As the holidays are approaching, we get so swamped with the pressure of getting everything right and perfect (i.e. shopping for the right gift, preparing the right dinner, and getting everything done right before we head out for holidays…), we lose sight of the true meaning behind it all.
When you take care of yourself, you have the space, time, and understanding of what it means to take care of others. If you get too tired, too stressed, and too frustrated (especially in the holidays), you are not your optimal self to take care of others. Soon, your ‘caregiving/caretaking’ may become resentful.
Thus, self-care is a vital gift, almost like the air you breathe, you give to yourself and to others.
Here are three “Rs” to Self-Care: Use (or try to use) time to reflect, rejoice and relax.
Reflect. As the year 2016 is coming to a close, it is a good time to reflect on what you’ve done and what you look forward to the new year 2017. What worked, what didn’t, and what could have been better and what are some things that just wouldn’t have mattered … Systematic reflection is a healthy way to grow independently and creatively. You know yourself the best and you will be spending the most time (pretty much, the entire time, unless you were in a coma and had forgotten your own existence) with yourself than with anyone else – so get to know yourself better.
Rejoice. Take time to enjoy your wins – big or small. Enjoy your health, your body, your mind, and your breath. Sometimes, we compare ourselves to others as a measuring stick to improve ourselves. Instead, take a close look at your presence moment, and observe all of your ‘presents’. Thank you for the legs that get me out of bed so I can walk. Thank you for my eyes to see this beautiful morning. Thank you for families and friends in my life that are reflection of my inner world. Thank you, Life.
Relax. It is sometimes difficult to have time for oneself while our society has marketed these holidays as a time to ‘buy, buy, buy’… It is hard to even enjoy shopping for loved ones when there is time pressure, financial pressure, and people pressure (you know, the folks who kill for that parking space!). Remember to carve time for self-care in micro moments. Yes, it is possible.
Here are some micro moments of relaxation:
- While you wait for the long line to pay for gifts during this crazy shopping season, listen to the favorite ebook/audio tape. You’re already in line, so the probability of bumping into anyone or getting yourself in trouble is very low. You just need to keep your eyes alert to move forward. You can block out the noise and enjoy these few minutes of silence with your favorite ebook, podcasts, and even music.
- Sleep 15 minutes earlier and get up 15 minutes earlier, and enjoy this quiet moment for yourself. I meditate everyday, even if it is just one-minute meditation. Set your timer for one minute and close your eyes. Envision how your morning will be – peaceful. Then, let all thoughts (negative thoughts especially) float away from your mind. Find comfort in this space that you have claimed as yours.
- While you eat your meal, take the time to really enjoy your meal with all your five senses. No one can take this moment from you. This is called mindful eating. Listen to the sound of the chewing, observe the colors of the food on your plate, and take a deep sniff of the aroma from your food. Then, if you have any leftover from your plate, be a kid or baby again – touch your food, look at it, and feel the texture of the food. Revisit your childlike wonders.
Self-care is vital to your health and well-beings of others. When you are well-taken of, you have the energy, capacity, and the desire to care and plus, you’ll be a more pleasant person to be cared for.