Perfect timing for Part 3 of the December Self-Care Wisdom series! Don’t miss part 1 and part 2. Much appreciation to Ricki, Debi, Erin, Jonathan and Shirley for their wisdom. So on with the good stuff from Kathryn (aka ChaCha), Jules (aka the REAL Jules!) and Carrie (aka Ginger Lemon Girl)
I’ve gotten to know Kathryn through our Facebook group and appreciate her warmth and compassion. She has a wonderful post on her holiday rituals and gifts on her blog, chacha’s gluten-free kitchen, and remembering what’s important through it all.
I loved this part:
My goal these last few days before Christmas is to be mindful to avoid stress and find time to relax while caring for the people I love. Each day between now and Christmas is a little more booked than the last so I need to find time in each day for the things that count.
Many of you know Jules Shepard as a baker extraordinaire and the driving force behind 1 in 133 and that big ‘ole cake that helped make gluten-labeling a reality. She’s had a big and exciting year, with a wedding, and changes in her gluten-free baking company and more. She shares what helps her stay grounded
I wish I could say I had found and regularly practice fool-proof self-care rituals through the holidays, and that I always manage to put my own needs first. But sadly, I succumb to the same distractions, stress and over-stimulation most others do.
What I can say is that I have made strides in what I know to be the right direction! Our family shares advent calendars each December, adds the joy of advent anticipation to our nightly prayers, and finds time to do lots more baking and creating together than at other times of the year. Focusing on the family and the true meaning of the season always fulfills me and brings me some measure of peace.
Perhaps surprisingly, I also take some time to listen … yes listen! To the words of certain carols and to appreciate and take them to heart. I had surgery last month, which has kept me from both the gym and the streets (where I usually run) where I ritually vent my frustrations and clear my head on a 3-4/week basis. In this vacuum, I’ve found even more comfort in music, meditation and prayer to ground me and keep me sane.
Words to others who haven’t yet found their daily or weekly stress-relief: open all your senses to something new that might surprise you and calm your pulse. You never know when a new scent, sound, sight, taste or touch might bring you unexpected peace, comfort or calm. Open yourself to new experiences and perspectives with this in mind – the holidays might just be your entrée to a happier and healthier you!
***********Enjoy the little things every single day… and let go of expectations.I think in general we have this idea that holidays have to be perfect, gifts have to be amazing, decorations have to be stellar, Christmas cookie baking has to be done, and you have to make it to at least one showing of the Nut Cracker or Handel’s Messiah. And some years that’s okay. There are seasons that I want the holidays to be filled with all of the stuff, all the events, all the parties, all the gifts, all the decor, etc… but this year, life has been crazy. This year, time has slipped away from me with the everyday things of life. With sick family members and constant traveling, I haven’t had the time to spend on those details for the holidays. And that’s okay. This year I haven’t decorated, I haven’t bought a single gift (yet!), I haven’t baked a single cookie, or attended any type of Christmas party or show. And with less than 10 days to Christmas Eve, I realize that trying to make all those traditional things a priority would be insane… so I’m letting them go. Instead, when we have a little free time we’re enjoying a drive around the neighborhood to see the lights, I’m enjoying Christmas music on my commute to work and while I’m washing dishes, and when it’s time to settle down for the evening before bed I’m enjoying cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix. And I’m happy. I’m not rushed, I don’t feel burdened, and I’m thankful for still having that warmth and joy that the holidays can bring. When you’re willing to let go of the big expectations, you can truly appreciate the small joys of the season in the most unexpected of places.