Are YOU on Your List This Holiday Season? Two simple self-care tips

A week into December already! If it’s not yet, I bet your December calendar is filling up fast. If you’re like me, you have a variety of lists started…the Christmas card list, the presents list, the Christmas cookie list, the grocery list of what to buy in order to make the Christmas cookies on that list, etc. But let me ask you this: Are YOU on your list?

I know, I know. So many things you have to do. So many people to take care of. Enough already! Stop being a martyr about the holidays and include you on your list. How? I’m glad you asked. I have two simple tips for you:

  1. Review your “have to” items, and
  2. Schedule some “me time.”

Tip #1, Review your “have to” items, actually has two steps. First, review all of the things on your to do lists and determine if they are “have to” items or “want to” items. If they are “want to” items, keep them. Be realistic though. If you want to go to 5 tree trimmings, 4 Christmas parades, 3 cookie exchanges, 2 different Christmas Eve services, and drive to Pittsburgh for a par-tee, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Instead, make sure your “want to” list contains the items that make the holidays special to you; the things that if you don’t do them you’ll be feeling really regretful on January 2.

The second part of Tip #1 is to get rid of your “have to” items. Hear me out. I think part of our self-imposed holiday stress comes from telling ourselves we have to do certain things. Telling yourself you have to do something just makes it unpleasant and creates a negative mindset. Instead, what if you changed all of those items to “want to” items? Here’s an example: You are currently telling yourself and probably others you talk to that you have to go to your office holiday party, at least make an appearance. Why did this make your “have to” list in the first place? Is it because it could be beneficial to your success with the company? Isn’t being a success with your company something you want? Or maybe you at least want to socialize a little with some of your close peers or people you appreciate working with all year long? So now that you’ve identified some “want to” in that item, start telling yourself and others that you want to go to your office holiday party. Now you are creating a positive mindset and looking forward to some part of that party which creates less stress. Apply to an item on your own list. Repeat until you have a list of “want to” items.

Tip #2, Schedule some “me time,” is self-explanatory. Stop being a holiday martyr. Yes, your friends and family are thrilled to be the beneficiaries of your labor, but not when they know you’re killing yourself all month to do it. They don’t love you for your cookies; they want to spend time celebrating with you! That won’t happen if you’re so tired by Christmas Eve that you’re curled up in a little ball sleeping in some corner while they are all full of energy and celebrating.

Try this. Why not combine some “me time” with some “want to” items? If you want to celebrate another year of friendship and be festive with your besties, go out somewhere low key for an evening. It’s low stress and you don’t have to cook or clean your house because you’re not hosting! Or, consider this: there are so many great deals on spa and fitness activities right now. It’s okay to snag yourself a spa gift card and get a massage or facial this month or to buy a yoga class package…whatever sounds like good “me time” to you.

The holidays are a special time and we want to pack in as much celebration and enjoyment as we possibly can in a month’s time. Just don’t do it at the expense of your sanity. Make sure you are also on your holiday list and practice keeping that positive mindset. Happy holidays!

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I’m Unworthy

I was scrolling through the Instagram feed last night when I read a post that said basically if you feel unworthy, you will never succeed.

Ponder that point.

If we are presented with the most amazing opportunity, but we don’t feel like we deserve it or are good enough for it, how can we possibly succeed? If we even accept the opportunity, we are destined to fail. We will believe the negative messages in our heads and self-sabotage our success.

But here’s the thing that really hit me. In response to that Instagram post, a woman wrote, “That’s me. UNWORTHY.” I read that and my heart ached for her. I don’t know this woman, so of course I don’t know what has happened in her life that would make her feel unworthy, but I know for certain that’s a false statement.

I couldn’t just scroll on without responding. I wrote to her that the mind believes whatever we repeatedly tell it; start saying, “I am worthy.”

I kept thinking about that word “unworthy” and how much weight it must add to a person’s mind if that’s really what she believes. Can you imagine the emotional and physical drain that word and belief must create?

Even after I went to bed last night, I kept thinking about it. What would I really want to say if I was face to face with this woman? If I had a chance to maybe impact her thoughts and then her life? I’d say, “You are SO worthy! The fact that you exist makes you worthy. The fact that you were created was no accident. When you were born, there was a plan for your life, even if you don’t know what it is. You have a purpose, and God/the Universe/or whatever higher power you believe in wants you to succeed. Wants you to live a meaningful, abundant life. You are worthy and that higher power wants you to start acting like it.”

