During the holiday season last year, we explored how to discover your inner sanctuary.
And with the year we’ve had, retreating to your inner sanctuary may have felt like a great option.
Yet, you may not have gone there as often as you intended.
And I understand.
This year has been hectic. Undergoing a global pandemic with shifting circumstances and now tackling holiday errands has added to the pile on your plate.
So you kept putting off self-care and visits to your inner sanctuary. You were busy, and you needed to be there for your family. That’s excusable, right?
This is the pitfall I see so many women fall into… Thinking that your well-being is optional.
Rather, it’s the opposite. Self-care is the pathway to success, abundance, and growth.
If it’s been a while, it’s time to brush the cobwebs from your inner sanctuary and restore it to a temple of peace and reverence.
But first things first…
What is Your Inner Sanctuary?
Your inner sanctuary is the sacred space within you where you can retreat.
Only you have access to your sanctuary.
And your inner sanctuary can be whatever you need it to be.
For now, it can be a place of solitude, serenity, and silence.
It can also shift over time. When you feel like you’re in a rut, your inner sanctuary can also be a destination for inspiration, creativity, and empowerment.
Your inner sanctuary is how you define it, and whatever serves you best throughout your life.
Why Is Your Inner Sanctuary So Important?
2020 confirmed that we can’t always visit an external destination to feel peace.
With businesses closed, you couldn’t retreat to the spa for the afternoon. You might have even needed to postpone your travel plans.
When your external world is affected, the only place you can find relief is your internal world.
You can find sanctuary and peace within yourself.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and burned out, you know that you can visit your inner sanctuary to feel centered and revitalized again.
But the thing is, your inner sanctuary serves you best only when you visit it regularly. Otherwise, you may be denying yourself all the benefits it has to offer.
How to Restore Your Sanctuary If You Haven’t Visited It For a While
Last holiday season, we talked about how to discover your sanctuary. But if it’s been a while since you visited it, you may have noticed some things have changed. In this technological age, your mind may feel like it’s hooked to a dopamine drip. You crave constant stimulation, and you find it in television, social media, or your emails.
Rediscovering your inner sanctuary is difficult when your attention is splintered.
So, here’s a meditation for restoring your inner sanctuary to the oasis of peace and inspiration you desire…
#1 Relax Your Senses
Find a quiet room where there’s a comfortable place to sit (be sure to leave your phone in another room and turn off the ringer).
Close your eyes.
Breathe in through your nose slowly to the count of five.
Then exhale slowly through your mouth to the count of ten (let the world around you melt away).
#2 Visualize Your Inner Sanctuary in Disrepair
If it’s been a while since you last visited your inner sanctuary, let its appearance reflect this.
Let’s say your sanctuary is a small cottage in a peaceful meadow. Imagine a thick layer of dust has settled everywhere. Cobwebs accumulated in every corner, and the plant life around you has browned. The sky is overcast, with no sunshine to warm you.
This may feel unsettling. But let this serve as a visual reminder of what happens when you don’t regularly care for yourself.
“Self-care is a practice that warrants active attention to strengthen your well-being,” said Shainna Ali, Ph.D. in Psychology Today. When you put self-care on the back burner, your health suffers — you feel anxious, your muscles ache, and your focus blurs.
When you don’t visit your sanctuary regularly, it also suffers from neglect.
#3 Now, Visualize Your Inner Sanctuary Being Restored
Continue with your deep breathing. Imagine your inner sanctuary being restored with each out-breath.
Slowly, the sun peeks from behind the clouds. The dust lifts from the surfaces. The plants slowly spring to life in vibrant greens, yellows, and pinks. The sound of birds chirping fills the air.
Immerse your senses — sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell — with all the sensations that delight you.
Experience every moment. Feel truly present within your inner sanctuary.
#4 Recognize How This Makes You Feel
As you embrace your senses, tune in to how you feel within your inner sanctuary.
Do you feel safe and at peace? Notice that.
Do you feel clarity and purpose? Notice that.
Do you feel empowered and inspired? Notice that.
Identify the emotions you are feeling and etch them within your heart.
What you’re doing is creating a strong emotional connection to your inner sanctuary.
When your physical world feels like it’s chaos and you’re pulled in every direction, a strong emotional connection to your inner sanctuary may encourage you to return again and again.
