How do you practice self-love when there’s pressure to do and give so much this holiday season?
This winter-holiday season, give yourself the best gift of self-love – your time and attention – by slowing down, doing less, and giving yourself permission to enjoy simple pleasures. You will enjoy yourself more and your loved-ones will enjoy being around you if you are not overloaded and stressed.
Winter in the northern hemisphere is the time of least sun, when animals hibernate and plant activity slows way down. We aren’t meant to run around and exhaust ourselves now; we are meant to reset and recuperate. Give yourself permission to fill your own tank so that you have plenty to give to others. If there are holes in your self-love bucket – they may be from deep childhood wounds, but even so – you can repair them with self-loving practices.
If we all genuinely loved ourselves at the very deepest level, we wouldn’t criticize, complain or punish ourselves, or others. We wouldn’t be thinking the negative thoughts that become emotion and then physical disease. We would take the greatest care of ourselves and we would be kind and generous with others because our own deepest need is met and it feels good to act in loving ways.
Here’s a list of what you may need to practice self-love:
- Permission – Let this be your permission. You ARE worthy. You ARE lovable. You deserve wonderful self-care. Take care of yourself!
- Models – for what healthy self-loving looks like – Do you know people who balance giving with receiving? Who know how to say “no” and not overload themselves? Look around for people with those skills and follow their lead. Tell them you admire those skills/practices and ask if they have any tips or advice you can use.
- Practice positive and self-loving behaviors. Look for the good in every person and situation. Notice your self-talk or critical habits that perpetuate negative energy and, where possible, do a “do-over.”
- Speak well of yourself and others. A “fake it ’til you make it” approach is a good idea in this case, to slow down the negative momentum and show you that you aren’t at the mercy of negative thoughts. This week, if you notice a critical thought, try not saying it out loud. See if you can find something positive about that person or situation, instead. Negative thoughts about others reflect back and make you feel unloving. Congratulate yourself each time you “catch” yourself and remind yourself that you are changing in a positive way.
You can easily diagnose if lack of self-love is an issue for you. Try this now: take a deep breath and say out loud (you can whisper) “I love myself.” Keep deepening your breath deep into your belly and say it again, feeling internally as you say it. “I love myself.” Do you smile and feel a flowing warmth in your body? Or does your breath catch and you feel uncomfortable? If you have trouble breathing deeply and saying with sincerity and conviction, “I love myself”, you could probably use some self-lovin’. Then again, couldn’t we all?
When I loved myself enough I began to feel such relief. ~ Kim McMillen
The most effective way I know to convince yourself that you are worthy of love is to act loving toward yourself. Show yourself love. Treat yourself with the same kindness, understanding and generosity you would bestow on someone you were madly in love with. Include loving acts for yourself in addition to the others on your giving list this year. The best times I remember with friends and family are the simple, spontaneous ones – like when the power went out and we sat around by candlelight and told stories. What if on a night you planned more holiday burnout, you stayed home and took a hot bath instead? The key is to give yourself permission to receive and enjoy it completely guilt-free.
I know wealthy parents who give their kids every conceivable toy and luxury but don’t spend much time with their kids. The visible message is “You are worthy of all this stuff.” The subtle message is, “You’re not worthy of my time and attention.” Which message do you think the body gets the most?
Bodies are literal, in-the-moment, animalistic. Your body wants physical, palpable demonstrations that you’re lovable. It understands hugs and caresses and active nurturing as acts of love. It needs your time and attention. It wants you to listen to it and respond appropriately. And there’s no better time than now to start practicing this.
Consider giving massages for Christmas? Take yourself for a massage – or better yet, go with a friend and give both of you the gifts of touch, togetherness, relaxation and love. Spend some time in nature. Make some healthy food from scratch and give that to your body.
#self-love #giftoflove #holidaystress #winterslowdown #selflove