Any event, whether positive or negative, can have an impact on a person’s level of stress and can even temporarily deplete health and energy. While Christmas has long been a stress-inducing event, it has taken a back seat lately to other factors that have become big stressors of modern times.
Time will generally allow for a full recovery, but if these events are significant, largely out of our control, and seem to have no end like the global pandemic we have been living for two years, it is important that you practice good habits to strengthen your resistance and have good mental health.
Years ago, a therapist I was seeing gave me a prescription for self-care which required that I do 5 things a day for me. This was probably a prescription he was handing out to any one showing symptoms of being a classic run-down mom juggling social pressures, family obligations and work-life balance. The most revealing part of the exercise was that I had no idea what qualified as activities that were exclusively for my pleasure, let alone coming up with 5 of them.
Things that bring you pleasure can be activities that are relaxing or calming, or it can be something that is intellectual, spiritual or physical. It can even be something practical – doing something that you need to get done like cleaning out a closet, if it will bring you peace of mind.
Since then, I have become very good at having a self-care routine, and can easily incorporate 5 self-care activities into my day, – no problem!
If you think you are hearing a lot more about self-care in the last few years you are right – it is a top google search in fact. Just in case you are struggling coming up with ideas for yourself, I have compiled a list and it is my gift to you.
By the way, self-care is not synonymous with self-indulgence or being selfish. Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you are well, and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day, including your job and caring for others.
Twenty Two Gifts of Self-Care this Christmas and Always
- Take a nap
- Go outside and get some fresh air. Inhale deeply and repeat.
- Drink your water – at least 64 ounces of it daily
- Meditate – quiet the mind, breathe and invite gentle healing
- Be grateful – everyday, twice a day, for the little things and the big things. Express sincere satisfaction for your many blessings.
- Eat well – top of the list really. Self care begins with chosing healthy foods that are good for you and give you energy and good health.
- Disconnect from social media – put the phone away when out with friends, or give yourself one day away from social media to experience a day without distractions.
- Develop a work out routine – exercise needs to be part of the day and if you’re new to it, it may be more of a hardship than a gift, but trust me on this, daily exercise is the greatest gift to yourself. Start with a walk around the block.
- Make a self-care kit for your car. Mine includes hand lotion, a nail file, sanitizer, lip moisturizer, emergency snack such as nuts and water, and mints.
- Celebrate and treat yourself to a coffee or tea from a drive-up window. Pay it forward by paying for the order of the person next in line and get a really good boost of serotonin in the process
- Start journaling. Even if you think you have nothing to write about, just put pen to paper and write down the words that come to mind. Let thoughts flow freely and you may be surprised at what your inner voice will tell you.
- Chose quality items for yourself – you are worthy of high quality and don’t always need to chose the good value brand. Once in a while, allow yourself to get the name brand.
- Watch tv guilt free – never mind that there is something you should be doing. Allow yourself that 30-60 minutes of viewing time if its something you look forward to every day or week.
- Have fun – play games with your family, or online with a community of like-minded players. Just remember that its a game.
- A soothing bath or shower or soak in the hot tub if you are lucky enough to have one.
- Adopt a bed time ritual for better sleep
- Chose a space in your home that everyone agrees is your space, and make it be a place you can retreat to once a day, surround yourself with things that bring you joy.
- Connect with people you love – sending a text, or calling a friend even if its just to say good morning or share something quick.
- Give back -drop off a donation at the food bank, give blood, volunteer locally, there are so many ways to help others around you, in line with the level of commitment you can make
- Its ok to say no – this is important. You don’t have to accept every invitation, or request for help. You need to prioritize your time and yourself.
- Learn something new – anything can be learned online these days. YouTube and other platforms will teach you anything from fixing a leak to quilting.
- Aromatherapy – there are some scents that are pleasing to the mind, and can enhance your mood, or be soothing. Citrus scents can be energizing, lavender can be calming. Its worth exploring
There are so many ways that you can devote time to yourself in the day that doesn’t require much effort, or money. I chose twenty-two because we are the 22nd day of December – and because I can! You may want to sing along to the radio, break out in a dance while doing dishes, wave to people or smile at strangers. Doing any of these things will make you feel good and take your focus away – even temporarily – from what might be adding needless stress to your life. Enjoy the day!