Make Visiting Your Inner Sanctuary Part of Your Self-Care Routine
The beautiful part of your inner sanctuary is that it’s always there when you need it.
But you might take that for granted and not visit as often as you would like.
Remember: your inner sanctuary isn’t solely for when you’re feeling overextended or signs of burnout.
It’s a place you can visit every day, especially during the hectic holiday season.
Just as you would practice self-care every day, make visiting your inner sanctuary a non-negotiable daily practice.
Imagine visiting your inner sanctuary each morning. In this way, before you give yourself away to the world, you explore the world within you.
You’re at peace. You’re centered. And you’re grounded, ready to face the day ahead.
Sometimes the best holiday gifts are the ones that cost nothing at all. That’s why I offer you this free gift: a list of my favorite holiday self-care practices (which take 15 minutes or less). These small acts of self-love can remind you how important it is to prioritize self-care and your well-being during this special time of year.
Click here to claim your copy of 24 of My Favorite Holiday Self-Care Activities That Take Less Than 15 Minutes.
I hope that you use this list to take time for yourself during this holiday season.
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Thinking about scheduling time off from work to enjoy a little self-care for the holidays?
A staycation to spend your downtime relaxing at home with your family may be the break you desire. Yet, if you’re not mindful of your time, your staycation can be anything but restful.
You imagine yourself unwinding and enjoying the space, ease, and quiet. Instead, you’re spending more time socializing, spending money, running errands, and completing seasonal tasks. Before you know it, your staycation is over and you hardly feel rested at all!
During a staycation, it feels like you have all the time in the world. But if you’re not careful, you’ll spend all that time and have none leftover for yourself.
If you want to feel well-rested and rejuvenated during this time of the year, take time for yourself first.
Why Caring For Yourself is Crucial, Especially During the Holidays
Your to-do list feels like it’s growing each day, but your days feel shorter than ever (especially after the time change!).
So what might you do?
You overextend yourself.
You’re busy at every moment — cooking, shopping, cleaning, wrapping gifts, decorating… the list goes on!
But what happens once you overextend yourself? According to Psych Central, you may start experiencing:
- Headaches and muscle tension
- Appetite changes
- Disruption in sleep patterns
- Lack of focus
- Poor judgment
- Nervousness or anxiousness
All of these symptoms put you on track to feeling overwhelmed and experiencing signs of burnout!
You heard that right. You take time off to enjoy the holidays and wind up experiencing burnout instead! And the last thing you want for the new year is to feel overwhelmed with life.
The first thing you want to do is create more free time and space in your life during your staycation. If you’re a perfectionist and over-achiever, you might want to do everything yourself. As a recovering perfectionist and over-achiever, I feel you. So, if you’re taking time off for the holidays, these tips can help you dedicate some of that time to YOU.
Self-Care for the Holidays: Take Time for Yourself (So You Can Feel Rested and Centered During Your Staycation)
#1 Maintain Your Morning Routine
When you’re taking time off, it’s tempting to stay in bed all day.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t sleep in. Feel free to catch a few extra hours of sleep — you deserve it!
What I am saying is that even when you’re taking time off from work, your morning routine need not take a break. Remember: your morning practices are meant to benefit you. This daily ritual ensures that you give time to YOU before you give it away to others.
Even if it means you’re starting it one or two hours later because you’re sleeping in, stick with it. Your morning routine can keep you grounded and empowered for the day that awaits you.
Some of my favorite practices I do in my morning routine include:
- Journaling my thoughts and emotions
- Practicing gratitude
- Applying and diffusing essential oils (aromatherapy does wonders for calming your body and reducing stress)
Doing just these five things helps me start my day feeling invigorated and inspired. And with all the shopping and decorating you might have to do, wouldn’t you want to tackle them feeling empowered?
#2 Gift Yourself the Present Moment
During the holiday season, it can feel like so many things are competing for your attention. You’re putting up holiday decorations, checking people off your gift list, and writing messages in your holiday cards.
Sometimes, you forget that the present moment is HERE and you’re living it right now.
To remind myself to be more mindful of the present moment, I practice sensory self-care. Sensory self-care is tending to your five senses (sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing). And during the holidays, there are so many special opportunities to give your senses some attention:
- When it’s feeling chilly, light the fireplace and enjoy your favorite hot drink
- Run a hot bath and light your favorite scented candle (might I recommend holiday scents of pine or cinnamon?)
