THE HOLIDAY THRIVE GUIDE: From juggling all the social obligations to navigating crowded shopping centers to dealing with challenging family dynamics, the holidays can be a stressful time for a lot of people. That’s why, over the next 7 days, I’ll be giving you my favorite tips, tools and tricks to not just survive—but thrive—this holiday season. My hope is that you will use them to find more peace and ease, not just in your outer world but in your inner world as well.
Welcome to Day 1 of your Holiday Thrive Guide! I’d planned to start us off on the very important topic of self-care, but the truth is that we can’t truly care for ourselves if we don’t really know ourselves. We can’t meet our own needs if we don’t know what those needs are. So instead, we are starting off with the foundation of self-care: self-inquiry.
During the holiday season, the question we get asked the most (from friends, loved ones and the big guy in red) is, “What do you want?” So we put together wish lists and dream up all the new and shiny things that might (temporarily) bring us joy, but we rarely pause to ask ourselves what we need (and I don’t just mean of the gift variety).
Forget the presents for a moment. Let's get PRESENT with ourselves. What is our body truly hungry for? What input or information is our mind desperate to receive? What is our heart dying to express and our soul longing to experience?
Perhaps the most powerful practice I can offer you, during this busy time of year, is to take time every day to ask yourself this important question: What do I need? When you wake up in the morning, before you roll out of bed or reach for your phone, pause and check in with yourself on all levels. I suggest keeping a pen and journal on your nightstand so that you can write down any insights and track any patterns from day to day.
- First, check in with your body. How do you feel physically, and what do you need today to feel strong, healthy, and balanced? Maybe you feel exhausted and need an extra hour of sleep or hungover from last night’s party and need a big glass of water to rehydrate your system.
- Then, check in with your thoughts. How do you feel mentally? What stories or fears are at the forefront of your mind today, and what do you need to do to release them and replace them with more positive, loving thoughts? Maybe you woke up worrying about a big presentation you have to give today and running all the worst case scenarios in your head about how you might mess up. Perhaps, you could take a few deep breaths and visualize the presentation going smoothly in your mind. Reaffirm to yourself that you’ve GOT this, and maybe even work with a mantra like, “I express myself with passion and confidence.”
- Next, check in with your heart. How do you feel emotionally, and what do you need to give yourself and your heart today? Maybe you’re sad and need a dose of sunshine to brighten your spirit or maybe you’re feeling really inspired and need to channel that energy into a creative outlet.
- Finally, check in with your spirit. What parts of your Self need to be recognized or expressed, in order to feel more fulfilled and purposeful in your life? How can you let those parts of you express themselves today, in even the smallest ways? Maybe your inner musician is calling you to sing, even if it’s only in the shower, or your inner entrepreneur is begging you to jot down those business ideas.
Whatever needs arise, make an effort to honor and address them in some small way today. Maybe block out time in your schedule for that walk or nap or private dance party to happen or jot that new mantra down and tuck it in your wallet as a reminder. This is a really beautiful way to start your day with intention, but if mornings feel rushed for you, you can always do this practice later in the day. Each day, as you check back in with yourself, start to notice how your needs shift and change, based on your feelings and your circumstances, and be kind and gentle with yourself as you shift your actions in accordance.
This is the essence of self-care: listening to our needs and tending to them. Tomorrow, we’ll dive deeper into some really yummy seasonal self-care practices, so light your favorite candle, pour a mug of your favorite tea, and come on back!