Holidays are tough. They bring up A LOT of emotions for people. Too many get togethers, too many people, too much interaction. Or, the opposite--feeling alone, isolated, depressed. For those of us who struggle with saying no to others, holidays can be especially difficult. Obligations with family can create anxiety and resentment around doing things we don't really want to do. And, not seeing family can trigger upset as well. So wherever you are in your reality, self care is necessary for everyone.
Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge advocate of all things self care. And by "self care" I don't mean just taking a relaxing bath (although that can certainly be part of things). Self care is really about choosing your Self in all ways. It's about having boundaries with others, it's about having fun, it's about receiving, it's about saying yes to your Self. However, we are programmed to believe that choosing Self is wrong, bad, and selfish, and that we need to constantly be giving and doing for others. I find that most sensitive people are really good at giving but struggle with receiving. The giving seems more valuable somehow. But even for the most sensitive of beings, too much giving and not enough receiving eventually creates resentments, and this unequal energetic exchange just feels bad. It's draining, exhausting, and unnecessary.
Giving and sharing CAN can be energizing, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, angry, or wired, you need more time for Self. Those are just signals from your body telling you something is off. Many of us ignore those signs--we've become so accustomed to feeling like that, we think it's normal, or we don't know what do differently. Some of us may even like those energies. We might need exhaustion to create a boundary with someone else because we can't say no. Or we might need anger or anxiety to feel motivated to get stuff done. And if the pattern goes on too long, physical pain or sickness usually shows up. In some way, these dysfunctional patterns are working for us. So ask yourself: what does this allow me or not allow me to do?
I find that during the holidays, there are two primary energies going on--frenetic and depressed. There is either a driving agenda to do do do, or a feeling of sadness and separation. Of course, people can experience both things, and often times, the frenetic is a manifestation of the depressed. The overdoing, the overgiving, the overpreparing are all ways to hide and mask deeper emotions, and ultimately a way to hide from Self. Frenetic energies give the appearance of success, of achieving, of worthiness. We also use it to feel validated by others. But ultimately, it is a way to avoid and distract. On the flip side, sadness, loneliness, and feeling unloved can manifest in overwhelm and exhaustion, where it becomes difficult to do anything, and we feel even more disconnected with Self and others.
This kind of disconnect may be hard to identify in ourselves. We are taught to push through, to get over it, and to move on. But if the disconnect isn't acknowledged, it resides deeper in the body creating more dysfunction. Whenever I'm working with a client who is unsure of what they're feeling, I usually ask, "Where do you feel this in your body?" And they're always able to answer that pretty quickly--my stomach, my low back, my neck, my head (common holding places). This query helps to bridge the gap between unidentified emotions and the physical body, and becomes a great starting point for deeper awareness. Just a simple acknowledgment of where we are feeling something in the body is a great first step to any kind of energy shift, because not acknowledging something doesn't make it go away. It's too easy to be on auto pilot, especially during the holidays, but that auto pilot creates a disconnect with Self, and that disconnect can manifest as a variety of symptoms, both physically and emotionally.
So how do we get out of these deeper patterns and paradigms? Start with Self. Choosing Self allows for reconnection with all of our energies--our physical body, our inner child, our adult self. It allows us to pull our energies back from others so that we are working with our greatest potential. However, choosing Self does not mean rejecting others (a common illusion). It simply means that we have access to all of our potential and then we can better share that with others. You can connect with others AND thrive as your authentic Self. It is not either/or. Here are some of my favorite ways to do that:
1) Move your body. In some way. In any way. It will help to move the heavy, dense, low vibration energy.
2) Unscheduled time. Do less. Do nothing. Sit down.Take a nap.
3) Eat better food. Eat food your body actually wants.
4) Get therapeutic body work. Massage, chiropractic, light therapy, etc.
5) Schedule energy/healing work to allow someone else to help move some energy for you.
6) Go outside. Take a walk. Get 10-15 min of noonday sun, when it's available, to help your body create the energy it needs.
7) Binge watch Netflix to give your brain some space.
8) Say no to things that feel depleting, even if you think you should say yes. Say yes to things that feel good.
9) Sleep more.
This list is certainly not definitive, but it offers a framework for some basic pathways to bring you back to Self, and our most important relationship IS with Self. Allow the holidays to help you choose differently.