- Drive through neighborhoods while playing holiday tunes and admire how families decorate their homes with Christmas lights
- Try a new holiday recipe with the family and let the delicious aromas waft through your home
Delighting your senses during the holiday season can make this time of year even more memorable.
#3 Express Gratitude for Yourself
You’ve worked so hard, and now you’re taking some well-deserved time off.
This staycation is a sign of gratitude for yourself, an acknowledgement of all you have achieved this year.
Nobody will argue that it has been a crazy year.
You’ve gone through so much — a pandemic, social tensions, and now we have political developments to wrap up 2020.
We have ALL been affected. If you felt isolated or fearful during this year, it’s understandable.
Yet, you have made it to the end of the year.
Your hard work, resilience, and commitment to yourself and your family have only empowered you.
And you deserve recognition for that.
And even though it may feel silly, the next time you see yourself in the mirror, tell yourself, “Thank you for all you have done. I appreciate you.”
Reclaim Your Time and Give It To Yourself
During this time of the year, it’s easy to give all our time away, whether to holiday tasks or socializing with others. Instead of feeling centered, you feel like you’re pulled in every direction.
It’s time to stop feeling overwhelmed this holiday season and start feeling well-rested, replenished, and inspired.
This only happens when you set aside time for yourself and use it for self-care and self-love.
If you need a little inspiration for self-care activities that will revitalize you, I offer you a free gift: a list of my favorite holiday self-care practices (which take 15 minutes or less). These small acts of self-love can remind you how important it is to prioritize self-care and your well-being during this special time of year.
Click here to claim your copy of 24 of My Favorite Holiday Self-Care Activities That Take Less Than 15 Minutes.
I hope your holidays are filled with warmth, joy and ease. Take care and happy holidays!
Thanksgiving has passed, but do you still find yourself holding your breath?
The holidays aren’t over. December still holds so much holiday stress and errands…
- Buying gifts
- Sending invitations
- Running errands
- Decorating your home
- Wrapping presents
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed!
And if you have Superwoman Syndrome, trying to tackle it all alone, you’re bound to burn out.
“The pressure of trying to do everything ― plan the perfect holiday, make it home to see your family, say yes to every event, meet those year-end deadlines ― can be enough to send anyone into a tail spin,” said Carolyn Gregoire in the HuffPost.
Instead of admiring the twinkling lights and enjoying the warmth of friends and family, you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, drained and maybe even isolated.
So, Whitney, what can I do?
The secret to staying empowered during the holidays is realizing that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Instead, rely on your support systems.
How Support Systems Can Bring You Joy During the Holidays
The holidays feel like they should be a time of joy but so much of the time they don’t feel like that… More often, stress and the holidays seem to go hand-in-hand.
Tackling your holiday errands while fulfilling your normal responsibilities stretches you thin.
But when you start loosening your grip on the reigns and relying on the people in your support systems, you may notice…
- You feel more emotionally supported
- You lessen the load on your plate and reduce your holiday stress
- You are more resilient to sickness (helpful during flu season!)
- You have more time to actually experience joy and ease during the holidays!
But you probably already know how asking for help can help you. So, why don’t you do it?
Could it be the excuses you’re telling yourself?
….I don’t even have enough time to ask… It’s awkward asking for help… They’re too busy and I don’t want to be a bother…
Here’s the thing about support systems. They’re a two-way street! You can ask others for help when you need it, the same way they can ask you for help when they need it.
That’s how powerful bonds that last a lifetime are forged.
And during the holidays, it’s critical to ask for help when you need it if you want to stay empowered. Here are a few ways to lean on your support systems during the holiday season.
3 Tips for Relying on Your Support Systems to Reduce Holiday Stress
#1 Use Teamwork to Tackle Holiday Errands
Although your obligations may increase during the holidays, the number of hours you have in a day remains the same.
Doing everything yourself may result in burnout and you may possibly make yourself sick (the last thing you want during the holiday season!).
Delegating certain tasks to friends and family members can help you stay on top of things. For example, you can…
- Have your children run errands, like buying groceries and picking up dry cleaning
- Designate areas of your home to each family member for tidying up
- Ask your partner to help put up holiday decorations
- If you’re hosting the holiday party, consider making it a potluck. Each person can contribute to the holiday meal, lessening the prep and cooking you’ll have to do that day.
