For many of us, practicing self-care during the holiday season can feel very daunting. Holiday stress aside, remembering we must also take care of ourselves in addition to our daily responsibilities can add more stress and even undermine the point of self-care in the first place. How can self-care be a part of this season without adding to the to-do list and becoming a source of even more stress?
Recognize the self-care you are already doing.
Instead of trying to change up your routine or introducing new practices, like beginning to meditate or signing up for a new gym membership, first acknowledge the ways you already practice self-care. It can even be seemingly very basic activities. Do you routinely care for your personal hygiene in way that works for you? Or let your friends ask you how you’re doing? Or drink water throughout the day? Or read a novel on your lunch break instead of working? That’s all excellent self-care. Introducing new or more involved practices can be life-enriching, but first take stock of and give yourself permission to celebrate how you already nourish yourself. And if you do have regular commitments or activities you know support you like working out, seeing a therapist, or watching your favorite television show, try to treat these commitments with the same respect that you give the commitments you have with other people.
Set boundaries with the relationships that take energy from you.
Creating boundaries with challenging people can be difficult any time of the year, but it may feel especially daunting during the holiday season. Often, the holidays bring prominent expectations to be with family and to extend compassion and forgiveness. Check in with yourself about your own boundaries and honor them. It is okay to say no and it being the holiday season does not change that—your well-being is more important than pleasing others, especially if they are harmful to you or taking more from you than they give. If, for example, you do have to see a toxic person in your life at so-and-so’s Christmas party, how can you plan ahead to set boundaries with that person and your interactions? Perhaps you decide ahead of time how much you want to talk with them and what conversational topics you will firmly decline. Maybe you have an “out” or a reason to leave early. Perhaps you remind yourself you can always escape to the bathroom as a way to strategically exit conversation. Boundaries are not mean or selfish; they are pivotal to caring for ourselves and others.
Invest your love and energy in the relationships that nourish you.
Be intentional about spending time with the people this season you do want to spend time with. Create plans with them, be honest about your limits (e.g., you don’t need to exchange gifts or spend lots of money preparing food or on activities) and nourish yourself with the relationships that make you feel seen and loved and honored for your whole self. You are worth it.
Remember that you have a community here at All Souls that wants you to stay healthy and grounded and whole.
If you feel stressed and isolated, connect with the people who care about you and the many pastoral care resources we offer here at All Souls. We love you and are here for you! Feed your soul and your spirit by joining us for our Candlelight Christmas Eve services (4:30, 6:00, 7:30 PM) to nourish your connection with your community.
Please join All Souls for Christmas Eve in-person or via live stream on our website.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Services
Friday, December 24 | Three Services at 4:30, 6, & 7:30 p.m.
In person in the Sanctuary & Online!
Wassail & Cookies after the 4:30 and 6 p.m. services. Please bring cookies to share.
Sign up now for in-person services!
4:30 p.m. allsouls.me/candle430
6 p.m. allsouls.me/candle6
7:30 p.m. allsouls.me/candle730*
*Must be vaccinated against COVID-19
Spiritually-centered care giving is at the heart of our church and is conducted through our many Pastoral Care Teams. All Souls members have access to pastoral care 24/7 from our Care Team every day of the year. Members can reach the Care Team Hotline number by calling 918.724.TEAM (8326.)
Em Kianka is called to team ministry and large-church ministry. She is also deeply committed to exploring Unitarian Universalist identity and theology in order to identify how we can theologically respond to racism, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression in ways that center the embodied spirit of life and the connection we collectively hold with the sacred. She brought this calling with her to All Souls as our intern minister in 2018.