I am currently reading a book about grief. I personally have lost my grandma and nan in the last year but this time of year, the supposed festive season, can raise some grief for people.
The obvious reason is it is times when family and friends are together that you realise there is a person missing. But grief can also be heightened at this time of year because people are out celebrating the end of the year and if you aren’t in a celebratory mood then this can add to your sense of not being able to connect to people and feel isolate yourself from others.
In the book Second Firststhe author Christina Rasmussen, is talking about a case study where she says to a client “when was the last time you did something for yourself?”. The lady’s answer was “a year and a half ago when my husband bought me a massage voucher before he died”. This BROKE ME!! I shed tears for this lady, her situation and the simple fact she just didn’t know what to do to help herself in this horrible time of grief. This shook me so much because self care is such a massive part of my life, so I can be the best person I can be, but also so I can be the best practitioner for my clients. If my head is all over the place or I am on an emotional rollercoaster, I cannot give my best to my clients.
So going into this crazy, festive season which may not feel festive at all, I wanted to give you some self care tips that can help navigate the emotional waters that is December and January.
The easiest activity you can do is to check in with how you are feeling. If you are honest with yourself and can admit when you are angry, sad, deflated, grieving, disappointed, whatever it is for you, then you can have control over your feelings. This will mean you will be less likely to lash out at other people or force yourself to go to parties when you really just need to be by yourself. Lets talk about how to do this. An exercise that the author uses is called “Activate Your Watcher”. She talks about the Watcher as being a part of you that observes everything. When we observe, without judgment, we can learn to understand what we are feeling, what can trigger those feelings, take control of how we feel and what happens in our life.
For this activity, answer the questions below.
1. When you wake up in the morning, what is the very first thought that comes to mind, and how does this make you feel?
I think …
I feel …
2. Where in your body is the feeling you are describing located?
The feeling is located …
3. Is there a feeling you would like to experience instead?
Answer/prompt I would like to feel …
4. When you experience this new feeling, what would you like to have in your life?
I would like to have …
5. When you acknowledge what you would like to have, do feelings of unworthiness arise? If yes, where do they come from?
My feelings of unworthiness are coming from …
6. Most likely your feelings of unworthiness are not warranted. Why do you deserve the things you have identified?
The truth is, I deserve this … because …
The beauty of this activity is it doesn’t take a lot of time. I have done this activity in as little as 5 minutes and the more you do it, the better your Watcher is at kicking in and you’ll be able to connect with your feelings even faster.
You can do this activity every morning for a week, take some time off and then do it again for a week, or go for as long as you feel is right for you. You can also do it when you notice signs of stress, such as difficulty sleeping, poor concentration, lack of focus and determination. It teaches us self-care because knowing what we feel and how we would actually like to feel is the most important part of knowing ourselves and looking after ourselves.
In case you want some other options for self-care, this could include:
Going to the beach and turning your phone off
Going for a bush walk
Organise to see a close friend and talk about how you are feeling
Download a meditation app (e.g. insight timer, stop think and breathe, balance)
Take a nap if you are tired
Have a bath or sauna
Read a book
Sit in a café and enjoy your coffee or a meal and not jump on your phone (people watching directly activates our Watcher)
Drink more water
Go to a dog park and pat some dogs
Try and or all of these or come up with your own list of self care activities that you can implement when you are a little stressed, anxious or grieving so you can reconnect with yourself and the life that is happening all around you.
Or like the woman in the case study, get a massage. I offer an incredibly healing massage that helps the physical body but also the mental and emotional components of us. It is a full body massage so every little muscle gets targeted and released and I use essential oils to calm or rebalance the nervous system, meaning we are activating that Watcher rather than sitting in fight and flight.
If you have any questions about self-care, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org