It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Friends, family, holiday cheer. The world looks brighter, your heart is fuller and there’s a little bit more of a natural bounce in your step. As many have said before, ’tis the season. While so many talk of the joy and beauty of the season, I have found that there isn’t enough discussion on how to take care of yourself during this particular time of the year. For some, the holidays don’t always evoke feelings of indescribable joy, rather, palpable pain and heartache. Perhaps, it’s the first holiday without a loved one. Maybe it’s the quality time spent around a particular relative that is more critical than supportive. What if it is the first time you couldn’t be with your family and in your home because of the obligations of work and the pressures of the real world?

So, how is it that you take care of yourself and find joy in this holiday season?

  1.  Find the joy in the littlest of things- now what this may be is going to depend on the person. Speaking for myself, I’m going to find joy in some of the daily routines that bring me complete peace: I’m going to take about 30 minutes a day to enjoy the peaceful solitude of a dark, candlelit room where there isn’t a sound around me, technology irritating me, or someone speaking to me.
  2. Know that it is okay to say no- Now, this is something I struggle with personally. I am a a people-pleaser. I have this need to make everyone around me happy, always. Sometimes, that happiness eclipse’s my own. The holidays are filled with dinners,  festive gatherings, and every family-filled activity you can imagine. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful thing! Remember though, you have to take care of yourself amidst all of this. If it’s your first day/night off in a while, don’t feel badly for not attending a function to spend some time with yourself, getting the rest you need, and deserve.
  3. Focus on being present versus buying presents- In a world that is as commercialized as the one we currently live in, this can be a very difficult task. Somewhere down the line, society began to tell us that there very much is a price tag on love and just “how much” you show that to someone. It became more about giving the most extravagant gift, instead of giving love, undivided attention, or the creation of memories that will outlast any materialist possession.  Don’t get me wrong, some gifts are thoughtful, beautiful and sentimental. Please remember though, don’t let the desire to show that love to someone in the moment cause you stress for months to come. Be present!

This is my manual to merriment.

Published in featured, life lessons
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