OH BABY TIS THE SEASON FOR THIS THERAPY
With the holidays in full swing, sometimes the flurry of expectations, activities, and obligations can hit us smack dab between the eyes. Have you found yourself experiencing greater pain, frustration, or overwhelm at this time of year? And, there’s NO time to care for yourself, right?
I have two words for you: BABY YOURSELF!
Imagine this. You’ve got a newborn at home. The child is wet, hungry, and crying her lungs out. Would you say, “If only I had the time. I’m too busy. Her needs will just have to wait.”
That would be unthinkable (not to mention abusive). You’d likely put the baby’s needs first for the following four reasons.
#1 — The baby can’t care for herself
#2 — If you don’t do it, no one else will
#3 — If you ignore the issue it won’t go away
#4 — In fact, if you ignore the issue, it’ll only get worse
But we’re discussing the holidays, right? At this particular time of year, we begin the season feeling giddy with a sense of all things bright and cheery. We enjoy excitement, anticipation, and holiday exhilaration. Then comes trepidation as we imagine the enormous amount of work ahead. Baking, decorating, mailing, shopping, parties all lie ahead in a schedule of family fun. But the same activities also bring a measure of stress, sleepless nights, and worry that can leave us feeling exhausted and depleted of energy. Add the day-to-day struggle of chronic illness to this seasonal whirlwind and I’ve just painted a picture that you know by heart.
So, what do babies have to do with keeping us in the holiday swing?
Here’s a fact: Babies don’t ask for help, they demand it. And, they usually get it, right? We, on the other hand, not only don’t demand help … we don’t even ask for it!
If you don’t demand (at least to yourself) that self-care comes first,
then how else will it happen?
Obviously, your self-care activities can’t always be absolutely first, but they do need to move toward the top of your priority list.
Take a second look at the reasons why you’d put a baby’s needs first as mentioned above. See how items #2-#4 apply every bit as much to you as they do for a baby.
#2 — If you don’t make it a priority to care for yourself (a little holiday R&R), then who will? Do you only get rest if someone jumps in and tells you that you need it?
#3 — If you ignore your fatigue, increased pain, headaches, etc, will they go away? Of course not!
#4 — If you ignore your symptoms long enough – and continue doing what makes them worse – they intensify and multiply, don’t they?
And, what about reason #1? It’s actually the most important of all.
#1 – Unlike an infant, you CAN take care of yourself. You CAN take the steps necessary to put your health first. See the following tips to take the first steps.
1) ADVANCED PLANNING: Making lists and planning ahead is essential for holiday survival. Planning your dinner menus, guest lists, and grocery lists ahead of time will save energy in the long run. Make sure to have nutritious meals and snacks planned and ready to go. Consider wrapping as you shop. Don’t let wrapping become an all-night marathon session on Christmas Eve (unless that’s fun for you!). Enlist friends and/or family members to help. Can you let some things go? What if you decide not to host the Christmas dinner? You may just find it necessary to level with your family and tell them exactly what you need. Sometimes others assume that just because we look all right (and don’t complain), that we must feel all right. Not so!
2) EMBRACE THE IMPERFECTIONS: Let it be enough to love and enjoy spending time with your family. Unrealistic expectations are often a source of disappointment and discontent. Your holiday events will never be perfect. The turkey may come out too dry, the gingerbread cookies too moist. The cat may throw up after nibbling on pine needles. You may forget to purchase a gift for someone on your list. Accepting these mishaps — prior to them happening — allows a little latitude and room for forgiveness in the stress department. Remember: You can’t please everyone all of the time. It’s okay to say no. Most of all, approach all of your holiday festivities with a sense of gratitude and thankfulness. This is the best gift you can give to yourself and to everyone else.
3) PLAN YOUR RELAXATION: Plan ahead to care for yourself. Mark your calendar with times and dates of your fitness routines. Make moving your body on a regular basis a non-negotiable. Participating in soothing, relaxing meditative activities such as deep breathing, tai chi, qigong, and restorative yoga can be particularly helpful. Walk outdoors for an added serotonin lift as well as a vitamin D boost. Schedule time with friends and do things you enjoy. Schedule personal activities such as massages, haircuts, manicures, etc, so they’re not an after-thought or missed because of a time crunch. Get to bed a little earlier at night. And, allow yourself the time you need to wind-down beforehand.
The only way that self-care fits into our busy plans
is when we MAKE It FIT.
Want a final holiday relaxation tip?
Turn off your phone, turn up your favorite holiday tunes, and dance like crazy. (Santa suit and beard – optional.)
Now, that’s how to baby yourself!
Got holiday relaxation tips of your own? Please share below!