I’ve learned that self-care really starts with self-conversations. Connecting with yourself and having a conversation with yourself starts everything. To be able to take care of yourself, soothe yourself, release stress, re-align with your goals and desires, set healthy boundaries, rest when needed, release limiting beliefs, and so much more, really starts with speaking to yourself. Also, it’s about how you speak to yourself, how often, and what you do with that information.
Self-care is so much more than sheet masks and detox juices. Self-care is setting healthy boundaries with a family member who regresses you to feeling like a child unable to stand up for themselves. Self-care is saying no to a co-worker who always asks for help because they are “swamped” when you know they aren’t pulling their weight and ask at the last minute because you always say yes. Self-care is saying no to going out with the girls on Thursday night because you have other financial priorities (notice I didn’t say can’t afford it, how you speak to yourself matters) and you have a presentation Friday morning that you want to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for. Self-care is so many things.
Why is it important to practice self-care?
Self-care is important because it is how you prioritize taking care of yourself in a world that is often trying to give you doubts, weaken your confidence, and put ideas in your head about who you should be and what you should or should not do.
Self-care is taking care of yourself, making sure that your cup is overflowing so that you are able to have what you desire, show up how you desire, offer to others what you desire, and be the highest and greatest version of self.
How does it affect all areas of your life?
Self-care affects every other area of your life. Just like the flight attendants say, put on your own mask before helping others. You have to take care of yourself. You have to talk to yourself, make yourself aware of your thoughts, work through those thoughts, to achieve the life you desire. Without setting aside time to figure out what your own self-care is and then following through with action around it, you aren’t able to show up to your life as the best version of yourself. When you offer your best version, the universe responds to you and you continue to manifest better and better things.
What are your recommended ways to practice self-care during the holiday season?
My first suggestions for self-care is always personal practice. What is it that you do on a (pretty) regular basis that is about you, that creates the space for you to have that conversation with yourself.
Here are a few of my favorites to practice during the holidays.
This is a foundational piece for so many of us when we talk about having the conversation with ourselves. Now there are so many different options for what type of meditation to practice but trying out and finding a mediation practice that works for you is huge. Start with 3–5 minutes; it doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time. Set aside this time in the morning, on your lunch, at night, or whenever works for you. Try out a few different kinds, guided, mindfulness, mantra meditation, breath work or embodiment meditations.
Feel free to change it up to allow yourself to find what feels good. Starting to converse with yourself during meditation is a powerful self-care practice. I adore the app, Insight Timer, if you haven’t checked it out, it’s an awesome, free meditation app.
Boundaries are important, specially with so many family activities going on. Boundaries are a huge part of the holiday season for myself and so many of my clients. Is there a certain snide comment that your mother always makes about your pie, or an aunt that always asks you when you are going to get a “real” job, or maybe a cousin who wants to compare and compete. Take some time to really think through the boundaries you desire to have this holiday season, meditate or journal on them.
Then ask yourself these questions:
How do I show up with these boundaries?
What would I do or say if I have this clear boundary?
Envision your boundaries as a physical boundary. Can you picture a moat around you or a firm stone wall?
What do I do when I start to feel these boundaries being encroached upon?
Doing this before the get together will really support you in being prepared to keep your boundaries and will change your entire holiday experience!
Re-align to feeling good
I know this one sounds kinda cheesy, but this changed my life. If you make one shift in your life, let it be this. Focus on feeling good. If the things you are doing, the people you share your time with, the job you have, the food you eat, the music you listen to, (you get the picture but etc), don’t make you feel good, then pivot.
When you start to focus on what feels good, allowing more of that into your life and cutting out what doesn’t feel good; you start to create vibrational alignment to what feels good, calling in more and more of that good.
Have you ever noticed how when one thing goes wrong and you feel into that wrong thing, then more things go wrong? Well the same thing happens with feeling good. So re-focus constantly on what feels good.
Have a list of support items ready to go for when you need it. Here are a few things on my list:
Take a hot bath
Do one minute of breath of fire
Listen to a favorite song
Press on my favorite acupressure spots
Watch the Kristen Bell sloth video
Whenever I get stuck and need to refocus on feeling good, I check out my list and take action.
I know this might sound like a teenage girl with a diary, but journaling is a powerful practice. The act of writing out what you think, feel, desire, or need to release is extremely supportive in accomplishing those goals.
Some of us work best with prompts and others work best with stream of consciousness writing. Several of my clients carve out time for journaling as a stand alone practice, and others journal after meditation or a grounding practice of some sort, to help them identify messages, direction, and downloads. If you aren’t sure where to start, try these options.
Write out what you want your day to be like.
Write about something that you need to release (a bad habit, an ex, anxiety, a fear, etc) then crumple it up and throw it out, or cross it out, or burn it.
Create some positive affirmations for yourself (things you desire to believe and feel as true in your life).
Self-care rituals/practices to prepare for the new year
Express gratitude for this year
A great way to prepare for the new year is to feel into and take some time to express gratitude for the past year. This opens the channels for even more things to be grateful for in 2020 and it is a great practice to look back and remind ourselves of all the amazing things from the past year.
Create a desires list
Start putting together what you desire for this next year. Have fun! You can always scratch something out or clarify later. You can always add more and take off things you change your mind on. Focus on the enjoyment around this practice and don’t make it stressful. Consider writing with your favorite pen or adding color, maybe even turn it into a vision board practice. Let your mind wander and dream!
Learn and grow
I always like to look back and make a mental note (or journal) what I learned and how I grew from each year. This allows me to see my progress and often with hardships looking at the takeaways instead of the hardship itself will set you up for feeling really good about how you’ve moved through things.
Clear your living space
Here is one of my favorite physical activities to prepare for the next year. I space clear my entire living space from top to bottom. I cleanse out anything stagnant and anything that no longer serves me. I like to use California White Sage for this major year end cleanse but blue sage, black sage, palo santo, sweet grass, and many other space clearers work well too!
I like to give myself a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive or even something I spend money on, but taking the time to think about what I want to give myself really sets up my next year. I’ve given myself a journal, a spa day, I’ve asked my mother for a sweater of hers to give to myself, a book, an outdoor hike, and many other things.
What are your tips for making time to practice self-care during this busy season?
Tell yourself a new story: “I always have time for my self-care.” So many of us tell ourselves the story that we don’t have time for this or that, and self-care is frequently on that list. When you start to hear that story play in your mind, stop, and tell yourself a new story:
I always have time for self-care.
Self-care is a part of my daily/weekly/monthly life
Self-care is vital and I always have time for it.
Start small. Self-care doesn’t have to be three hours of XYZ everyday. It can be 30 seconds of gratitude in bed before you get up for the day. Self-care can be a minimal time commitment with huge benefits. Try different things out and find what works for you and your schedule. Don’t put pressure on yourself to make your self-care practice look like anyone else’s. Be honest and find what works for you.