Self-love this Holiday Season

Self-love this Holiday Season

The holidays are stressful. With shopping, attending parties, wrapping up things at work, and preparing for the new year, there’s no end of things on the calendar. This season, I am feeling that stress more than ever, and it’s forcing me to look at myself very deeply. It’s hard to squeeze in any me-time in December, and I always look forward to my break from work because it’s a week where I can make a few dates with myself and catch up on my life without feeling like I have to squeeze it in.

I didn’t realize how much me-time I needed until recently when I had a bit of a meltdown that brought me to tears. The truth is, I haven’t been making myself a priority these past few months, and I’m feeling all sorts of guilt and anger with myself. Filling up my calendar is no one’s fault but my own. I know this. So why do I constantly do it during a time when I need to have space and time to myself more than usual?

I dug deep within myself to understand why this is such a struggle, and why it’s so hard for me to say no. This is what I learned: I love the people in my life so much, and they bring me so much love. I want to see them and spend quality time with all of them—I genuinely do. The issue is that, between a busy work schedule, attending school, and taking care of myself, there isn’t a lot of time left. Life is busy, isn’t it?

So why can’t I say no? Don’t get me wrong, I do say no all the time. But I say yes more times than I want to. Part of me does so because I genuinely want to see my friends and family. The other part is because I have a deep need to please people. I can’t tell you the uncomfortable emotions that come up in me when I admit that, but it’s 100 percent true—and I want to start standing in my truth more. I do a disservice to myself when I don’t.

While being a people pleaser and a bit of a perfectionist might sound like positives, those are two things that will stand in your way to living a truly happy life. One thing I’ve learned through years of therapy is that you cannot be truly happy while needing to be in control. It’s just not possible, even if we convince ourselves otherwise. I’ve worked very hard on my issues over the years, but they still pop up here and there. When they do, I always think, “Really? Are you still here? I thought I got rid of you!”

I am learning that just because we are aware of our issues and work on them doesn’t mean they just disappear. I think they stay with us on some subconscious level to remind us of the lessons we are here to learn. For me, that lesson is about self-care and love. I need to practice a lot of it in this lifetime to live my happiest. That means saying no more often to everyone else and saying yes more often to me.

To that end, I’ve added a few small, loving things I’ve incorporated into my mornings to give myself a little love on a daily basis, which I’ve listed below. If these resonate with you on some level, in any aspect of your life, maybe they can help you too:

  • I meditate for ten minutes:Every morning is different. Sometimes I lie in bed and sometimes I do it on the train on my way to work. I plug in my earbuds and listen to soothing music. I breathe and pay attention to it. Every time a thought poPs into my head, which is about every 5-10 seconds, I ask it to leave and return my attention to my breathing and silently repeat “let go” or “release.”
  • I boil water and squeeze fresh lemon into it with a slice of ginger:I sip it while getting ready in the morning. It’s detoxing, energizing, and warming to my soul. It also cleans me out … if you know what I mean.
  • I massage my skin with coconut oil:I massage it with grateful thoughts, knowing its healing properties are giving my skin much-needed love.
  • I talk to my skin and tell it how much I appreciate and love it:It needs love too, you know! After all, it’s our largest organ and has a lot of work to do every day!

I look in the mirror, look into my eyes, and say “I love you” three times: This might sound strange, but we need love every day and what better way to give it to ourselves? As strange as it feels at first, I guarantee it will eventually make you smile.