We all think of Christmas as a time for giving to others. And that’s nice, it really is, but when did you last give to yourself? Not necessarily a material gift, but time to yourself or with a rarely seen loved one, fun, nurturing things?
We often forget about ourselves and fret instead about the people we love. Are we not allowed to love ourselves?
(Yes we are!).
And what if we were as nice and generous to ourselves as we are to others? What would that feel like?
In the first and second Christmas sanity posts I looked at how difficult Christmas can be financially and emotionally, and highlighted some of the problems I hear about most often at this time of year. It is VERY difficult to be upbeat, positive and jolly when we’re feeling emotionally, physically and financially drained.
Here’s an analogy that I think will make sense to you. I use it a lot and I recently discovered that my partner on TwoWiseChicks often uses this one with her clients too: When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant gives instruction to put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others (even your own children).
If you run out of oxygen, you cannot help anyone else. We just cannot give to others when we don’t have anything to give.
Here are some ways to keep your reserves up:
1: Get yourself something small, (or big…) anything, even a nice note with kind words, wrap it, put it under the tree if you have one, and WAIT until Christmas day to open it.
2: Arrange some time alone. This might seem impossible, but it probably is possible. You may have to ask for help. Maybe that’s the hard part. But would you do it for someone else?
Hmm?? Ya.. you probably would..
You deserve it too.
Even if this is just an hour away for a walk or hiding in your bathroom( I know you do it!). Preferably the walk though. Exercise does enhance the mood!
3: Call or facetime or skype a friend for a chat. An actual phone call, not a text, not a PM, a DM, a SnapChat, not an email. We have become accustomed to not making real contact with people. Social media is, for many, a substitute for human contact. The online world has its benefits of course, you’re online right now! (and reading this is great right? ;)) But it can become an isolating habit. Do yourself (and a friend) a favour and give yourselves and each other the lovely gift of real contact. Of course real-er still is face to face, and that may not be possible. ‘Phones are the next best thing.
4: Give something away. Charitable work / donations, time volunteering or doing something for an elderly or ill neighbor – you choose. (Make sure it doesn’t compromise you – only give cash if you can afford it for example). We know now that giving things enhances our mood. It feels good to give.
5: Appreciate what you have. Take some time to look around and be aware of what’s working in your life, in your body. Gratitude is another thing that enhances our mood – let yourself feel it. We tend to focus on what we don’t have – has that ever made you feel fabulous?
6: If you feel sad, and many of us do at Christmas, let yourself feel your feelings without being angry with yourself for not feeling ‘festive’. It IS an emotional time, especially if you are grieving or have experienced any kind of loss. So mind yourself and do not judge you.
Would you judge someone else for being sad?
7: Ignore the TV. Seriously. You are going to be bombarded by adverts telling you that you ‘need’ things for the ‘holiday’ season. None of it is true. You choose what you want. What you need is a whole other story and you can’t buy that from a catalog.
Indeed, you probably already have what you need. I wish you all a healthy and happy Christmas – mind your lovely hearts and heads and see you in 2015!
Feel free to sign up over there on the right for new posts as I write them – or scroll down if you’re on your phone or tablet!