Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Week Fifty - Christmas Self-Care

Beside the Well         
            I love Christmas!  I love the smells, the music, the family, the hustle and bustle, the gifts, the food, everything about it I love, except for one thing.  I don’t like how it sometimes leaves me feeling.
            I tend to approach Christmas with the idea that it should look like it does in magazines.  The family well dressed, the turkey glowing and surrounded by perfectly roasted potatoes and steaming vegetables, the house adorned with beautifully coordinated decorations, and everyone happy and smiling right through to bedtime.  With over sixty years of Christmases, I’ve yet to reach that goal!
            I usually find myself lagging and growing weary as I try to create the perfect Christmas.  I spend the next day trying to recover, which is hard here in England because Christmas is a two-day event!
            Several years ago, I came across a book on self-care.  It was rather humanistic, but it had some good thoughts that I have found helpful when I face pressured times, especially these seasonal ones that come with my preconceived expectations.

            1) Plan ahead.  Don’t think it will all just miraculously happen.  Think the day/event through.  Have a plan B and be prepared so you can enjoy the holiday.
            2) Don’t overextend.  You are probably the only one with expectations of perfection.  Be realistic and settle for what you can manage without killing yourself. Your family is much happier with a cheerful mother than a fancy meal anyway. 
            3) Plan some happiness for yourself.  Getting Martha-syndrome is easy!  So, build into your plan some little breaks and treats for yourself.  Pace yourself!
            4) Notice when you get grumpy.  Don’t slough it off.  Stop, and have a cup of tea.  Take ten minutes away in a dark room or a comfortable, quiet place.  Put on some happy music.  Pray. Don’t let a lousy temper ruin your efforts.
            5) If you need a hug, go get one!  Don’t be too proud to ask.  And, don’t be too stubborn to give one!  Take time for hugs, they make the holidays much sweeter.
            6) Practice thankfulness.  When I was growing up, there was a TV show called, My Three Sons. One phrase from the show has always stuck with me. The sons were fussing and fighting among themselves, and the dad said something like, “If you aren’t thankful for your family, God can take them away.”  It has always reminded me to look at the people in my life and to be thankful for them, even the ones that are no longer around the table, for they hold special memories of times past.

            Self-care is essential—especially during the holidays.  I hope you have a wonderful time, and that no matter what your Christmas looks like, it will be full of the knowledge that your heavenly Father cared enough for you to send His only Son to that manger bed.  That is the most special thing about Christmas—don’t lose sight of it!     

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