Maxie must have read my mind!!! I’m in full-on holiday mode (which, if you know me, is pretty unusual) and starting to feel overwhelmed by everything that the holidays bring: tons of events, travel stress, trying to fit it all in, etc. Oh, and no one wants to be around a stressed out basket case. Being centered yourself is a gift for both you and everyone around you!
It’s officially holiday season. Which means that you and every person you know has officially begun the crazy search for thoughtful, creative (read: perfect) gifts. You want it to be personal and so them. From your parents to your besties, everyone needs something special.
It’s the season of giving after all. So even if this gift giving is all-consuming, this is just what we all do, right?
I began a bit of my holiday errands last week, and I pulled into an almost-completely vacant mall parking lot to get there (which is huge when we take into consideration this mall is in Dallas #EverythingsBiggerInTX). I hadn’t noticed that I was going the wrong way down one of the lanes until a man turns the corner and stops in front of me waving his hands, screaming at me from inside his car, curse words flying. It went on for longer than it should so I just gave him my big ‘ole Texas smile and waved, thinking to myself how much this man needs some time to himself because the holiday bustle has obviously gotten the best of him. He didn’t realize the importance of staying centered like this
And that’s when it dawned on me: the crazy drivers aren’t the only ones who need ‘me’ time. I do too. And so do you. Part of the reason everyone writes a post about ‘how to stay sane during the holidays’ is because we so easily lose touch with the most important person in the entire equation, ourselves.
The holidays are filled with so many other people. Getting to be with and give to our family, friends and communities is such a beautiful thing. However, it can be made that much better when you can also take care of yourself at the same time – this will put everything into perspective, from family drama to parking lot crazies.
Make sure and give the most meaningful present this holidays season— the one that goes to you. I know it’s hard to make time for yourself during the rush, so here’s a few simple ideas of what this gift can look like. I’m pretty sure these are ones any of us can do:
An Early Cup of Coffee
You’re going to grab that caffeine fix anyways, why not make this a quick 20 minutes for yourself? Head to Starbys for your coffee run, and instead of going through the drivethru or power-walking back home. Order your coffee and sit. Just sit. Maybe you take your planner out and note the errands still on your list or the cards you need to write or perhaps it’s just you and your journal, listing the things you’re grateful for. Whatever it is, make caffeine time you time. Twenty minutes isn’t too hard to spare.
Take the Long Way
I’ve realized one of the best parts of being home for the holidays is that I get some me-time in the car driving places with Taylor Swift on repeat. As a normally car-less San Franciscan, this is a great gift during the holidays that any of us can take advantage of. So whether you’re borrowing mom and dad’s wheels while you’re home like me, or simply ubering it everywhere, take the long way. Make a loop, go too far, give yourself an extra few minutes to belt out holiday tunes and feel the beautiful energy of the season.
A Service Alone
While I’m not religious, I’m incredibly spiritual – and I say that to say no matter what your beliefs are this is a tip that can work for anyone. One of the amazing things about going to a service, maybe a Catholic mass or a morning prayer, is that you have a full hour to connect to something bigger. You don’t have to talk but you do get to connect. If you have a religious practice, go one morning alone. If you don’t, go to one you grew up attending and view it as an hour long meditation. You’ll be surprised the renewed energy you find by creating the space for a deeper connection with yourself.
You and a Book
I’d love to tell you to grab a book and go reading outdoors. But given the nor’easters and crazy weather happening in so much of the country, maybe we’ll have to settle for a window. Wherever you go, get some sunlight and read something that slows down your mind. Think about something else, involve yourself deeply in someone else’s stories. It’ll minimize your holiday stress.
Whatever gifts you give this holiday, make sure you give one of these to yourself. Whether it’s once a week or every day, don’t forget you. Feeling centered will make the holidays that much lovelier.