- Holding a Secret Santa gift exchange may also reduce the amount of gift shopping and wrapping you’ll have to do!
Lessening the pile on your plate can reduce holiday stress while freeing up more time (and mental bandwidth) to experience joy and intimacy during the holidays.
#2 Be Vulnerable (It’s not as scary as it sounds!)
After this crazy year and now seasonal affective disorder settling in, you might be prone to negative emotions during this time of the year.
Elevated stress, anxiety and overwhelm can make it a struggle just to get out of bed.
So, what might your go-to reaction be?
Bottle it up?
But like putting a lid on a boiling pot, your emotions can tend to rise and may spill over into hopelessness and self-sabotaging behavior.
Being open and vulnerable can help you channel those emotions in a healthy way.
But that’s scary!
Here’s an important thing about your support systems. Choosing the right people to keep close to your heart also means choosing people who love you, support you and uplift you.
So, if you’re feeling down, reach out.
It doesn’t always have to be your partner. You can bond with a close friend or family member and share how you’re feeling.
You might discover that simply unburdening your emotions can lead to greater clarity, joy and ease.
#3 Have Fun With a Loved One
Finally, just have fun.
Too often, you might associate the holidays with stress and errands so that you forget it’s also a time for relaxing, strengthening bonds and appreciating life.
And you don’t have to wait until the day of the celebration either.
If you’re feeling isolated or just need a break from the daily grind, spend time with your loved ones:
- Catch up with your friends over a video call
- Plan a picnic at the park with your partner
- Schedule a movie night with the family
- Have a spa day at home with the girls
The holidays can be the perfect opportunity to unwind and introduce a little seasonal joy and self-care into your life.
You’re not alone
This article is about leaning on your support systems during the holidays.
But you might still be hesitant about asking for help when you need it. Or the thought of sharing your thoughts and emotions with somebody is terrifying.
If you want to reach out but don’t know quite how to do it in a way that makes you feel empowered, I’m here as part of your support system. So, claim a Complimentary 30-minute “Break Free from the Superwoman Syndrome” Discovery session with me.
In this 30-minute consultation, you’ll:
- Reveal a clear and compelling vision of what else is possible for your life when you’re no longer trying to do it all by yourself and, instead, are receiving the support that you crave
- Tap into greater love, ease, and joy
- Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.
Click here now to claim your Complimentary “Break Free from the Superwoman Syndrome” Discovery session.
A Healthline survey showed that 62% of participants felt stressed over the holidays.
Why is that?
Shouldn’t the holidays be a time of joy, relaxation and bonding?
You might be wishing it was that way.
Instead, the holidays feel more like rushing, driving around, waiting in long lines and meticulously planning your finances. You feel anything but joy — you’re stressed, overwhelmed and it feels like you need a personal holiday from the actual holidays!
But what if I told you that the holidays could actually be a time of peace, intimacy and joy?
You can get your priorities done and still feel empowered day-to-day.
The secret is holiday self-care — but not the type of self-care you might be thinking. I’m talking about time management.
Time Management and Self-Care: How They’re Related
Time management and self-care seem unrelated — managing your time seems more relevant to business or getting your degree.
Yet, time management and self-care are intertwined.
See, time management is about spending your time on things that align with your purpose and priorities. And when you don’t manage your time well, you don’t have enough time to do the things you love and that are important to your well-being — like hobbies, exercise and downtime.
When you do manage your time well, your life shifts in a more positive direction:
- More work/life balance
- More time (and space) to breathe
- More appreciation for the blessings in your life
- More clarity around your priorities and vision
- More energy through physical self-care (good nutrition, enough exercise and quality sleep)
Yet, self-care during the holidays is something we often leave on the back burner. Instead of feeling the above benefits, you may feel overwhelmed and burned out. Worst case, you may compromise your immune system — the last thing you want in today’s circumstances.
The holidays don’t have to be a source of dread. Following these tips can help you manage your time better so that you can stay empowered and enjoy yourself during the holidays.
Holiday Self-Care: 3 Tips to Better Manage Your Time (So You Can Enjoy Time for Yourself and With Your Loved Ones)
#1 Plan Early and Prioritize
Planning smart and early is key to keeping the holiday season as stress-free as possible — especially with the new COVID-19 guidelines around crowds and gatherings.
