“Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first; it means me too.”
Imagine having a self-nurtured holiday. Have you ever heard or read those words together? More often than not we think about the holidays as an opportunity to nurture others. We may focus on gift giving, holiday parties, and reaching out to family and friends to let them know we love and care about them. And although for some the holidays may be filled with family, friends, festivities and fun, for others the holidays can be a stressful and challenging time highlighting loss, disappointment, loneliness, and unmet expectations. In truth many of us experience a combination of these two, especially during the pandemic.
So what would it mean to make this holiday a self-nurtured holiday and transform the stress and overwhelm into peace and joy? Whether you have waited all year long for the holidays or can’t wait for them to be over nurturing yourself is the key. When you choose to have a self-nurtured holiday you focus on what you have control of and bring the spirit of self-nurturing to all you do whether solo or in community.
Here are six practices to have a self-nurtured holiday:
1. Make a choice to have a self-nurtured holiday –
We have the power to transform our “have to” mindset to a “choose to” mindset by changing our language. Begin by including the word choose this holiday season whether it has to do with activities, what you are cooking, or who you are spending time with. When you use the word choose you can transform the feeling of obligation or “I should” into an empowering experience. By choosing to have a self-nurtured holiday you will make decisions that include your wants and needs along with those that you love. Using the word “choose” can empower and uplift you and highlight those things you may decide to choose not to do, giving you the opportunity to set boundaries and say no to things not in alignment with your self-nurtured holiday. As Brene Brown reminds us, “Daring to set boundaries is loving yourself enough to risk disappointing others.”
2. Set an intention for your holiday –
Intention defines what is important to us and supports us in creating that reality. Spend some time defining your intention, like my holiday is filled with peace, love and joy, and then transfer your intention to a post-it note, index card, art paper, or create a design on your computer and keep it visible. Our intention focuses our attention on what is important to us and reinforces choice.
3. Give yourself permission to nurture yourself daily –
Really embrace the wisdom that you can be more loving, compassionate and generous when you are filled up and can give from the overflow in your saucer. Giving yourself permission to nurture yourself daily is the foundation of your ability to have a self-nurtured holiday and live out your intention. If writing yourself a permission slip is supportive write it out and have it visible when you are planning your schedule. I put sacred self-nurturing on my calendar every day as a reminder of its importance and that it is non-negotiable in my day.
4. Create a list of self-nurturing practices for your Mind/Body/Spirit –
Having a list of ways to nurture yourself will support you in creating more ease and grace around the holidays. Remember self-nurturing is not just a solo act and can be engaged in with your partner, family, friends, or in community. As you create a mind/body/spirit self-nurturing practice list you have options of ways to nurture myself at your fingertips and may find that one activity or practice fits into each category which makes it even more nurturing! Here are some ideas to get you started
Mind: daily mindful check-in with yourself, affirmations, meditation, self-compassion, gratitude practice, self-nurturing holiday plan, listening to an audio book, journal, write yourself a love note, acknowledge yourself each day, play a game
Body: exercise/mindful movement, yoga, nourishing food, intentional relaxation, being playful, dancing, taking walks in nature
Spirit: activities that bring me joy, gratitude practice, meaningful connection with family/friends/community, uplifting music, being creative
5. Commit to checking in with yourself regularly –
Make it a habit of checking in with yourself throughout the day, to tune into how you are feeling, what you need and what would be the most nurturing thing you can do for yourself in this moment. You can use the STOP analogy – stop, take a breath, observe, and then proceed or create a mindful pause ritual. When you pause to check in you have all the information you need to make intentional self-nurturing choices this holiday season.
6. Celebrate your nurturing choices daily –
One way to support having a self-nurtured holiday is to acknowledge yourself each and every day for your nurturing choices and celebrate yourself. If you have a gratitude practice include acknowledgement each day and see how your motivation and commitment grow as you recognize and celebrate your choices.
Adding these self-nurturing practices to your holiday will allow you embody more love, joy, and meaning this season. Remember that creating a self-nurtured holiday means inviting in a nurturing spirit to this holiday season, treating yourself with compassion and loving kindness, and choosing to remain filled up by nurturing yourself throughout. You have the choice! Make the decision today and feel the healing ripples of nurturing throughout your life as a result!
May you choose a self-nurtured holiday to nurture peace in the world from the inside out!
Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,
KELLEY GRIMES, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker