The holiday season is upon us, fast and furious like a tidal wave force. Sometimes we feel like we don’t have control over the hustle and bustle and yet we want to slow down to be present and enjoy it.
With so many activities, and lights, and selection of Christmas cookies we often reach for the external things around us to bring us that feeling of Joy. And they may, for a brief moment until we begin feeling overwhelmed and depleted with trying to keep up.
Do you want to experience more JOY this holiday season? Which item from the list below do you think would lead you to your best Christmas ever? (Keep reading, you might be surprised!)
- Receive more gifts
- More time off
- More quality time with valued Friends & Family
- Less to do
- Less rushing
- More self-love actions
- Feel more relaxed and less stressed out
- Big bonus from work
As I tally up the votes, I wonder how many of us would choose “self-love” as our #1 way to experience more Joy.
Self-love and Christmas never seem to synchronize up together as we tend to focus less on self-care around this time of year. Practicing self-love during the holiday season is a difficult assignment and generally gets pushed to the sidelines as we try to meet all the other agendas filling our schedules. This is the time of year where our already busy schedules are flooded with a million other tasks and to-do’s and then we miss out on experiencing the JOYs of the present moment.
So, what exactly is self-love and why is it important, especially during the holiday season?
Self-love is showing appreciation to yourself in how you take care of your emotional, physical and spiritual needs. It’s unique to you and not what anyone else is doing. When you hold yourself in high regard and align your actions, you will begin to feel more at peace and in control of your life.
Self-love is important because in our daily lives we are always pouring out until we eventually become empty. We all have people and situations that require us to function around meeting needs and pleasing others, and we pour out more than we have to give. Just like the gas tank in our car, we must stop and fill up. NO one else can fill your cup but you. Oftentimes we are running on fumes and aren’t even aware of why we feel and act the way we do.
Yet, it is essential to pay attention to the “signals” from your mind and body. Here are some common ones you may hear or feel when you’re not practicing self-love.
- My life is so busy I don’t know how I can fit everything in, I am going to be so stressed!
- I’m so distracted that I can’t enjoy the important things that I look forward to.
- My life sucks rights now…
- Having a tough time sleeping. I wake up thinking about my to-do list.
- “I’m exhausted and irritable.”
- I’ve stopped exercising and not eating well.
- Stomach issues, frequent colds, headaches, tightness in shoulders and neck.
The holiday ramp up is here. Now is the time to be more intentional and incorporate some healthy self-love practices into your day. Here are some tips to apply that will help you enjoy your holiday season, feel more present, and focus on who and what is most important to you.
SELF LOVE TIPS:
Self-Love Tip #1: Define Your Reason for the Season! Make a verbal or written commitment to yourself about how you want to feel and experience the holidays this year and how you will accomplish it. Studies show that our commitment level is higher when we write out our intentions and create reminders to make it happen!
Do it today and let it be your daily reminder of not only what you are doing, but more importantly HOW you are doing it. You decide what your attitude and spirit will be about each day’s to-do list and activities. Align your intentions with action and be mindful during the day of how you are doing. Just know that you may have to do some “redirecting” of your thought traffic!! Defining your reason is a gamechanger for your holiday!
Self-Love Tip #2: Learn HOW to say NO and WHEN to say YES. Give yourself permission to say NO to some things. There’s a good chance you’ll get multiple invites, your list will keep growing, or you will feel obligated because “it’s something you always do.” Be realistic about your timeframe for the day. Don’t over commit and hope you can squeeze it all in. Just because you have done something every year doesn’t mean you have to now. If it is something that doesn’t serve you well anymore then you may consider passing on it. Say YES to the things that will help you create meaningful experiences with less stress over this holiday season! Say YES to YOU, and YES to making healthy choices starting right now this year! You will increase the amount of high regard you have for yourself!
Self-Love Tip #3: Pray first, give your to-do list and your entire day to the Lord. When you feel the stress coming on, stop and breathe and anchor into calming yourself for 5-10 minutes. If you have a super full day ahead of you, set your timer and take mini breaks. Take a walk, stretch, or practice deep breathing. You may be surprised at the benefits of prayer and purposeful breathing and will feel the results at the end of the day.
