Beating The Holiday Blues
Tis the season to be jolly…or is it? As I’ve been out and about this week, casually talking with shoppers in the grocery line, and retail checkers, I pose the question, “Are you ready for Christmas?” I generally get, “I want it over already…too much stress…too many “ought to’s” versus “want to’s.”
Thankfully, the exception is my blonde, 5-year-old, neighbor, Will, helping his dad put up Christmas lights on the hand-rails leading to their front door. He excitedly recounted his recent visit with Santa and the big yellow truck request he whispered in Santa’s ear.
That’s very interesting, isn’t it? The same holiday season and yet two opposite responses to it—pure joy, and all the enthusiasm of getting a root canal.
That’s why I devoured today’s New York Times article penned by Tara Parker-Pope, “For the Holidays, The Self-Care Gift.” She interviewed the Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim who remembers the moment he discovered the power of self-care. The reporter writes that he was a frustrated graduate student when a trusted friend told him the solution was to “be good to yourself first—then to others.”
The reporter observes that while self-care is a simple concept, the difficulty comes in putting it into action. It may feel selfish to too time-consuming…and many of us don’t know where or how to start.
Haemin Sunim suggest a five-part plans:
Start by taking deep breaths. Be mindful of your breathing. You’ll find that when you begin, your breathing is shorter and shallower. Then, as your breathing becomes much deeper and you’re paying attention to it, you’ll feel much more centered and calm.”
The path to self-care begins with acceptance. When we accept the struggling self, our state of mind will soon undergo a change. When we accept them, strangely enough our mind stops struggling and suddenly grows quiet and we find some peace.
Write down those things that burdening you and weighing you down. Rather than trying to carry these heavy burdens in your heart or in your head, you see clearly on paper what you need to do. Now go to bed and when you wake up, choose the easiest task. Finishing the easy one makes the second one a cinch to take on.
A meaningful conversation with a close friend eases our burden. I had lunch on Sunday with my dear friend, Lisa Webb. We’ve been close for thirty-years and we’ve learned to listen to each other with no judgement. Our conversations truly heal my soul.
Sitting around thinking about a problem is counter-productive. Get out and take a brisk walk or go to the gym. These activities will help you ultimately see the issue in a new light. Our sub-conscious mind is a beautiful thing. When we sleep or exercise or distract ourselves, our brains get super organized. Suddenly you get a sparkling revelation (not surprisingly).
This holiday season, take extra good care of yourself and by doing so, you will take good care of the people around you.