3 Radical Self-Care Tips for the Holidays

7 November, 2014 (02:54) | life balance, positive emotions, resilience, stress management, work life balance | By: lifecoach

I recently held a pair of workshops on the topic of resilience, (defined as: an individual’s ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity).

Frenzied woman postitsWe explored some of the ways we can strengthen our resilience in order to better deal with the tough times in life. A key component of resilience is positivity, which involves increasing positive emotions such as: joy, gratitude, serenity, hope, inspiration, and love to name just a few. Boosting positivity in any of these forms hugely impacts your physical, mental, and emotional well being, making it easier for you to manage your stress.  A time of year that can add to this stress is the holiday season in spite of all the joy it brings. Think endless shopping lists, and a bulging schedule with all the added festivities to attend.

During this hectic time you may be tempted to ignore some of your self-care rituals. Don’t do this! This is a time when you most need it, and self-care is a key component for building the positive emotions outlined above. What’s important is that you feel ‘worthy’ of a radical self-care practice, and, you ARE worthy!

My viewpoint on self-care is that it’s what we do internally that matters, versus taking yoga classes, getting our nails done, or visiting a spa. Those are all great too, but it’s how we think about self-care, and our internal transformation that count the most.

Here’s my recipe to help you reduce your stress and get you on the path to radical self-care for the holiday season and beyond. To keep it simple, I’ve included only 3, although there are many more.

1. Supreme Acts of Kindness

Acknowledge someone every day for one week. One of the most powerful emotions humans can experience is to feel appreciated.  Think of one special trait or quality that describes each person and let them know what you appreciate about them and why. You can do this via email, text, phone, or, even better, face-to-face.

When you acknowledge someone in this way they will feel valued and ‘seen’.  Notice the impact you’ve made as they (and you) experience a flood of positive emotions as a result.

2. Three Shades of Gratitude

At the end of your day, write down 3 things that went well and one reason why. Don’t think too hard about this; it can be as simple as, “My husband called and asked me if I needed anything at the store, because he enjoys helping me out.” Hint: the ‘why’ part is key. If this is the only new habit you develop this year, give yourself a huge pat on the back. Virtually every happiness study speaks to the value of a gratitude practice to improve your overall health and well being. This tip transformed my marriage!

3. Savor the Good

Another effective way to boost your positive feelings is to learn how to cherish. It’s automatic for many of us to notice only what’s wrong in the worldThanks to our ancestors, our brains are well versed in scanning for ‘threats’ and focusing on the negative, which creates a lot of stress! Additionally, the habit of constantly looking for what could go wrong limits your creative ability to find solutions to everyday problems.  A great antidote for this: Close your eyes and think of a special holiday memory. Recall everything you can about the experience. How you felt, the sights, the smells, who was there, and what was happening. Breathe in the experience for 10 seconds or more. Equally beneficial is to savor when a boss or co-worker praises you for a job you’ve done well. Studies show that reflecting on any positive experience for at least 10 seconds ensures the feelings associated with it get transferred into your long-term memory bank. This doesn’t just feel good; it strengthens your brain and helps you re-wire your thought processes so you’re less apt to think only of the negative side of things.

Turkey DinnerAll of these practices will boost your positive emotions and your feelings of well being in a big way. Your heart and mind will expand, and you’ll be less reactive when holiday traffic gets heavier, lines get longer, and, as you deal with others who haven’t been introduced to resilience practices like these. Actually, they’ll be fortunate to have encountered you!

I’d enjoy reading about any experiences you’ve had with your self-care rituals. Be sure to write them below. Happy Holidays!

 

 

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