This is a guest post from Hannah Marcotti of HannahsHarvest.com.
There is a sadness that mixes in with the joy of the holidays.
Stress twinkles with excitement under the lights, and love + pain can pair up like a holiday cocktail. Fighting against those feelings that arrive for us this time of year, only invites them to linger. As we exhaust ourselves towards perfection like the cover of a Martha Stewart magazine, the blessings of the season move out of focus.
These blessings waiting like presents for us to unwrap are gratitude, love and joy.
As we return to their simple truths, they teach us how to nurture ourselves during the holidays. Gifting these blessings to ourselves each day supports the tough stuff that can rise up for us this time of year. Our self nurture is about gentleness and kindness.
Learning to give that to ourselves allows us to give back to our families, businesses and spirits.
The self care of gratitude is found in the simplest gestures. Gratitude asks us to be present to the world playing around us. Starting in the morning with I am grateful for this day, to celebrating a meal and gratitude for the farmer who grew the food.
Gratitude comes when we take things off the to-do list. Gratitude then finds us as we open space to softly sit and deeply listen as our kids play. No agenda, no distractions.
Nurturing ourselves through gratitude is taking time to move away from the computers and phones and enjoying soft space. Soft space is not doing, just being. Challenge yourself to start with ten minutes of soft space, like being inside of a daydream. At the end repeat a gratitude in your mind, like “I am grateful for these moments of stillness.”
I make my bed each morning as a way to thank myself at the end of a long day, when I’m falling into bed. That made bed is gratitude and love. What will your future self say thank you, to you, for?
Gratitude is a blessing of receiving. Mothers nurture. Our light burns out when we are unable to receive. Bless your spirit through the practice of gratitude. Receive your own nurture. Your light will be twinkling with the holiday lights.
We give to show our love and that is the practice of self care. Giving to ourselves so we may bless the lives of others.
Our loving nurture starts with what we choose to put in our bodies.
Each morning start the day with a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon. This flushes out the nasty bits that build up in our body while we sleep and rehydrates us which means more energy. Yes, you can have a cup of tea or coffee, just sip the water first. Loving habits need some time to practice, so you may start by leaving the water cup out and ready for you in the morning. You can be grateful to yourself for that.
Loving the body is eating in rhythm with the foods grown around us and eliminating as much of the processed stuff as we can. Wearing an elastic band on your pants so you can overindulge is not a self care practice.
Slowing down, chewing, savoring and stopping when comfortable are love blessings. Don’t look for the remedy for overindulging; practice loving yourself enough that you don’t need to fill your body to the point of stuffed.
Kindness and love flow into each other. Love yourself up during the holidays and know your limits. Ask for some support. Don’t offer to do it all. Remember you.
Joy is a blessing that comes when we realize all that is around us now.
Waiting to care for ourselves when the kids are older or the holidays are over is like kicking joy out the door. Pretending we are happy when our minds and bodies are exhausted will not allow joy in.
Nurture you. Know where you are. Take that ten minute time out in your room and breathe. Pretending you don’t need it is not gentle or kind or loving. Have faith that you are worth the space to just be you. Then go spread the joy.
Step away from the wrapping paper and plum puddings and move. Moving is joyful meditation. It is taking the stuck places and shaking them out. No gym required, a good song and a living room dance party will do the trick.
Feel pleasure, from stepping into your cozy slippers at night to running your hands in your partner’s hair. Giggle with your baby. Bake cookies with your kids and then sit down and slowly eat one together, savoring the gooey chocolate. Have at least two essential oils that you love the smell of and spray the air with them. This is how we invite joy in, by choosing to feel the pleasure of where we are.
This holiday season, ask for the blessings.
Sit for five minutes each day, and repeat one phrase in your mind silently: I am. Those five minutes open up the path for the blessings to flow in. Five minutes to shift into a holiday gift of deeper gratitude, love and joy.
Allow yourself to connect to all of the feelings that surface for you during the holidays that may be blocking your blessings.
The overwhelm, sadness, indecision and worry are real. The blessings of the season come when we start from where we are and move into the gratitude, love and joy. Simple rituals for being present and nurturing move us there.
Let’s make space for this magical time of secret wishes and late night toasts together. Let’s put our blessings on the first list we make in all that must be done. This season of blessings begins with you.
If you listen to what your heart really needs to feel supported and nurtured, what would the answer be?
About the Author:
Hannah Marcotti believes that you + joy = the gorgeous life. The gorgeous life is the sparkle, the joy, the magical moments. It is your food intuition, your deep body knowledge, your desire. It is space, it is touch, it is yours. She is the coach who will guide your course there.
For more blessings of the season, The Holiday Joy Up is a pay-what-you-can program supporting you and your heart space during the season. 10 days of dancing in the magic of the season through gratitude, love and joy.