There is so much good that occurs during the holidays: acts of service, moments of connection, moving beyond ourselves to love more deeply and show up with more kindness. Adding good self-care to the list will benefit everyone around you.
For some, the holidays stir up mixed feelings. Maybe seeing family triggers painful memories and hurt feelings. Or, perhaps a holiday song causes regret and a feeling of loss. Routines get turned on end. People sleep less and eat more. And, even if you took good care of yourself, odds are you were affected in some way. Misunderstandings and miscommunications can happen and, to complicate matters, traumatic events that occurred long ago hover beneath the surface (whether you remember the events or not).
Inner Kiddo Needs You!
Ideally, each year you determine what better self-care means to you, and you follow through. As you ask for what you need and honor your feelings, you show your inner child that you are reliable – that you will protect him or her when maybe he or she was not protected from emotional turmoil as a child. You being there for you maybe seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many people override their own needs just to please others or to avoid conflict – even if it is just mild discomfort.
What it means to take care of yourself is different for everyone. For some it might mean staying home for the holidays or spending it with friends. It might mean telling people you don’t eat sugar, or maybe you’re not drinking alcohol now. It might mean renting a car rather than relying on others to drive you around. Or perhaps you decide to buy fewer gifts. You might even require the support of a counselor to process and resolve some of the bigger feelings coming up.
Make that Year Round
This doesn’t just apply to the holidays. Taking care of yourself is important year round, because it gives friends and family permission to take care of themselves too. It gives you more energy to show up, because you won’t be showing up out of obligation.
Some people may feel disappointed or uncomfortable as a result of your choices. The people who truly love you will be thinking about you as well as themselves, and they will support you. Well, then again, people who love you might not support you initially. But as you stand firm in your newfound self-care, ultimately, they will benefit from your example and self-awareness.
When people honor their feelings, they feel less resentment and are more emotionally available in general.