If you are anything like me, self care is one of the first things to get thrown out the window when things get busy. I skip my workouts. I pass out at night without praying, meditating, reflecting or setting intentions for the day ahead--a practice that I am usually quite committed to doing. My diet gets jacked up on sugar, carbs, caffeine...anything to keep the motor going. And what happens? By the time the New Year rolls around I am seven varieties of burnt out instead of feeling ready for a fresh start. The older I get though, the more responsibilities that pile up on my plate, the more I realize the value of taking care of me. Making my self care a priority is not selfish; in fact it is quite the opppsite. Much like the timeless airplane analogy "you've got to put your mask on first," I am best able to serve & love others when I am taking excellent care of myself. So while this holiday season is shaping up to be one of THE most hectic I have experienced yet, it is also one of the-most-joyful-ever.
Here's what I have been doing to keep it together this Christmas:
1. Keep your self care routine in tact
If you go to the gym regularly, wash yor face every night, give yourself a mani-pedi, a smoothy, eat healthy, shower daily, whatever-you-do-for-you...KEEP doing it! Do not let the pace of the season be an excuse to cut yourself out of your priority list. If you let these little acts of kindness toward yourself slide, you will soon find yourself resentful and unable to enjoy all of the love and beauty this season has to offer.
2. Say NO
Point #1 seques beautifully into point #2. Clearly if there is more to do in less time, something will have to give. Let me repeat...that should NOT be your self care. Is there some task you could delegate to someone else? Is there a social gathering (that you may not even really want to attend anyway) you could pass on and enjoy a warm bubble bath instead? Maybe you buy store bought cookies instead of baking this year...I promise I won't tell. The biggest thing is, honor your needs enough to realize that you cannot do and be everything for everyone AND keep your sanity. Just say no, let it go and keep it moving...without apology!
3. Get Organized
Make a to do list each night in no particular order. Then, look at the next day's schedule and make a time table for each of the items on your list. It is okay if you stray from the schedule the next day. Just having the visual list of what and when you need to accomplish certain things will free up mental space to live more in the moment...and that is the goal isn't it? This brings me to my next suggestion. Use an electronic calendar!!! I am a little late to the party on this one. I am kind of stuck in the 90s--such good times. I prefer pen and paper to computers or apps on my smart phone (so much so that I actually handwrite each of my blogs before I actually post them...). This was entirely true until a very dear friend of mine schooled me on the ways to make Google calendar work for me. Any time I have somewhere I have to be...whether I am volunteering at my son's school, taking a yoga class or teaching one it is in my Google Calendar. Life saving technique.
Admittedly this one I still need work on. Granted I have a 6 (almost 7 month old) baby who still does not sleep through the night. That said, it has been really tough for me to get back to sleep even after she does. My mind is going about a million miles a minute most of the time. What has begun to help me with this one is either journaling or making a todo list to get the thoughts out of my head and onto the paper-- so I can let them go and get some much needed zzzzzzz's. What has also begun to help is running through yoga sequences in my head--although I am pretty sure not everyone would find that tip as useful...
5. Create and have FUN!
Get lost in the moment. Being organized helps with this. It gives you the ability to compartmentalize your daily tasks and even if for just a few moments, lose yourself in an activity that is just for fun. My favorite way to do this each day is to play with my kids. Board games, holiday crafts, baking cookies (because I want to, not because I need to bring them anywhere) even a social outing of your choosing. These are all examples of what I like to call 'mini vacas.' My personal favorite this season has been a Christmas ring wreath toss my son and I created and played while drinking hot cocoa. We had a blast! I have also been creating gifts for some of the people on my list this year. This has been an incredible way to not only save money, but bring me some joy and peace into my life this holiday season.
If you are struggling to find balance in the midst of the holiday rush I encourage you to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. There is always room to take care of your mind, body and soul. This is the art of yoga and my life's great passion. Thank you for sharing this passion with me. May the Spirit of the season find its way into your heart and bless you & those you hold dear.