Self-care in a time like this is so needed. During the holidays, I constantly watch people get angry over necessary—and sometimes unnecessary—reasons on social media and in person because emotions are at an all-time high. If you’ve witnessed anything like this lately, then I’m sure you can understand why having coping mechanisms in place is warranted. Without the practice of self-care, you find yourself tense, defensive and always bothered by the little things.
It starts with the idea that no one owes us our wholeness, wellness or worth but us. It is a difficult piece to understand, but it is important. Even though I advocate for the holistic health of LGBTQIA+ people, all people need to be self empowered with the efficacy to become their best self. So, in this time coming into the holiday season, I wanted to be specific in giving everyone some tips on self-care.
So, how do we begin to consider caring for our self in an intentional way? I will give you four ideas to start with:
Find a safe space.
“Safe space” is another buzzword used freely but reluctantly. By safe space, I mean a person, place, or thing you can go to and bear it all. You find safe spaces in people who call you names only you all understand, in places where you don’t have to be “put together”, and in things that allow you to be free. Safe spaces aren’t worried about your poor grammar, stretch marks or love of Frito Pie. Safe spaces are judgment free zones. Having this space is important because not being able to be authentically you as the world requires you to dress, talk, look, breathe, walk and ultimately exist in a certain way is detrimental to your very existence. If you don’t always have your safe space, now would be a good time to find one. And if all else fails, cultivate your space within the four walls of your home.
Seek a spiritual or humanist practice—outside of religion.
I am NOT saying leave religion if that is your chosen way to the divine. Personally, I know a lot of times church isn’t enough for my personal self-care. I had to figure out a few things that would allow me the type of enrichment that belonging to church couldn’t and wouldn’t do for me. Different practices do different things for different people. Meditating, yoga, chanting, nature walks, and the likes are all forms of spiritual practices that promote well-being. Even community organizing and mobilizing can be considered a practice.
One of my new favorites is delivering “Open When…” cards. These cards are intentionally but randomly given to people and written on the outside of the card is the time when you desire for them to be opened. My mentor started this practice with me and it was one of the most spiritual experiences I had with a human in years. During the holiday season, it can be the perfect time to connect with someone in this way.
Find a way to be a kid again.
I would argue that the fight we have between showing up as our authentic self and dealing with society is the desire to return to our purest form: being a kid again. For a moment, remember how it felt being free and finding joy playing tic-tac-toe on the cement with sidewalk chalk, running around playing hide-and-seek or jumping with your friends on the trampoline. Returning there, can be the closest we get to pure joy.
This past week after a lot of personal and community work with my business partners, we went go-kart riding. I’m sure they were a bit apprehensive, but once we got on the track our competitive spirits came out. We were bumping each other, spinning out of control and concentrating on passing the other up to win on the track; we did two rounds and, by the end, we were all laughing and our minds were free. It was just what we needed to get re-centered.
Friendsgiving or a White Elephant Party.
Holidays are overwhelmingly for families. These days people have come up with some wonderful ideas to make sure everyone is included. My favorites happen to Friendsgiving or White Elephant Parties. These parties generally happen a couple days before Thanksgiving and Christmas. They allow people to celebrate these holidays with their friends. It is the perfect substitute for those who don’t have family and the perfect addition for those who will be busy with family on the holidays. Whichever side you sit on, plan one today and send out a text to invite everyone over.
Holidays can be scary. Self-care is one of the best ways to cope with society. So, do yourself and the world at large a favor and take heed to these four ideas. You can still be your best self in a world that can feel like it’s almost at its worst. And, if you need a little help along the way, we at Amy Wine Counseling are here to help! Give us a call at 832-421-8714, or email us to book an appointment.
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