Creating a list of things you need to do keeps you focused, safe, and helps prevent anything from slipping through the cracks. Here are some items you may want to include on your holiday checklist:
- Make a list of all the people you need to buy gifts for
- Compile recipes you want to cook (and be sure to factor in time for trial runs if it’s a new dish)
- Pick a day to set up holiday decorations
- If you’re traveling, make sure your passport is up-to-date
- If you’re hosting, pick a date to send reminders
- Dedicate time for wrapping gifts
- Regular self-care
- Consider multiple smaller parties or online parties (via Zoom or Skype) instead of larger gatherings, in light of COVID-19 regulations
Next, look at your calendar. Women often feel unnecessary pressure if they wait until the week before to get through their holiday tasks. Instead, spread your tasks throughout the upcoming weeks.
For example, let’s say you’re hosting a small holiday party one month from now. Your upcoming weekends might look like this:
Weekend 1: Make a list of gifts to buy (don’t forget to get something special for yourself!), send invitations to party guests, plan recipes for the party and indulge your sweet tooth with a seasonal drink (remember to support your local businesses!)
Weekend 2: Put up Christmas decorations, test recipes, purchase gifts and enjoy your favorite holiday movie with the family and a warm beverage!
Weekend 3: Deep clean your home (hire a cleaner to save time and energy!), set hand sanitizers next to the front door, wrap presents and treat yourself to a massage.
Weekend 4: Remind your party guests of time and location and soothe your body with a warm bath and face mask so you’re rested for the party.
Naturally, the holiday season brings more responsibilities on top of your day-to-day obligations. If you want to tackle the holidays with greater ease, prioritization is essential. And sometimes, prioritizing means saying no.
You’re already so busy.
Declining things outside holiday-related tasks and taking time for yourself helps you stay grounded and productive.
#2 Ask for Support
When you have a long list of tasks, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. There’s so much to do… How will you find the time?
The great thing is: you don’t need to do everything yourself.
A lot goes on during the holidays and sometimes it requires a team effort so everyone can enjoy their time together, while staying safe and healthy.
Start with delegating certain tasks.
- If you have children who can drive, have them run errands for you.
- Ask your partner if they can put up the Christmas lights.
- If you’re hosting this year’s holiday gathering, consider making it a potluck — that way, you’re not overwhelmed with handling the entire menu.
So often, women feel like they’re holding their breath just to get through the holidays, waiting for a moment to breathe and collect themselves.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Loosen your grip on the reins and let those who care for you help you.
#3 Dedicate Time to Yourself
Undoubtedly, the holiday season is a lot of hustle and bustle. And making arrangements to accommodate COVID-19 regulations may be causing more stress and grief.
Even with planning and prioritizing, you might feel like you need to sacrifice your “me” time just to make it through the holidays.
Yet, that doesn’t have to be true.
Yes, you may find yourself busier than normal, but that doesn’t always mean regular self-care gets thrown out the window. Effective time management helps you make time for YOU.
Investing just 15 to 30 minutes per day on yourself can help you feel grounded again. Within that time, you can practice meditation, go for a walk outside or take a warm bath to fend off the winter chill.
Even a few moments of mindful deep breathing throughout the day can center your focus. This is especially helpful when your monkey mind is jumping between all the things you have to do.
The holidays are a time for giving — so give yourself the time and energy to love and care for yourself.
The Holidays CAN Be a Time of Joy and Rejuvenation
While you’re bound to feel some stress during the holidays, it doesn’t have to worsen into overwhelm and burnout — even when adapting to guidelines related to large gatherings.
With the right time management skills, you can knock out all your holiday responsibilities and still create time for yourself.
Because that’s what time management is all about — investing your time the best way you can and making the most of current circumstances.
Yet, I know that the holidays can be a time of struggle, and that’s why I stress the importance of my third tip — dedicating time to YOU. When you set aside intentional time for your well-being, you can reverse your stress and start feeling well-rested and balanced again.
This holiday season, I give you the gift of self-care — 15 minutes dedicated each day to loving and empowering YOU! Click here to claim your copy of 24 of My Favorite Holiday Self-Care Activities That Take Less Than 15 Minutes.