If your December has disintegrated into a maelstrom of unfinished business, disorganised plans for the family camping trip in January, and that sad email advising your backorder for the new fridge you recently splurged on because it was such a bargain will be delivered next March, fret not.
It’s time to gift yourself that extra special present. You know, the one thing you’ve been hoping to get because it’s what you really want.
Best of all this special gift isn’t going to cost you a cent.
It’s free, it’s beautifully gift wrapped with your name emblazoned on the outside and it’s waiting for you to open it.
It’s the gift of self-care.
Just for you and no-one else.
Self-care is the gift that keeps on giving because the more you use it, the more you’ll enjoy the vitality and happiness it brings.
Like watering that small seedling. Your self-care will continue to blossom and flourish.
Here are five simple things in your self-care package.
Which one will you embrace first?
Time just for you
If you’re forever rushing around sorting out stuff for everyone else, this is your time just for you, to spend as you wish.
Without worry (what will I have to get back to when I’ve finished?)
Your time starts now – not tomorrow.
How will you spend it?
Will it be time to sit on the back verandah with a coffee and a good book?
Is it time to spend on a walk in the park?
Is it time to enjoy a massage?
Is it time to play with your kids?
Have you noticed how sometimes it’s not until we come to that full. Stop. That you finally you get that wonderful night of refreshing uninterrupted sleep?
Preparing for great sleep is about placing a high-value tag on the perfect sleeping environment – the right mattress and pillows to cocoon you in blissful slumber after winding down with relaxing time spent chatting with your partner, reading a great fiction book or listening to music.
Book your next great night sleep for the full 7-8 hours you need, now.
Getting away from all the interruptions, distractions, noise and stress helps you to reconnect to your inner peace.
Your method of finding calm might include time in a beautiful space watching the waves crash on the shore or listening to the wind in the trees in a forest.
It might be spending time on your own. Solitude can help your mind to sort out what’s been worrying you, creating the insight you need to know what to do next.
Instilling a regular mindfulness meditation practice can bring greater calm, creativity and focus to better manage your stress and enhance your capability to deal with whatever curveball might be lurking around the next corner.
Being mindful raises your self-awareness of how you are responding to a given situation, providing the opportunity to make use of the space between a thought and your response.
Learning to be more responsive rather than reactive helps to take the sting out of challenging times and helps you to keep things in perspective.
Best of all you can achieve calm with a couple of slow deep breaths to reduce the monkey chatter in your brain and alleviate some of the muscular tension we carry in our body.
Caring for others
Our greatest reward comes from helping someone in need. Not because we’ve been asked to, but because we can, and know it will make a difference.
My wonderful friend Dennie works as a coordinator for Weave, an NFP in Sydney, matching volunteer tutors with kids from disadvantaged backgrounds who need a bit of help to lift their literacy and numeracy skills.
She is passionate about her work and what brings her the most joy, is seeing the tangible results when the kids are acknowledged for their new literacy and academic excellence accompanied by the beaming pride on their parents’ faces.
How do you care for others?
Do you volunteer for a charity?
Have you offered to help at a fundraising event?
Of course, a gift is not a gift unless it is accepted and used with relish.
Being grateful for your gift of self-care is the self-acceptance piece, knowing you are enough (always).
Being grateful for what you have, is about acknowledging and loving all those jiggly bits of imperfection. Because you’re human and as imperfect and flawed as anyone else. Hurrah.
Gratitude dissolves the need for perfection, it kicks the imposter out the door. It raises our spirits and makes us happy.
Are you ready to open your self-care package?