’tis the season.
you know, for moderately- to flat-out-filled social calendars, dipping into credit lines, indulging in gastronomic delights and potent potables (thank you Alex Trebek), and increased familial/colleagial/bestie demands.
so, you may just find yourself caught up in the festive frenzy, like i am wont myself. eating more — of what you should or perhaps more of what you shouldn’t, or but more nonetheless — sipping too many cocktails or eggnog lattes, shorting yourself on sleep. you know, not finding time in each day for you, for your usual withdraw & rejuvenate rituals. maybe you even allow that self-critical soundtrack in your head to loop on about how you aren’t looking after yourself, just crashing through the season to burn out in the aftermath.
what’s to be done about it then? how do you remain patient and feel peaceful, stay connected to the joy that lives within you? how do you look after your self?
to yourself. first thing in the morning give voice to loving yourself, really caring about yourself. set an intention for one act of self-kindness during the day. be specific about it. i will take 10 minutes away from that pile of reports/laundry/dishes to meditate/breathe/walk. i will go to bed 10 minutes earlier than usual tonight. i will take a long soak in a sweetly fragranced tub this evening. i will make sure i drink plenty of water today. and, whenever you notice that you are not being kind to yourself, smile at your folly and set out again.
- to others. stop by the local humane society with a donation of cat food. make a double portion of supper and bring one portion to a neighbour. stop by a friend’s office with a freshly brewed cup of tea – stay and chat a while. smile and say thank you to every person who serves you today. spend time with someone you haven’t spent enough time with lately. leave a note in a loved one’s pocket.
- maintain your own flair in entertaining, decorating, holidaying. do what comes from your heart not what looks so fabulous in your best friend’s living room. check in with your personal values and allow them to guide your decisions.
- be mindful in your daily activities. the food you prepare is love and nourishment for those who eat it. the staff room counter that you wipe provides space for a co-worker to prepare lunch. a slight hesitation on the gas pedal invites that car to merge in front of you and allows that driver to make the light that brings him/her home sooner to family. even the smallest of acts and what appears to be minor decisions can be offered with great love and thoughtfulness. bringing the intention of service to others into your chores and routines will shift your world.
- practice gratitude. end your day by thinking of three things from the day for which you are grateful. share this gratitude practice with friends or family – make it a lively conversation over the evening meal or when chatting with your cherished friend.
- plan & divvy up duties and responsibilities. well in advance, decide on menus for larger gatherings you might have and create the shopping list. list errands and delegate some of the go-gets. ask for help when you need it. have others feel involved by not doing it all yourself.
- find a chore you enjoy doing and find time to do it by yourself, in an unhurried way.
- let go of the ‘shoulds’, try shrugging off ownership of the judgements of others, relax into the hubbub around you, surrender to grace.
the best that you can offer others is yourself. your self, present.
it isn’t what they unwrap that is most important.
it is you, smiling and ready with a kindness.
it is you, laughing at yourself.
it is you, caught twirling in the music and sparkling in the light.
it is you, mesmerized by the beauty that is them.
this season, do mesmerized and hold joy.