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How about giving to yourself?

 

 Wa-hoo it’s almost Christmas!!

The season of giving, right?

Sure is! Let’s think about all that giving:


Presents for the teacher, helping the kiddos hand-write cards for their classmates, devising the Christmas lunch menu, decorating the house, filling the stockings, attending parties and sitting through hours of off-key renditions of “Deck the Halls’ in a hot school hall….

Phew!

All this giving of your time, energy and err.. cash, seems never-ending at this time of year, right?


And while giving feels amazing, what about YOU? How about giving to yourself?

You’ve seen the memes, and it’s true: you can’t give your time, energy or emotional support to anyone (including yourself), when you’re running on empty.

It’s time to gift yourself (at least) 5 minutes a day of simple soul-nourishing practices for ‘12 days of Christmas self-care’. These mini-projects are perfect to prepare your body, mind and soul for a balanced and fun festive season.

12 days of Christmas self-care (just for you)

 

Day 1: Put your feet (and legs) up

Just 5 minutes in this restorative yoga pose is enough to create a soothing balm for the whole body, mind and soul - really! By taking the legs upside-down, the blood flow is reversed, refreshing tired legs and relaxing a busy mind. (If this pose looks a little too intimidating, take it down a notch and enjoy ‘legs on the couch’ - you’ll get similar benefits in this milder version.)

Day 2: Laugh at a ‘Dad joke’

Laughter really is the best medicine. A good chuckle sends a natural wave of ‘feel good’ chemicals to the brain, reducing stress and boosting mood. Your task today is to find a good joke (or a super-corny one!) and tickle some funny bones by sharing it with a friend or two.

Here’s one to get the ball rolling:
Q: What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck?
  
A: A Christmas Quacker!

Day 3: Call your bestie

For optimal mental health we each need to experience a sense of connection and belonging. Whether she lives across the street or across the globe, make time today for a good long chat with a dear friend, one who loves and knows you well. It will warm your heart (and hers!)

Day 4: Love it, list it

When was the last time you acknowledged how really awesome you are? Today’s the day to write a list of all things great about you. Got a great smile? Nail a reverse park like a pro? Write it down. Keep going til you list at least a dozens things - big, small, silly and serious. Then take a moment to take in how amazing you are, just as you are!

Day 5: Easy night, alright

The nightly ‘what’s for dinner?’ chant can send anyone into a spin at anytime of year! But now, with an inevitably crammed social calendar and steamy weather, meal prep can create a big serving of ‘hangry’ for the head chef.

Tonight, yourself a break. Grab a BBQ chook and a bagged salad from the supermarket for dinner. Ok, go on then, throw in a box of ice creams too.. :)

Day 6: Be an early bird

Is there anything a good night’s sleep can’t fix? Start a gentle wind down after dinner to prepare for quality Z’s. Perhaps have a TV-free evening; read, chat or listen to quiet music instead. Take a warm bath or long shower, and aim to get between the sheets at least 30 minutes before your usual bedtime.

Day 7: Be mindful, Mama

Mindfulness practices are proven to reduce stress and boost happiness. It’s as simple as paying attention to something (an object, emotion, sensation) in the present moment. (The hard bit is remembering to do it!)

Today, use a little technology to assist this mini-mindfulness project. Notice 3 things that make you smile, and record the moment with a photo. Observe how you mind can be reined in from it’s usual repertoire of jumbled thoughts around the past or future (even for a second or two). Being in the ‘right now’ creates a calm state of mind.

Day 8: Take (remote) control

Sick of kids shows and sport? Let them know the remote’s off limits tonight - you’re in charge of the programming for a change! Watch a TV show that YOU want to watch!

Day 9: Flower power Twelve Days for you  www.adventuresincalm.com

Nature is inherently calming. Today, bring some inside! Buy or pick a pretty bunch of flowers for yourself. Arrange them somewhere in your home where you can see them often as a joyful reminder of your worth and the beautiful world around you.

Day 10: Get out and move it

Physical movement, whether it’s a little or a lot, stimulates the release of natural feel-good chemicals in the brain. Give yourself a mood-boost with your choice of movement - dance, walk, hike or swim!

For bonus points, get outside where the atmosphere is charged with negative ions. (Despite the name, negative ions help us feel positive!)

Day 11: Follow your heart

Self-care is not all bubble-baths and massages (although I’m a big fan of both!). Today, think of something that you’ve always wanted to do, and take a tiny step toward it. For example, if you’ve always wanted to paint, book a workshop for the New Year, or buy some quality art supplies. Your heart and soul will sing!

Day 12: Befriend your breath

Slow, measured and mindful breathing switches on the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, responsible for deep rest, healing and digestion. Find a quiet spot and watch your breathing for a few minutes - set a timer if you need. Tune into the air as it moves in the nostrils, and tune into the air as it exits the nostril. So simple, always available, and oh-so calming.

A gift to you, from you
Of course, you can pick and choose the activities to suit your schedule. But do try to give yourself the precious gift of self-care - you’ll feel amazing and ready to tackle December with a full cup.

 

Bronni Page enjoys Adventures in calm and is passionate about helping others find (and stick to!) the best relaxation technique for them. Curious to learn your best relaxation technique? Take Bronni’s fun Calm Compass Quiz to find out!

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