Self-Love Tip #4: Make time for you! Maybe it’s 15-20 minutes with a visit to Starbucks with no one in the car. Listen to your favorite music, a podcast that will lift you up, or a calming audio meditation. Find a book that lifts your spirits. Take a shower and throw on some blush. Look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself that high 5. Spend 10 minutes every night looking over your to-do list and figure out which items would make you feel more accomplished. Sometimes that might mean doing the hard things instead of reaching for the low hanging fruit. You will love yourself more for making better choices.
Self-Love Tip #5: If you are single, suffered a recent loss, have medical issues, or lack a positive social network, this is the time to be more proactive in planning out your schedule. The holidays can be a challenging time for many people and our tendency is to isolate and shut down. Taking time to prepare your heart and mind is about showing love to yourself. Let your friends or co-workers know that you are looking for things to do. Set an intention to not ‘dread’ the holidays, by saying yes to invites. Look for ways to help and serve others. There are a lot of organizations in need of help. This is a terrific opportunity to feel good about yourself and meet new people. Decide today for this Christmas season to be different! Write it down on an idea board and take action!
Self-Love Tip #6: Manage your time well and be mindful of distraction. Be cautious of people-pleasing and procrastination. Oftentimes those actions don’t align with your goal. Set your intentions the night before and stay on track with your priorities. Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today. Your goal is to feel good about how you’ve invested your time.
“Talk to yourself like someone you love.” –Brene Brown
Self-Love Tip #7: Most of all, speak kindly to yourself. Show yourself grace and give gratitude to God for what you do have and what you are able to do. Replace any negative thought patterns by affirming positive thoughts about yourself. Fill in the blank…I AM__________. Speak this over yourself daily. Pause and feel kindness and love towards yourself…sit with it. When you begin by filling your cup with kindness, it will overflow to those around you.
Start your holiday commitment to yourself by choosing one or two of these tips and incorporate them into your daily routine. Notice how you feel everyday as you show kindness and high regard to yourself. As you get better at loving yourself well you will show up in a healthier state of mind. You will be more prepared for what the day holds, more equipped to soak in the experience of the moments in front of you. These actions will begin to fill your cup and allow you to manage your daily lifestyle with less stress and more joy. Let this be the year you enjoy the holidays in a memorable way.
About the Authors:
Carol Burmood is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with LifeImpact Counseling. She is super passionate about helping people discover and bring purpose-and their-dreams-to-real life. With over 20 years of experience, she has a unique style of combining faith and ‘living with intentional strategies to achieve each person’s purpose-driven goals and dreams. She believes everyone is hard wired to become and live the best version of their lives possible and in turn to help others. Carol co-authored MentorUS, a book designed to walk couples through premarital counseling for her church and community and has led various personal growth groups and provided mentoring. Carol lives in Florida with Dean, her husband of 23 years, and near their daughter, son-in-law and three “amazing” grandchildren.
Desiree Smith-Collis is a mother, Certified Life Coach, Certified Yoga Instructor, and unceasing seeker of knowledge. She graduated magna cum laude from University of South Florida with a degree in Social Work and has always had a heart for helping people strive to find their full potential. She is on a mission to share her hard-earned knowledge in a practical and relevant way to impact those who seek to transform their mind, body, and spirit. Desiree’s heart for people is to help them discover and visualize how to move forward from where they are in their current life and step into a future of utilizing all their gifts and talents and their full potential. She currently resides in Florida with her three children.
Content above written by guest authors, speakers and life coaching experts Carol Burmood and Desiree Smith-Collis for Destination Tampa Bay™. We recently featured their amazon best-selling book You Are Here. These two Tampa Bay women authors have written a life-changing new self-help book that was inspired by their belief that each person is able to pursue greatness and to impact their part of the world. YOU ARE HERE (click for details) is a guide for people who are feeling stuck or unfulfilled and who want to move beyond their current reality but don’t know where to start.