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There’s hustle & bustle. Where are you?

BluefinBay-LakeSuperiorSeasons greetings, peeps! Today I write from my office at the beautiful Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts overlooking Lake Superior. I love it here! And this morning I’m mesmerized by the waves as they roll in and I sip my morning coffee. Lucky girl!

My short solitude is interrupted when I read that there are only 10 days til Christmas. Huh? Yikes! My heart starts to race. Best get on that.

The truth is, I’m more tired than usual at this time of year — emotionally and physically. That makes sense as I study my calendar and realize I’ve only been home and slept in my own bed five nights in the last month.

The holiday season and year-end activities often find us more stressed, full of expectations, and lost in the hustle and bustle. My question — to myself and to you — is: Where are you in all of this hustle and bustle? What are you doing to take care of yourself? Are you in your equation?

lori-xmaspjsSome of us (ME!) love and embrace the holidays for its joys — the ability to give, to share with others how much we love and appreciate them, white christmas-lightstwinkle lights, holiday cheer, white twinkle lights…and the list goes on. Others of us struggle during the season that everyone expects/predicts should be jolly, yet we’re not experiencing it.

Whichever camp you’re in, it’s important to find ways to nurture yourself. And this year, I’m right there with you. I’m in need of some additional nurture and am thrilled that I can now recognize it and have strategies for practicing self-care during a crazy hectic — but favorite — season!

Here are some of my tips for putting yourself in the equation during the holidays.

  1. Schedule in time for YOU. Don’t give all of your time and energy away to others. Make sure you have time each day, week for you.

This sound like a “no-brainer” to some and impossible to others. During the holiday season it’s so easy to over-schedule and over-commit, giving up all of your precious “down” time. Even I managed to do that this year — lots of people and things needed me, so I started to chip away at my daily “Lori time” and now I’m feeling it.

So today is the restart. I’m regrouping and reclaiming time for me EVERY morning — no matter where I am. My morning walk/hike and 5-10 mindfulness just to think about what I want from my day. This is what centers me. I usually combine this with a daily gratitude practice — while I walk, I think about what I’m most grateful for and then I feel grounded again. But these past weeks while I’ve been on the road, I’ve lost my routine, and I’ve been struggling. Time to reclaim it!

What works for you? What’s possible? Even if it’s 10 minuted in the morning where you turn on all the Christmas lights and drink your your coffee and think about what YOU want and need from this day. It will make a difference, I promise!

2. Manage your expectations about what’s doable, needed and about how the holidays will go.The expectation game is a killer at the holidays. Societal pressures, advertising campaigns that bombard us, holiday movies with unrealistic happiness, and our own family dynamics — all can contribute to an unrealistic expectation game.

I’ve been practicing managing my expectations — oh, for about 20 years now– and it does get a little easier with time and with a solid tip #1 — some “ME” time.

There is so much we simply can’t control. For me, the key is to think about what I want, what I can realistically deliver/do, and to try to give up the rest. Just spending time thinking about this and having an honest conversation with yourself or your partner really helps. Do you really need to bake all of those cookies, run to 10 stores for the perfect gift and host a holiday party? Or, would you be happy if you baked two types of cookies instead of six and scaled back on holiday commitments so you had one night in your own home to just “be?” Whatever works for YOU is the key.

3. Never apologize or feel guilty for taking care of you, saying no, doing what YOU want! This is called self-care, putting yourself in the equation. And, yes, it’s harder than it sounds because we’re conditioned and trained otherwise.

I’m living proof that it not only works, it’s a necessity — especially at this time of year. By taking care of you, setting boundaries and nurturing yourself, you’re ensuring that you will be more present, more creative, more engaged, more fun and more available to those in your life. For those of you that travel, you know the airline mantra — …should the cabin lose pressure, put your oxygen mask on first, then assist others. Why? Because if you didn’t take care of you first, you couldn’t assist others!

It’s taken me a few years to get more comfortable with this tip. But, like today, I’ve learned to “restart” when I find myself filled with guilt for taking care of me first. It’s essential. We all have slips where we get out of our equation and lose sight of our needs — sometimes for good reason. The key is to always come back to center and to make sure you’re in the picture of your own life. Your needs do matter and I promise you, you’ll be more available for those kids, your spouse or partner, and others when you are paying attention to you.

Gotta go to work now. Cheers! For those of you that are experts at self-care and balance during the holidays, please share your tips here! For those who have to work at it, like me, I hope this helps.

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