Is it just me or is Christmas approaching way more quickly than most years? The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of the year, with holiday brunches, gift exchanges, community festivals, shopping, wrapping, baking, and enjoying time with family and friends. While I have enjoyed all the hype before Christmas, it has taken a lot of preparation and I’m sure I’m not alone in that I almost want a “holiday” from the holidays.
With the theme of the giving season, it is so easy to get wrapped up in everything and everyone else, and lose sight of ourselves (including our health and overall wellbeing). Martha Beck, an American sociologist, life coach, best-selling author, and speaker, wrote an inspiring article in this month’s Oprah Magazine about treating ourselves during the holidays. She reminds us of the gifts we all want, and to not forget about ourselves during the hustle and bustle of the season.
What gifts should we ask for ourselves during the holidays? Martha Beck discusses the following:
1. Time. She reminds us to make time for ourselves, whether that is through meditation, relaxing, or simply resting. We can also save time (and therefore have more time for the things that truly matter) by avoiding mindlessly surfing the Internet or watching television. I have made this a personal goal over the past few months, making sure to give myself at least one night of “me” time per week, making sure that I reflect, rest, and rejuvenate after the constant stimulation involved in working and socializing.
2. Stuffless-ness. She discusses how we don’t always have to ask for tangible gifts. We can give ourselves (or ask for) experiences and time with family and friends. This was a theme in my holiday shopping this year – for example, I gave my brother and sister-in-law a “date afternoon” out in Philadelphia for a holiday tour. She also describes how traveling reminds us of the limited items we actually need to live our daily lives – and anything extra just adds clutter, literally and figuratively, into our lives.
3. Acceptance. She inspires us to accept ourselves and our life circumstances with gratitude. She also discusses forgiveness and permission as common topics people want for themselves. By letting go of what no longer serves us, we lift weight off our shoulders, which enables us to move forward and grow into bigger and better people.
In addition to Martha Beck’s thoughts, I’d like to add a fourth gift that I think we should give to ourselves:
4. Inspiration. It’s a big world out there with people full of wisdom and experiences to share with us. We can be inspired by their words and actions if we are willing to open our eyes, ears, and minds to learn from and get to know them. As I have mentioned before, I am constantly inspired by other people and have quoted that I am inspired to inspire others, as they have inspired me. Whether we are traveling or in our hometown, we can be inspirNational in our everyday lives.
Enjoy the last couple weeks of the Christmas season, and as you’re giving gifts to others, remember to treat yourself as well!