Every year, as sure as the snow will fall, people across the nation will face with navigating overcrowded malls, hanging outdoor lights in the freezing cold, and surviving visits from the in-laws. But we mustn’t lose sight of the importance of taking care of ourselves.
For some much-needed advice on the subject, we turned to Darcy Sweeney, M.S., an expert who specializes in helping others battle personal issues and live extraordinary lives. Here, Sweeney suggests we make a conscious effort to do these three things to ensure a joyous, stress-free, and low-key holiday season.
1. Practice radical self care
For many, the concept of self-care is a truly radical one. It is, however, the most important thing you can do. The reality is that no one can take better care of you than yourself, but many of us do anything but that. We are busy tending to other people’s interests and priorities while we allow our needs and desires to go unmet. Why do we do this? A great deal of it has to do with programming. However, we must tend to our own needs first. As you head into the holiday season, it is important that you recognize and tend to your own needs (and yes, desires), and in so doing, you will find that you then have much more to give. When you don’t follow this principle, you’ll find yourself grumpy or resentful, and for good reason.
2. Choose to be present
When you connect with your relatives this holiday season, be there with them. Really listen and hear what they are saying. Notice how it feels to be surrounded by the sights of the holidays. Notice children’s laughter and the sound of a crackling fire. There are wonderful things happening in those holiday moments, and all we have to do to access it is to slow down and allow ourselves to fully experience the moment and all it has to offer. You may be surprised at how good you feel with this subtle but profound shift in consciousness.
3. Focus on appreciating others
When we are kind, helpful, and supportive, it not only makes others feel good, but you will notice quite a personal benefit from this as well. It feels good! Think about it as if you were bringing a gift to someone, because you are. You have the power to bring this joy to someone at any time. Try this with your relatives, as you can always think of at least one thing to appreciate about them. As long as you are being sincere, this is a tool you can use at any holiday gathering to lift the moods of others and (last but not least) yourself.