We are approaching the holiday season and for all of the fun and food and lights and love the season holds, for many, this can be a stressful time. It’s not necessarily stressed-filled for the wrong reasons, often it’s because we want to be able to give in ways that end up overwhelming us – making the dinner for 20, finding the perfect gift for each of our friends and family, delivering Thanksgiving dinner to the families in need, baking dozens of cookies for the church bizarre, serving Christmas dinner at the soup kitchen. All of this is wonderful, rewarding and in the spirit of the holidays, but it can also be stressful. To avoid becoming overwhelmed with holiday stress, I suggest we take some helpful advice from our friendly flight attendants – put your OWN oxygen mask on first, then help those around you.
I want to invite you this holiday season, to take care of yourself first; fill-up your own well first, so that you have a deep well of resources from which to draw. Here are some tips for putting your oxygen mask on first…
I mean, really breathe. Deep, expansive, exaggerated breaths. Gay Hendricks, author of Your Big Leap and 30 + other books on life and love, suggests whenever we feel low energy, or contracted in our body in any way, that we throw our arms back, throw our chest out, open our mouth wide exercising the muscles in our face and take a deep, deep breath. Do this three or four times in the privacy of your home or in the middle of the mall. Don’t worry about how you look. Know that you are filling your energetic gas tank while those around you are running on empty. Just breathe.
Connect with the calm.
As much fun as the holiday activity can be, it can also be draining. Connecting with the calm is a way to replenish your energy. Connecting with the calm requires finding that place or space where you can connect quietly with yourself. It doesn’t need to be a long drawn out thing – 15 minutes a day will help. There are many ways to connect with the calm – spending time in meditation, taking a walk on the beach, sitting and listening to soothing music, taking a drive… by yourself, going to a yoga class – it doesn’t matter how you do it, the important thing is to find a way that works for you, and go there. Connecting with the calm is like charging your cell phone. Keeping yourself charged up will enable you to connect with others in the ways you that really matter to you this holiday season.
Give yourself a gift.
Giving is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things we get to do as human beings. One of he best ways to put your own oxygen mask on this holiday season is to give yourself a gift you LOVE. This is like a secret gift that no one needs to know about… except you. It is that illicit rendezvous with the spa for a day of pampering, it’s getting yourself that special necklace you’ve wanted, it’s taking yourself … and maybe a loved one – for a special dinner, its giving yourself a bouquet of beautiful flowers, its buying that piece of home décor that you’ve been considering for a while. In the flurry of giving to so many others, give yourself a gift you LOVE this holiday season.
Putting your own oxygen mask on first is a way to ensure that this holiday season, you will be able to give in the ways you really want to, without the personal toll that perhaps the holidays have taken in the past. Breathe, connect with the calm, and give yourself a gift you love, and this holiday season will end up being not only reward, but renewing as well. Happy Holidays.
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