Obviously, one little pep talk is not enough to change a person’s deep-seated self-perception. A person who feels unworthy needs at minimum a good coach and support system and (depending on the life events that got the person to this feeling) possibly a licensed therapist to work through previous years of harm and negativity.

But here’s my hope: it’s that just maybe the woman who read that someone out there thinks she IS worthy is enough to give her pause. Maybe someone else echoes my response and she begins to think, “Hey, maybe there’s something to this. Maybe I should…get some help, find a support group, try saying positive affirmation, etc.

And my hope is that if YOU are reading THIS post and feeling unworthy, you realize that YOU are WORTHY.

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10 Tricks and Tips to Find Your Positive Groove

Whether you are generally a positive person who gets in the occasional negative funk or you are generally a negative person but you would like to experience the power of positivity, here are 10 of my favorite tricks and tips that can help you find your positive groove.

  1. Dress better than you feel. Do something with your hair. Put on a little makeup. This works for two reasons: You’re doing something for you and for the rest of the day when you see your reflection, you will see this better version of yourself.
  2. Exercise. Again, you’re doing something to take care of you, but exercise also creates feel good endorphins. Even a 10 minute walk can boost your mood.
  3. Get outdoors. Get some fresh air, clear your head, and can be combined with tip #2!
  4. Get enough sleep. The average recommended amount of sleep is 7-8 hours per night. You need that in order to repair and recharge from the day’s events.
  5. Practice gratitude. Once a day, find 5 things that you are grateful for.
  6. Make goals and accomplish them. Who doesn’t like to feel accomplished? Make a realistic to do list and feel the joy of crossing off each item as you complete it!
  7. Smile more. Others will smile back which makes you feel even more positive. 🙂
  8. Compliment someone. Brightening up someone else’s day is a win-win.
  9. Take actions on problems. If your negative funk is due to a problem that keeps plaguing your mind, take some action towards a solution. Staying in your head about it is a powerless place to be; taking action gives you your power back.
  10. Give hugs. Hug your family. Hug your friend. Hug your pet. It gets your feel good oxytocin flowing…for both you and your hug recipient!

Let me know what you think! Which tip works for you or maybe you can share a tip I don’t have on my ever-growing list yet. Thanks for reading and have a positively amazing day!

In a Self-Care State of Mind

Self-care is so vital for both you and for all of the people you help take care of. How can you keep giving of yourself if you burn out and have nothing left to give? This concept of self-care can be difficult at first, (mom guilt, spouse guilt, worker guilt), but with a little practice and deliberate thinking, it can become a great habit.

When choosing a self-care activity, decide what will give you an energy boost. (Remember, relaxing/taking care of yourself now will restore your energy reserves for upcoming days.) Your self-care does not have to be the same as your friends’ self-care. For example, your friends may swear by yoga, but if you find trying to sit still and think of nothing more stressful than relaxing, it’s probably not the best self-care activity for you.

Put some thought into what YOU want to do. Maybe you can remember things you used to enjoy doing before you got so busy. (A nap!) Or maybe you have something new that you might enjoy. (A new dance class?) You are scheduling some time for you, so make it something you’re excited to put on your calendar!

Whatever self-care activity you decide on does not necessarily have to do with the amount of time or money involved. The most important element is your mindset. Be mindful of your thoughts and that you are doing something for you. You could take a weeklong luxury vacation, but if the whole week you are thinking about what’s happening at work or trying to schedule every minute of your vacation with what other people have told you are “must see” and “must do” things on your trip, then you really haven’t gained much in the re-energizing department. You could take a 20 minute walk in a quiet park observing the sights and sounds of nature and thanking yourself for the timeout and feel more energized from that 20 minutes than from that weeklong vacation. And it’d be free!

Maybe pedicures are your thing. If you recharge from a $50 pedicure at the spa, that’s great. If you can recharge from taking 30 minutes at home to take care of your nails, that’s also great. It’s your mindset that is key. If you’re doing your own pedi and thinking to yourself, “I wish I could afford the spa” or “this is just a chore,” then that’s not really self-care. Change your mindset to focus on the time and care you’re taking for yourself. Think about how pretty your new polish looks and how good it feels to take care of yourself for those 30 minutes. Choose your thoughts to focus on what you DO have, not what you don’t have.

The point is, focus on the kind act of taking care of yourself (whether that’s physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally). The time and money you have is irrelevant as long as your mind is in the right place — thinking about how nurtured/pampered/energized your act of self-care makes you feel.