As the winter holidays approach, our days seem to move at an increasingly frenetic pace. Shopping lists are made, decorations are put out, online orders are placed, tables are set, and our lists are checked twice, hoping that we haven’t forgotten anything amidst the end-of-year hustle and bustle.
Repetition is a hallmark of holiday traditions. In honoring them year after year, we cherish their inception and fondly recall the mark they’ve made on our lives. The anticipation of what’s to come is what makes them both enjoyable and sacred. New traditions are formed as variations of the old and there’s a comfort in bringing together the familiar with the unestablished.
Life imparts many lessons. Some are loud and urgent while others are soft and more gradual in their unfolding. All are important. How can we learn to tune into the messages they carry?
One way is by bringing our best selves to whatever we’re doing. This is especially important when we’re faced with a task we don’t like. Whether it’s walking the dog in the rain, washing a sink full of dishes, making a difficult phone call, or showing up to a job that saps us of our energy, we can do it with the same spirit we reserve for more enjoyable pursuits.
Of course this is easier said than done, but there’s much to be gained from recognizing that while the conditions of our life aren’t always favorable, we can condition ourselves to approach them with openness and curiosity.
It’s not unusual to be hard on ourselves when things aren’t going our way. We might blame ourselves, second-guess our actions, or wonder what we did wrong to make things turn out the way they did. Unfortunately, doing so not only raises our stress level, but limits our ability to see the big picture.
I recently read Parker Palmer’s book, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, a beautiful meditation on trusting our experience to guide the way to our true calling. Rather than telling your life what you intend to do with it, Palmer suggests, you must “listen for what it intends to do with you.” Reflecting on his own encounters with self-doubt, deep depression, jubilant triumphs, and unrelenting inner inquiry, he paints a portrait of a personal journey that is far from easy but repeatedly rewarding.
Vocation is defined as, “a type of work that you feel you are suited to doing and to which you give much of your time and energy.” For many, this eschews our understanding of a true calling: something that we not only feel suited to doing, but something that is worthy of our talents, values, and greater sense of purpose.
Let’s take a self-care checkup: when was the last time you listened to your favorite song? Dressed up (or down) just for kicks? Went to bed on time, stopped eating before you felt full, or reached out to an old friend?
Self-care is a vital part of our well-being, but we often neglect it in favor of working, taking care of others, or feeling plain ol’ stressed out. While it’s easy to dismiss our body’s signals when we need a time-out, doing so can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health.
If your me-time has fallen by the wayside, it’s not too late to get back on track! I created this free Self-Care Kit that’s packed with goodies to help you start tapping into all the ways you can nourish your mind, body, and soul. Here’s what’s included:
30 of my favorite self-care practices to get you started,
A weekly calendar to help track your progress, AND
3 self-care mantras to help you connect with your most open-hearted self.
Establishing a regular self-care routine can help you keep your intention on the days when you’re struggling to get out the door on time, working late, or can’t even remember what day it is. (We’ve all been there.) And if you’re hesitant to invest a little extra in y-o-u because you think it’s selfish, I’ve got news for ya: the more you learn to tend to your own needs, the more of yourself you can bring to each of your exchanges.
So let’s get started! Click the links above to download or head on over to the Freebies page to see what all the fuss is about. Then pick a practice to try today or read the mantras aloud each morning to give yourself an extra boost. And while you’re at it, share ’em with a friend!