When I began to write my holiday blog this year, I was really struggling. I was struggling because I didn’t want to write the same old stuff we always read; be thankful, be grateful, get in the holiday spirit, do for others, etc… I agree that all of this is great and wonderful, as I wrote about it last year (www.swsecrets.net/?p=3), but what else can we focus on this time of year that is equally as important but less talked about? I had to sit with this thought for a few days until I really started to notice one key part of this time of year we are missing the boat on….
OURSELVES! Yes, you! This time of year is typically focused on doing good for others, fundraising, donating our time and money, buying Christmas gifts, getting good discounts, feeling the holiday cheer, and being grateful for all we have in this life….But what about YOU? None of these things can happen without you.
This time of year is hectic, and by the time Thanksgiving gets here I can already tell I need a break, and I bet you all do too. And once Thanksgiving is over, you realize that life is not slowing down anytime soon. Now it becomes the time to give back, put up the holiday lights, make Christmas plans, start planning and prepping our meals and houses for guests, and start putting holiday work parties on the calendar. Can a get a ‘yikes’ one time?! Let’s all pump the breaks, people! Take time to and focus on you, your needs, and what you want to do during this hectic time of year. Pull back on your crazy schedule and the need to focus on others, because if we aren’t mentally healthy and personally ‘up to par’ then everything else in our lives will suffer a little bit. Everything else in our lives will feel a little more exhausting, stressful, and frustrating because we are forgetting to put ourselves first.
Be selfish. Be about you. This society focuses so much on doing good for others in order to live a fulfilling life. That is so true, but don’t we need to do good for ourselves and treat ourselves well before we can focus on those around us and their needs? I will give you a hint…..The answer to this question is YES.
I know you all can agree with me on this, but the bigger question is the how? How do we take time for ourselves without feeling guilty, without feeling like other things are not going to get done, and without creating that little anxiety in our bodies if we do not get every ‘t’ crossed and every ‘i’ dotted? Let me give you a few tips and tricks to get you started on your more beautifully selfish life.
- First and foremost…. It is okay to say no. We do not constantly owe our time and energy to others, and we struggle to say no without coming up with a lie or excuse. But the unfortunate alternative is we say yes, roll our eyes, and start stressing about the things that will be put on hold because we said yes to someone else other than ourselves. Practice saying no. Challenge yourself. You can even practice now. Say it with me… NO NO NO.
Didn’t that feel good?
- Plan activities to do alone, and put them in your calendar. Yes, do it….Let me challenge you with this question: Realistically, if you could do anything by yourself right now or this week what would it be? What is the first thing that comes to mind for you? Okay, great. Now write that down, plan it, and put it in your schedule. I can already hear the excuses because I make them all the time (I don’t have time, I have to clean my house, I already have a full week…The list goes on and on). But, I will politely remind you to put that ‘thing’ you thought of in your schedule…..
Didn’t that feel good? And doesn’t it make you smile?
- It’s not always better to give than receive. We give so much of ourselves around the holidays, but at what point do we give to ourselves? At what point do we treat ourselves? At what point to we throw our hands in the air and surrender to everything that adds up on the never-ending-to-do list? Yes, it feels good to give to others whether through volunteering, our cooking/baking, or our gift giving. But the most important relationship you will have throughout life is with yourself, and you need to nurture it. Do not always feel that in order to be a good member of society means we have to take time to give back, spend all our hard earned money on food and gifts, and not take a minute of time to ourselves between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This holiday can be about you too, if you let it.
- If you want to get take-out instead, then do it. If you don’t want to put lights up on your house or decorate head to toe, then don’t. If you don’t want to go caroling with your church group, then don’t. If you don’t want to participate in your work party’s Secret Santa exchange, that is okay….Whether or not you believe me, you have a choice, and you don’t have to do all of these things. And if you’re catching my drift, then you’ll realize that it goes back to saying no. There is too much to do this time of year, and it is up to you to recognize that and then prioritize. For example, this year I was to make the pie for Thanksgiving but I bought one instead. This year my husband and I decided not to buy Christmas lights for the house or buy each other gifts. And you know what? It felt good! Don’t be a superhero this holiday season, just do what it is that you want. After all, this is your holiday season too, not just everyone else’s. Take a breath and prioritize. Your holiday will be much more enjoyable if you’re relaxed.
During these special times of year, take advantage of the opportunity you have to spend time with loved ones, have real conversations, and enjoy authentic moments.
-Happy Holidays and keep shining
Don’t forget to ‘like’ my Facebook page and share my posts! * www.facebook.com/secretsofsw/ *