Monday, December 5, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year





Happy Monday, besties!  I hope you all had a great weekend!  Our family picked out our Christmas tree and got most of our decorations up.  My sons are at the age where this time of year is truly magical to them.  As we were decorating the tree last night, my six year old said "I just feel so joyful!"  And my heart was so full.  Kids just know the good stuff is the good stuff.

While I know that many of us do celebrate this as the most wonderful time of the year (when else is it acceptable to rotate watching Home Alone, Christmas Vacation and Elf each night?), for others, this can be a truly difficult time.  Whether you are stressed with all that you have to get done, or are grieving the loss of a loved one, you are not alone.  

Self care is important 365 days a year, in my humble opinion.  However, especially during seasons of stress or sadness, we need to carve out some time for ourselves to relax, recharge,and feel whatever it is we are feeling.  We also need to know that whatever we are feeling is 100% ok.  

Here are my top 4 ways to take care of yourself this holiday season:

1.  Get rid of the word "should" - It really is the worst word out there when it comes to self care.  How many times have you been laying on the couch with a glass of cab, watching Kevin McCallister fervently declare "When I grow up and get married, I'M LIVING ALONE" and suddenly thought: "Ugh.  I shouldn't be laying here.  I should be finishing up that stack of Christmas cards/party invites/shopping lists/gifts to be wrapped/house cleaning.  That word steals our joy.  It takes us out of a perfectly enjoyable act of self care and tells us what we really need to be doing is something else.  Something for someone else.  It is a word that invokes guilt. "What's wrong with me?  I should feel happy right now.  Everyone else seems happy.  I have so much to be thankful for, I should be counting my blessings.  I should care way more about sending those Christmas cards than I actually do." Guilt has no place in self care.  Guilt and Should compare us to others and make us feel inferior.  So BYE, Should.  Every time you catch that sneaky old Should creeping in, notice it and stop it in its tracks.  Replace it with "this is my me time" or "whatever I feel is ok" or "everything will get done eventually...it always does."

2.  Plan, plan, plan - I've been accused of being very  slightly Type A.  It's fine.  I'm fine with it.  But I must say, Type A does have a place when it comes to reducing stress by utilizing a schedule.  I know scheduling isn't everyone's jam, but hear me out.  If you make a list of every single task you need to get done this month, and then schedule a time for each thing to get done, you will not be stressed wondering "when is everything going to get done?"  Because you will already know.  Make a schedule and stick to it as best you can.  And please don't be afraid to look at that big ol' to-do list and cross a few things off that don't bring you joy and aren't really necessary.  Bestie confession:  I never do Christmas cards for that reason.  I love receiving them from family and friends, but I just can't bring myself to do them.  #Selfish.  Mostly it's just so dang expensive.  And people throw them away a month later.  There, I said it.  The point is, you do you.  And make no apologies for it.  I don't!

3.  Schedule in your self care - PLEASE.  I beg you.  If you have a list of 35 things to do for other people, then you should have a list of at least 10 things you are going to do just for you.  Now, don't hate...I'm not just trying to make your list longer.  I'm telling you that you can only really give joyfully to others if you are joyful yourself.  So whatever it looks like for you, schedule in some self care.  Some ideas include but are not limited to:  bubble bath with Christmas music and a holiday scented candle, binge watching holiday movies you love, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate or coffee in silence just sitting in a comfortable place being cozy, calling a friend or family member you haven't spoken to in a while just to catch up.  Again, do you.  But schedule it.  Because I doubt it will happen otherwise (we're besties, so I have to be honest).

4.  Connect with people you love - Not just a text. Not just a snapchat.  Preferably in person, but a phone call or FaceTime will do.  We need people.  Even the most introverted amongst us needs connection.  We were made for it.  We don't need more time scrolling through Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest (well maybe Pinterest is ok! ;) ).  We need more time appreciating our loved ones, making memories, and laughing, crying, and connecting together.  Whatever it looks like for you, be with your loved ones and savor every minute when you do.

There you have it, besties.  My hope and prayer for you is that your holiday season is full of love, joy, comfort, and peace.  I hope you know that you are worthy of time just for you and only when our own cup is full can it "runneth over" to fill the cups of others.  

Lots of love,

Cath





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