It’s Christmas time! I absolutely love the focus on giving, gratitude, kindness, and joy during this season. It can be a time of renewal and grace.

It can also be a time of stress, high expectations, and neglecting self-care. Parents to try to create perfect Christmas moments for their kids, but sometimes they scream through your Polar Express party. Families get together to share in the joy, but sometimes they argue about politics and religion. People try to give their loved ones large expensive gifts to show their love, but sometimes we end up stressed about finances and if we’re going to be homeless by the new year. 

What’s to be done? Self-care. I know I’ve mentioned this concept before but never devoted a whole post to it, and it’s so important especially around the holidays. 

Before I was diagnosed with a mental illness, I’d heard this concept before but thought it was just meant taking baths and stuff. I figured I was pretty good at self care because I often took time to do things I enjoyed. But, it’s so much deeper than that. Here’s my definition:

Self care is taking responsibility for your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being and giving your body and spirit what it needs to thrive. 

If a nice hot bath is what your body needs to thrive, then it’s self-care. If taking a little social media break is what your mind needs to thrive, it’s self-care. If eating a doughnut is really what your spirit needs to thrive, it’s self-care. 

The real key is being mindful (there’s that word again) and deciding if what you are doing is giving your body or soul what it needs. It’s essential that we learn to pause and check in with our bodies  This isn’t a habit you will get into quickly, especially if you have been neglecting your self-care for a long time. But the good news is that you can start today!

Enter: meditation. 

Meditation means different things to different people. But to me, meditation is mindfulness practice. It is taking time every day to practice noticing how your body and mind feels. 

There is so much research surrounding the health benefits of daily meditation-I’ll let you do that Google search if you need convincing. But, I think most of us have a good idea of why meditation is a good idea. We just need a little nudge to implement it.

You can find free guided meditations all over. I used the Headspace app’s 10 free meditations over and over. Youtube is full of them, I’ve heard the Calm app is great (but I think you have to pay for that one), and I use the Slumber app to help me fall asleep. Do some exploring and find the ones that work best for you (and don’t make you just giggle the whole time).  

Regular meditation is teaching me how to check in with my body and soul and give them what they need. It may sound hokey, hippie, or boring. You might feel silly the first few times. You might say you just don’t have time. But can you just trust me on this one and try it? Spend just 10 minutes of your before-bed phone scroll to invest in yourself. 

As you learn to meditate, you will begin being mindful, and you will be able to practice real, intentional self-care. And that’s the kind of self-care that brings joy, balance, and true peace into our lives. 

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