I was in a really long line at the grocery store yesterday when I witnessed two older (than me) women giving each other a gigantic/supportive hug that lasted pretty close to 8 seconds. One woman was saying how tired she was and the other woman asked how she could help. Everyone in my lane was witness to this exchange. It was a beautiful thing to watch. And daaaaaaaang. It sure made me want a hug.
Most of the time I see or am involved in this conversation:
How’s your holiday season?
I AM ABOUT TO LOSE MY MIND.
Totally. Me too. WHAT DID I COMMIT TO?
[And then we talk about all we have to do and it goes on and on and ON FOREVER AND EVER.]
Or we hug and ask how we could possibly help.
I like that option better.
During this time of year, I have to pull out my tools to get me through the season.
These are some of my Self-Care Strategies for the Holidays
(besides hugging people):
Give yourself permission to go slow.
I am learning this…constantly. I’m a person who rushes through things (I’m also easily distracted) and as a result, I accidentally make mistakes (like put the wrong address on a card!).
Things I say to myself to remind myself to go slow:
Take your time. It’s not a race.
It will get done.
What can you have someone else help with?When you focus, things are executed better.
When you focus, things are executed better.
It’s OK that you didn’t send your cards out at the beginning of the month. You sent them out and that’s what matters.
Don’t Forget to breathe.
My coping mechanism is holding my breath. It’s really bad. Don’t be like me. Take a breather. Seriously, yoga definitely helps. Breathing is an easy way to give yourself a pause. Take a deep breath before you leave your car or walk into a party. Center yourself. Think about what you’re about to walk into. Remember some of your healthy coping mechanisms and GO.
Take yourself out of the situation.
Some people call this running away from your problems. I think that sometimes taking yourself out of the situation can be a good way to advocate for yourself. It doesn’t have to be big or dramatic. You can just casually, non-aggressively excuse yourself.
Let me give you a scenario:
During this time of year, my stress can make me say/do things that are not helpful. Like the other day at the bank, I almost lost it on the lady “helping” me, but I excused myself and I said, “I have to go now. Thank you for your help.” I came back the next day and apologized for my swift exit and picked up where we left off. I left because I knew I would have said things I didn’t want to. I was protecting (us) really. Yelling at someone would have solved nothing.
This can be done with relatives…especially during political/heated discussions. Just remember to try to be considerate while doing so. So, your aunt is going off about something and your dad is about to lose it and you don’t know what to do? Slowly walk to another room (bathrooms work!) and hang out there for a bit. Heck! Walk to your car because you “forgot something,” if you can.
Can’t leave? Just BREATHE. Take a deep breath and collect your thoughts before you accidentally launch into something you might regret. Again, PAUSE.
Get Enough Rest.
This is part of the give yourself permission to goslow concept. Make sure you slow down this time of year and get rest. Put yourself to bed early if you can. You need all the energy you can get if you have to be around tons of people. Unless you’re an extrovert, then please TEACH ME YOUR WAYS.
Make Better Food Choices & Drink Plenty of Water.
The food choices…well that’s kind of hard this time of year. Find some good choices and go after them. It’s definitely easier said than done. And if you do go overboard, get yourself back on track after all of the parties and such and don’t waste energy beating yourself up. It can seriously distract you from engaging with others if you’re feeling really bad about yourself. Every day is a new day. You have til January to start something new….like the Whole30!
It’s cold & dry. Drink water. Your skin will thank you….especially if you’re drinking alcohol.
Take a Walk/Go Outside:
This is something I have to do especially during this time of year. As an introvert, I can get SOOOO drained from being around a lot of people all at once. Talk about over-stimulation! I really need some time to clear my head and just THINK thoughts without being interrupted. When I am scheduling out my days, I always try to see if there is a window of time where I can get outside. If there isn’t one, I get up earlier and do it.
When I’m outside, I like to see all the stuff that’s going on in nature. It helps remind me how ridiculous some of the things I stress out about are. NATURE IS WONDERFUL. Stress doesn’t belong in nature.
Lower Expectations/Have None!
When you have no expectations, you leave room to be pleasantly surprised by something. If you have expectations, you can be easily disappointed….and then possibly spiral into how much someone/something let you down. Don’t place any expectations on anything or anyone. It will help you be as present as possible and enjoy WHAT IS.
