Self-Care Through the Holidays
For many of my readers (and for myself) December marks the beginning of the Christmas season. This is a holiday that can bring families joy, wonderful memories, and closeness. It is also a holiday that can bring feelings of stress, worry, and grief. And if you fall into that second category – you are not alone! Every December I hear from parents about their heightened stress, exhaustion, and endless events filling their calendar. Of course, every family is unique and family traditions differ. For today, I’d like to focus on the December Holiday Season and offer my thoughts about self-care during this often busy time of year.
What is Self-Care?
Sure, we hear about self-care all the time, but what does it actually mean? For me, self-care means taking time to do something that is only for me – for fun, for relaxation, for stress-relief, or for personal or professional growth with the intention that I am taking this time for myself.
Self-care can come in any shape you can think up! It can be a bubble bath with a glass of wine (as it often is for me!), a walk, watching Netflix, eating a healthy meal, finishing a work project before the deadline, exercising, cleaning out that overflowing closet, sleeping in, or even pausing to take 3 deep breaths before responding to your child when they have just asked you for that extra piece of candy for the 30th time in 30 minutes. Self-care does not have to take a long time. It does not need to be a big or expensive endeavor. It only needs to be something you do intentionally that somehow makes you feel a little better. A little calmer. A little more relaxed, or a little more energized.
How to Teach Self-Care to Children
We can teach self-care to children of all ages. How? By doing it ourselves. When we talk about caring for ourselves (and act on it!) we are showing children that it is important for them to care for themselves. When caregivers engage in regular self-care they are modeling the act of self-care for their children. Modeling, or showing a child a desirable behaviour by doing it in front of them, is a great way to teach a new skill or behaviour to a child. It’s that whole “Monkey see, monkey do” thing. If kids see you taking breaks, they will learn to take breaks when they need them. And they can carry that lesson with them into adulthood.
Why is Self-Care Important?
Let’s face it – life is stressful. Like pretty much all the time. And it’s no secret that stress can cause an array of health problems. A quick Google Scholar search for “impact of stress on health” shows over 4 million results! Self-care is about taking a moment to reduce our feelings of stress, which can improve our overall health and mental well being. I know that if I want to do my best work, give my best in my relationships, and be able to show up for others, then I have to be taking care of myself – and not just every now and then, but consistently and intentionally.
Stay tuned next week when I share my top 5 ways to incorporate self-care into the busy Holiday Season!
Until next time,