot yoga class, the detox benefits of sweating are a great way to keep yourself feeling clear and refreshed. My preferred method of sweating at the moment is via hot yoga - where I can get in exercise and detox all at once. Infrared saunas are becoming more widespread, and that's next on my list!
4. Friends & Connection - It can be so easy to get wrapped up in a whirl of never-ending chores or lists and things that on the surface may seem like connections (school drop off and those quick and rushed "Hi! I'm fine" moments). My suggestion is to book meaningful time -- think coffee or really any fun activity with someone you love that you know will make you feel better. Choose someone that will give you energy rather than deplete it. That is the power of connection!
5. Does it give me joy? - Think through you obligations this season. Before you over-commit, ask yourself this question first. It's ok to say no, in order to preserve your own energy and this is the time of year to flex that muscle. Fill your life up with whatever brings you happiness and makes you feel like you did as a kid. For each of us it's different, but I'll bet you know what it is.
In the end, there is no greater service you can do to those you love than to care for yourself. I still struggle with feelings of guilt when I do things that may seem indulgent (hint: anything that involves being alone)! However, I know in my heart that it gives me the much needed energy to give all my love to my family, and those that may need me to show up for them as my very best self.
Don't you deserve that too?
With that, we go.....Onward!