The sprint towards Christmas is now on.  How ready are you for the month of December?  Is your calendar jammed packed with activities, traditions, work-related obligations as well as shopping to dos? How will you intentionally choose self care for the holidays?

Lately, I’ve been noticing how hectic my pace has been. My energy runs out before my to-do list.  I want to intentionally choose self care for the holidays, so that I stay fully present and don’t stress.  I realized recently as I put up  outside decorations with my husband that this hurry and scurry method of mine was increasing my stress.  I was not being aware or intentional of self care to enjoy this usual holiday tradition.

Build in reflection

We chose a beautiful day to work outside.  As I was putting the garland on the front porch, I found myself getting increasing frustrated with how it was turning out.  Have you found yourself in that position?  What is suppose to be fun and enjoyable is causing stress and frustration.  I began to get a headache.

Instead of ploughing through like I would normally do, I took a break.  I could hear old voices in my head saying, “You’ll never figure this out.”  “Who do you think you are?”  “Your brain is so confused.”  I knew those voices were not true, yet old voices die hard.

While I took a break, I took some deep breathes, enjoyed the sunshine, then talked things over with my husband.  He managed to look at the particular area I was having difficulty with and helped me figured out the problem.  I was glad I had asked for help.

Reflecting on that short incident with the decorating helped me realize. with gratitude, several ways I had taken care of myself. I wanted to be sure to capture those moments of actual self care so I could repeat them as the holiday season progressed.

Take a break

When I found myself getting frustrated, I took a break.  I often keep pushing, instead of stopping to take a break.  How about you?  In stopping to take a break and breathe deeply, you allow yourself a chance to listen to your body  When I took a break, I realized how tense my body was getting.

Taking a break also staved off a headache.  Researchers have found that deep breathing slows down your fight or flight response.  When you deep breathe, your thinking reverts back to your pre-frontal cortex to think more clearly.  Deep breathing also allowed me to get some much needed fresh air into my lungs.

Reflect on what you need

Since I was now thinking more clearly, I could reflect on what was causing my frustration.  What could I do to fix my decorating dilemma and where did I need help?  Many times in the past, I would not even consider asking for help.  I often didn’t stop long enough to figure out what I needed help with.  I would plough through and then be mad because no one helped me!

However, yay me!  I looked at where I had been working and figured out what I could do in some places.  I saw I was clearly stumped in another spot.  Again self care meant noticing what I needed.

Ask for help

I then asked my husband to look at the spot where I was stumped to see what he could potentially suggest or help do.  Asking for help is new for me.  I have in my head that I am not to ask for help.  I am the one to do the helping.  In reality, this vulnerability is very freeing and takes great weight off my shoulders.  He is more than willing to help.  It’s been in my head, not in his.  He looked at the trouble spot, saw the difficulty and we got it untangled.

Working together like that felt really good, too.  That kind of self care through vulnerability was very freeing.

What About you?

With the hustle and bustle of the upcoming season, where do you see you choosing your self care and building awareness of handling potential frustration points?  Be ready with these three questions:

  • What situations might trigger your frustration points?
  • How can you remember to step back and ask for what you need?
  • Who can you enlist to help you when you need it?

You can choose your self care for the holiday season, keep your frustration at bay and enjoy the many joyful and sacred moments that abound.  I pray that you ask for what you need this season, both from your human family and friends as well as your Friend above.

Here’s to choosing  your self care and enjoying the reason for the season immensely !

Nancy Booth wants to create safe spaces for you, helping you find ways to have two-way conversations with God.  She loves encouraging you to look for ways He is at work. Nancy is a spiritual director and writer.  She would love to accompany you on your journey of discovery to hear and see more of the God who delights in you.  Peace, hope and freedom could be yours Contact her today..