Unplug your phone. Like for real.
It’s not always easy for me unplug from my phone. Especially when I see something that I could add to My Everyday Life series. When I am around friends and family I try really hard to be present. Plus, my parents get SUPER annoyed when ANYONE looks at their phones, so there are little things I do to help prevent me from getting sucked in/lectured. Sometimes I’ll leave my phone in the other room, or if I need to take photos, I turn my phone on airplane mode, so I don’t see any alerts. If something is urgent, I excuse myself (when I can) and take care of it away from the crowd.
Engage All of Your Senses.
This is tied into not having your phone/a screen/device distracting you. The other day we left the house and I thought I didn’t have my phone with me. Hello, panic. But also….WHY PANIC???!
What did we do before we had screens?
We paid attention and made memories by really experiencing what we were experiencing! When I didn’t have my phone, I remembered that I can make memories in other ways….like paying attention to smells, sounds, environments and visuals. There are smells I still remember from my childhood. What would I ever be able to remember from this period of my life? Who knows!
You don’t always need a photo to prove you were there. Pull out a piece of paper and write down your memory. Better yet, write in a journal.
Focus on Making Good Memories.
How many holiday seasons we get to experience in our lives? This is my 37th Christmas. Each Christmas has been different somehow. Try to make each holiday special so you can remember what happened. Silly photos can help….especially when older relatives are involved. Maybe you want to start a new tradition? Bring something new into the mix.
Sometimes I worry not getting someone the right gift because I put a lot of pressure on myself. But you know what? I can make an effort in engaging in really awesome conversations with people and that can abolish my gift insecurities. Good memories/conversations can last a lifetime!
Steal Time for Yourself.
One of my friends said on Twitter this week that she goes to the movies (secretly!) when she’s out shopping. Another friend of mine just took herself out for a pedicure. I took myself out to breakfast the other morning so I could make TO DO lists without being distracted by all of my work around the house. Figure out what you can do to make yourself feel better during the holidays. It can even be something like reading a book while you’re waiting in your car or taking a hot bath (with bubbles & a cocktail!) at night. When you do take that time for yourself, reall APPRECIATE IT.
Reflect on the Past Year.
With all the rushing around, don’t forget that we’re closing out the year. Give yourself some kudos. WHEW! We made it through another year! Write down some things you learned this year. What are you most proud of? What will you take with you into the new year? I loved watching Marie Forleo’s Year End Review+ I’m planning on working through my 2017 intentions with Chani Nicholas and taking stock of what happened in 2016, during Cooper’s school break. 2016 was a crazy year but still filled with a lot good things. Find the good things!
Do you have any self-care strategies to add? Leave comments below!
Don’t forget to be a good advocate for yourself and have a fantastic holiday!!!
Make these Chocolate Earl Grey Tea Truffles if you:
want to bring someone a nice treat
don’t have much time
want to be mesmerized by the beauty of melted chocolate
want to make something different this year
love Earl Grey Tea
want to make someone happy
want to eat a whole batch of truffles and not share any
love recipes that have 4 ingredients
They’ve got a hint of tea in them and the shortbread cookie crumbs on the outside add a nice buttery crunch. Save a few for your freezer and bring them on out during your afternoon tea. I mean…that’s what I’m gonna do with my leftovers. You do you.
Living in the house I grew up in means that at times, completely out of nowhere, I’ll randomly have memories (good and bad) trickle through into my everyday life.
The holidays trigger so many memories while I’m decorating our house.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandparents. I wish I could ask them a whole bunch of things. Questions that I only know to ask because I have more perspective in my life. Like…grown up conversations! I’d ask my grandpa what he liked to take pictures of on his Rolleiflex he gifted me. I wish more than anything that I could see my other grandpa watch Cooper play baseball. But they are gone and here we are.
This year I teamed up with Pier 1 again for my holiday decor. I used some of the items from last year, a few new pieces and a couple of meaningful little trinkets to honor my family who is no longer with us.
My grandpa used to dress up as Santa and sit on this fireplace (I was always terrified of Santa) with us kids hanging off of him.
I’ll have to dig up a picture. 80s fashions are unbelievable.
Both of my grandpa’s first names start with A.
Andrew and Armand.
I cut fresh clippings from our trees outside for the mantle.