Day 10: 10 Days of Self-Care (The Holiday Countdown)
Well my friends and fellow readers, here we are at day 10 on the eve before Christmas (well, technically on the day of the eve before Christmas day if you are reading this prior to the evening, lol). I hope you have enjoyed following along and that you have learned a new skill or habit to incorporate into your self-care routine.
I now invite you to take a moment to settle into a comfortable seated position, wherever suits your body right now. It could be on the floor, on a yoga mat, in a chair, under the Christmas tree! Find a comfortable connection through your seat to the floor or the chair and then move your attention to your spine. Imagine a string attached to the crown of your head and gently pull it upward. Feel your spine elongate. Settle your shoulders down away from your ears and bring your attention to your breath. Without trying to change it, just tune in and listen. After several rounds of regular breathing (one round = one full inhale and one full exhale), begin to breathe in deeply through your nose and sigh it out through your mouth. Imagine any tension you are holding is sighing out with your breath. Repeat three to five times before returning to your regular breathing rhythm. If you would like to stay with your breath a little longer, if it's feeling like exactly what you needed, please do. Alternate rounds of regular breathing with five repetitions of sighing out as long as it feels good.
Sighing out through the mouth is a cue to the sympathetic nervous system to be calm. It is a way of consciously letting our bodies know we are in a safe place where we can relax. We want to disengage the sympathetic nervous system (the area of fight, flight or freeze) and engage the parasympathetic nervous system (the area of rest and digest).
Day 10 Suggestion: Be Present. Unplug.
The next couple days will look different for everyone, and will certainly look different this year than they did last year. However you move through them, do so consciously, with intention and awareness. Stay present and try to live the moments as they happen instead of getting caught up in worry or stress about what the next day, week or month may bring. Look around yourself and choose gratitude, especially if you find yourself in a difficult moment (remembering that you can be grateful for your own strength and resilience). Look at the people you may find yourself with and choose kindness, especially if you find yourself challenged (remembering that you can choose kindness for yourself too). Most importantly, live these days for you, not for someone else.
Social media can be a wonderful tool that allows people to connect. It can also be a tremendous source of stress as it often encourages comparisons between how we live our own lives and how other people live theirs. When we choose to stay present and move through our day with intention we are rewarded with the experience. When we choose to view our day through a lens, through an image to post later we miss out on the experience itself, substituting it for a visual and for external validation (which isn't really good for anyone in the end). This is not to say that you can't take pictures. Just have a look at your intention when you take them. Who is the picture for? If it is for you, to allow you to capture something beautiful that is filling you with positive energy, take the picture. If it isn't for you... if it is part of a constructed narrative you are already writing in your head for consumption later, I encourage you to leave the camera, phone, etc alone and just be in the moment.
Supplemental Suggestion: Social Media Blackout
Why not challenge yourself to take a full social media break for the next few days? Starting this evening, I plan to take a break from online content of any kind, to free up energy to spend with my family "bubble." The only time I intend on being near a screen will be for a Zoom call with family that I won't be seeing in person this year due to the provincial guidelines. Why not try the same? Sometimes you don't realize how much energy something drains from you until it's not there anymore.
However you spend the next few days, may they find you and yours in good health and good spirits. Thank you for joining me. Stay safe,
With best wishes,