We’re all feeling it. Aren’t we? Whether you identify it as the holiday craze, or the end-of-year crunch at work, the state of our nation’s politics, or the Ayurvedic season of Vata, there is a collective frenzy this time of year that is near impossible to avoid. The conversations I have with my Holistic Health Coaching clients, my friends, and my fellow yoga teachers, are similarly marked by a general sense that there is too much to do in not enough time. Too much alcohol and not enough greens. Too many demands and no feasible way to meet them all.
Here is my advice to clients, friends, colleagues, and family alike: take a deep breath, think of 1 or 2 things that make you feel calm or centered, and deeply commit to those forms of self care when you can. It can be as simple as starting your day with a cup of hot water and lemon. Or taking a bath. Maybe it’s reading a few pages of a novel before bed or resolving to drink water instead of alcohol on the nights with no social engagements. Keep the goals simple and small, and then–here’s the most important part–let that be enough. The way that you talk to yourself in a time of high stress will determine how you move through that period. If you beat yourself up for not doing it all, not doing it perfectly, or not doing as much as you “should”, I promise, you’ll perpetuate the stress cycle for longer than you’d like.
So when you drink that cup of hot water with lemon, treat it and acknowledge it as a deep form of nourishment, a simple practice that reminds you, that for at least a few minutes, you did something good for yourself. Because here is the thing: Self Care–this term that we wellness people like to throw around so casually–is not about navel-gazing or self-indulgence. Self Care is about refilling the coffers. You cannot endlessly draw water from a well without it eventually drying up. When you nourish yourself with rest, with compassion, with self love, you replenish your own spirit, and in turn, you have more to give–to your family, your friends, your work, your passions, and your community.
So take a breath, think about your simple acts of self care, commit to them, however small, and let that be enough. If you need some inspiration for an act of care, here’s a tool, from me, for you: 6 minutes of guided meditation to help you drop back into your body when you feel carried off into the fray. All you need is your body, your breath, and an electronic device to play the recording. No other experience necessary.
Wishing you all a very healthy and happy holiday season.