In Australia, it's a very busy time of year with the lead up to Christmas, summer holidays and kids out of school for the end of year break. It is around this time that we may feel tired, have a lack of motivation and just need some time off. Self-care may become secondary and that can lead to burn-out, lower tolerances and mood swings. So how do we not only survive, but thrive during this time of year? Read on for my 3 steps .........
Choice: it's the first step to positive self-care. Choose to allocate time within each day to undertake a recharge activity. This doesn't need to be a huge amount of time, possibly as little as 10 minutes. Reflect on what makes you feel rested and recharged. Is it spending time with your horse, sitting out under a tree with a cuppa, taking a lovely bath or meditating? The choices are endless and don't need to cost money. Make a decision and start today! I'd love to hear what you are allocating your minimum 10 minutes to.
I know that I've mentioned it a million times before - horses are absolutely fantastic at regulating their emotions and communicating boundaries. They give us a unique gift and example of how to fully embrace our emotions in the present and move into affect (emotional) regulation. If you don't have a horse, then stop outside a paddock (yes, they are even on the outskirts of the Adelaide CBD) and observe. Or if you can't do that, then look at the photo of Dozer and I below. Can you see the gift that Dozer is bestowing on me and in turn assisting me to recognise those qualities within myself? The relational heart connection, sacred being to being? The calm and peace? Priceless.
I mentioned communicating boundaries as well. How often do we say "yes" when we actually want to say "no". Horses very clearly communicate when others are in their space. Consider implementing this example - not the ears back and teeth bared, but you know what I mean ;) . Make a conscious effort to actually say "yes" or "no" when you want to, rather than berating yourself afterwards for agreeing to do something that you don't want to do.
When we become busy we stop paying attention to all the wondrous things around us. In the photo below, Hottie, looks to be interested in my scarf as the wind blows it across his nose. That made me laugh. Other horses snorted and trotted away, but Hottie stood there. Simple things. Or the wind blowing across my skin and through my hair. The sound of your children laughing or Cannon (my dog) excitedly running down the 500 metres of our driveway to get the rubbish bin. Stop and notice. In this crazy busy time of year we quite often forget to look and allow ourselves to fully feel.
Hopefully, this has been a little reminder that self-care is important - especially during the holiday seasons. Merry Christmas or if you don't celebrate Christmas, then happy holidays to you all.