The holidays can be a time of contradicting feelings for many of us. We may feel confusion, sadness, or other challenging emotions. However, this time of year can also be a powerful time for self-reflection which can lead to greater self-awareness and equanimity.
Here are two ways to care for ourselves this December and beyond.
Meditation, deep relaxation, and deep breathing are very effective ways to calm your mind and nurture your spirit. There is also another effective method for nurturing ourselves that’s often overlooked: self-reflection.
The pace of today’s world makes introspection or self-reflection more difficult than in the past. There are compelling reasons to take time for this practice, even if it’s just five minutes a day, as noted in an article on Elite Daily:
- Introspection can reduce our need for control – Moments of self-reflection can let us “detach from [the] aspects over which we have no influence, and instead, direct our energy toward things we can absolutely improve on ourselves.”
- Self-reflection makes us aware of negative life patterns – Once we recognize how negative patterns are affecting our life, we “can consider alternate approaches to these situations and eventually migrate away from the stressors altogether.”
- Looking within helps us define our happiness – Spend a few moments each day thinking about the things in your life that make you most happy, proud or satisfied. Once you identify what these things are, nurturing the associated positive feelings can help to keep them alive and well.
A little self-reflection helps us understand just how much joy and peace we can have in our lives if we learn to recognize it.
Meditation and self-reflection are part of a larger nurturing process known as radical self-care. In a Huffington Post article, grief coach Carrie Doubts defines radical self-care as “the assertion that you have the responsibility to take care of yourself first before attempting to take care of others. It’s necessary to fill your cup first, then to give to others from the overflow.”
Women tend to have the most difficulty with this concept, since they are pretty much hard-wired to be nurturers. But male or female, the truth is that you cannot give to others when you are empty.
It takes time and patience to develop this ability, and Doubts offers this affirmation as you begin your transition to radical self-care: “I am nurturing myself first as a way of creating capacity to care for others and engage wholeheartedly in life.”
Along with holidays, December also brings the winter solstice, a time of renewal. It’s a time when the days begin to get longer and more light returns to the earth.
As part of your self-care routine, consider adding a daily deep relaxation practice during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
Make this a time for your own personal growth and revitalization to start the new year renewed in body and spirit.