Christmas is now over and for the most part the busyness of the season is also over. I am very intentional about celebrating Christmas in the foundation that it is a time to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. And it fills me with joy and hope. That being said, this Christmas season was insanely busy. Not only because I worked long hours, but Christmas just sneaked on me. Countless amounts of cookies, lots of wrapping and school and church commitments, we celebrated with joy and welcomed Jesus into the world.
Next day I was exhausted. Like literally-- my legs and heels hurt from walking around and standing up preparing Christmas Day dinner for seven + a dog. But things had to get done. Or so I thought. I was so exhausted that even the hairs in my head were tired. Finally I told hubby I was done for the day and basically spent the day in my PJs and relaxing in bed. Normally I would feel guilty about it but not this time. I worked hard and deserved this little reward.
I read a while back that self-care is a luxury that is the most easily available yet we take for granted. And it makes absolute sense. For some insane reason we love to glamorize being busy. It is as if by saying "Gosh, I am just so busy" we seem more important. And we are not. Taking care of ourselves should be our number one priority.
Yes-- you heard me right: taking care of yourself should be first. I learned this the hard way a few moths after I became my dad's caregiver. After months of not taking care of myself, I developed a 48 hrs illness that was like combining the symptoms of flu and food poisoning. NOT FUN. And it took a caregiver support group I was part of to point out the importance of self-care.
It is NOT selfish; it is taking care of yourself, and refreshing your body and spirit. You cannot pour from an empty cup to offer to others. Do not feel guilty about putting your self-care first. it is necessary if we want to take good care of others. And by self-care I do not mean a day at the spa every week (although that would be amazing). Caring for yourself is as easy as having a cup of tea in the quiet or propping your feet up for a few minutes before the next meeting. But whatever you do make sure it leaves you feeling refreshed and happy. if only for a few moments before you face the hustle and bustle of life. Here are some other ideas I personally like:
- Massage (no brainer here)
- 10-minute power nap. I love power naps because they leave me feeling energized and alert.
- Do something that makes you happy-- walk barefooted in the grass, take a hike on a freshly snowed path, snuggle with your pup. If it makes you happy, do it.
- Be a goofball. Never underestimate the power of laughing and being silly. For me, belting out a song while using my brush as a mic always leaves me feeling happy.
- Pray (or meditate). Whichever works for you do it intently and be in the moment.
- Disconnect to find yourself. Just unplug for 1-2 hours. No electronics, no phones. Just be and you will see how you will focus on other things that you never noticed before.
- Treat yourself. Whether a mani/pedi, an indulgent ice cream or a back massage, do something to treat yourself for all your hard work.
- Exercise or make changes to your diet.
- Read a book you have been dying to read. Pour yourself into every page.
- Make a list of the things that you are thankful for. It really puts everything into perspective.
In the you will find that you are more self-aware, you learn to enjoy the little things, and will feel more energized and tuned in with the world. Remember, the more you care about yourself, the happier you will be. Be blessed.