It's Sunita here.
As I talk to my friends and patients these days, the conversation usually ends up about the upcoming holidays. Sadly, it seems that most people are already stressed out. But what is worse is that they seem resigned to the unfolding of events to come. Shopping lists, keeping the peace between feuding family members at holiday parties, conflict, obligatory events to attend, cleaning, cooking and millions of other commitments...
With all this preparation, how does one find the time, or frankly the motivation to practice Self Love Self Care First?
By giving up the notion that we can make every one happy.
And by curbing the need to be liked by others.
So I have no problem assuming the role of Grinch and pushing for a quieter and gentler on you season. I recommend simplifying, and cutting down on every possible detail that you can this holiday season. Cross out activities that add nothing to your joy. Eliminate unnecessary gift buying. Shrink your Holiday Card List. Is your Holiday card a source of joy or stress?
Don't super load your social calendar at the busiest time of the year. Tell your friends and family who you don't often see that you will be free to visit them in the New Year. January and February are pretty open for most of us so they are a perfect time to schedule such get together's.
Reserve the end of the year holidays to spend with your special, and close connections. Nurture and celebrate the relationships that sustain and support you over the year at this time. Give yourself a break, and concentrate on putting your heart and efforts into rituals that give meaning to your values, and add value to your season. And make sure not to punish yourself by doing more than you have time, money and energy for.
No one will remember a gift you were hard pressed to buy for them. But they will remember the thoughtfulness of your consideration to spend quality time with them.
Start and end with this mantra- "I don't have to be Perfect. I just need to be Present."
Planning to do as much as you can in advance will ensure that you don't have to deal with last minute dashes to a store in the brutal holiday traffic. Those trips can greatly reduce your life span by the stress and aggravation they induce.
As I look back at the many holidays I have put together for my family, one stands out as my children's favorite. And actually my husband's and mine as well. It was a year when we practically hid from the world from Christmas eve onward. For dinner, I defrosted a lasagna I had made a few weeks prior and we just sat around in our pajamas that evening listening to Christmas Carols. Appetizers were a simple, but mouthwatering assembly of cheeses, fruits and crackers. We felt deep peace and connection to each other. And because I was relaxed and happy, so was my family. We did not resurface for a good solid few days.
This may not be a realistic possibility for us each year but I'm certain that we can all trim the fat this year and plan to have a holiday of not only love and sharing, but of opportunities of reflection, relaxation and self care as well.
After all, we have the ability to make choices. What will you choose to do?
Wishing you a week of meaningful simplicity,