I hope you’ve been having a good week! Hopefully you’re going easy on yourself about your holiday indulgences and finding your own comfort level of cheer. As for me, I’ve never been much of a seasonal decorator - I haven’t had a tree in years - but with the little one, this year will be different. Micah and I are getting a tree next weekend and looking forward to forming our own holiday family traditions.
As I mentioned last week, for the next month, as we lead up to the winter round of Self Care 101 starting on January 7th, I’m creating a special series: Self-Care for the “Holidaze.” Each week, I’ll discuss a common self-care pitfall that you may experience during the beautiful, and often-imbalancing, holiday season, and offer a self-care script to help you treat yourself with more compassion and love during these moments.
Also, I’ll add in a reason why joining Self Care 101 could help you find long-term peace with your self-care in this area (and so many others!).
This week we’re talking about holiday overscheduling. It’s super easy to do right now. Happy hours, holiday parties, office lunches - it seems like everyone wants to celebrate with you!
In the abstract, all these plans sound great. You’re going to have so much fun this season. You’ll be so busy that there won’t be any time for the winter blues that have knocked on your door in the past.
But when the time comes to actually attend all those back-to-back celebrations, the holiday fantasy bubble begins to deflate. Night after night of socializing and other merriment begins to take its toll as you lose your energy to keep up with your calendar.
Soon, you begin to crave a night in to cozy up in your PJs and go to bed early. You need some time off. However, you’ve already committed yourself and feel so bad about canceling. So, you show up and just feel off - you’re tired, you don’t like your outfit and you want out of every conversation you get yourself into.
You wish you could just find a way to get the most out of life and feel like a bit of a loser that you can’t. Why are the holidays never as shiny and happy as you wish they could be? Why aren’t you as shiny and happy as you wish you could be? Why does this season always start so promising but always end with such a let down?
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. The holidays can be an intoxicating moment for us all. This may be our one time of year to get in some quality time with the people we love, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make the most of it.
But, since the vast majority of us aren’t hard-wired to be energetic and happy all the time, thinking that we could be constantly upbeat during the holiday season is not only unrealistic but it actually sets us up for consistent disappointment. When we do surrender to downtime, we feel like failures.
Our achievement-oriented minds put pressure on us to keep pushing through, partying on and deal with the aftermath come January 1st. But this year, what if you could check in with yourself sooner and arrive in 2018 feeling refreshed for the new year ahead?
If you’re ready to break the cycle, use this self-love script to help you slow down. With love, you can begin to discern you actual self-care needs during this holiday season and gather the energy to really put that self-care into practice.
“Wow, look at my calendar. I have four parties this weekend. Whew, this is a crazy time of year. Ok, deep breath. How am I actually feeling? You know, it’s been a hard week at work and I feel like I’m getting sick. What do I really need right now? I want to get under my comforter, drink a big cup of Throat Coat tea and snuggle up with my cat. But what about my friend who is throwing her annual holiday party tonight? I’m afraid of making her upset. Ok, let’s think this through. Yeah, she may be upset. This party means a lot to her. It’s ok to cancel and let her have her feelings. But if she can’t eventually get over them, if she doesn’t understand that I’m burned out and need to take a night off, then I may need to examine our friendship. I didn’t get upset with her the last time she canceled plans because she didn’t feel well. I don’t need to put all that pressure on myself to be perfect. I deserve to surround myself with people who respect my need for self-care. That’s my goal for 2018 - to cultivate my self-care support network. And yes, if I don’t go to the party, I might get a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out), but truly that’s just in my head. If I take care of myself, then I will probably enjoy the hell out of the party on Saturday evening. If I take care of myself, I never really miss out, because I enjoy wherever I am. Being with myself is important, and being with others is important. Self-care, and the self-love that comes from it, helps me find the right balance to thrive in my life.”
Self Care 101 Nudge:
Are you constantly overscheduling yourself? Do you struggle with the fear of being alone and yet get overwhelmed by always being social? Are you scared of disappointing others so you can take care of yourself?
Real self-care begins by cultivating a real relationship with yourself. This means learning to deal with other people’s feelings in a healthy way, and lifting the heavy expectations you put on yourself to always show up with a smile on your face, even when you’re struggling inside. (This is perfectionism, and only makes you feel more alone in the end!)
It’s difficult to find this authentic self-love on our own. Changing our self-care means pulling away from familiar, and often toxic, social structures. Since our human need to belong is paramount, we often will sabotage our self-care efforts in order to avoid the loneliness that can come with personal growth.
But what if you could change in a community? What if you could go through all the sticky and ungraceful transitions of growth alongside others who are also searching for a real relationship with themselves?
Self Care 101 is exactly this. Twenty amazing women take 10 weeks to create a real transformation. We cry our tears, celebrate our gains and cheer each other on to greater and greater self-care.
Want to learn more about practicing self-care in a supportive community? Fill out this application to connect with me about joining the next course.
“I was drawn to working with Gracy because years of ‘trying to fix’ myself had never really seemed to yield deep and sustainable results. I would feel better for a short while, and then fall back into the same destructive patterns. I first expected to learn improved eating habits, a daily routine that would keep me feeling refreshed, and more about the philosophy underlying yoga, but I have gained so much more. Yes, I certainly now am equipped with an arsenal of knowledge about how to eat, rest, play, and exercise that makes me feel more focused at work and has translated to better skin, happier days, and less sleepless nights. But I have so much more. I have a sustained daily practice that nourishes my body and soul; I have deepened my relationships with friends and family, and made new ones along the way; I have gotten to know myself and am more empowered to pursue my dreams.” -- Sarina, Self Care 101 Fall 2015
Ok, buttercups, party on with your loved ones! Or stay inside and enjoy a decadent night alone. Both can be forms of self-care, if you treat yourself with the internal self-love you deserve.
Next week, I’ll be back with a few self-care thoughts on holiday overspending. With self-care, we can figure out the difference between true generosity and a broken bank account.
Until, then take extra good care of yourself!
Rebecca had been dabbling in self-care for a while before joining Self Care 101. Working on her self-care habits in a more concentrated way not only helped her feel healthier in her body, but also opened the door to a whole new level of authenticity in her work and relationships.
Listen to our conversation and learn how Rebecca used her daily habits to get honest about her deeper needs and desires. Be inspired to discover your own truth and use self-care to start sharing it with the world!
This is part of the ongoing podcast series on self-love and self-care I’m hosting this fall. Listen and learn how to use self-care to stop looking everywhere for love (because you’ve finally found it in yourself).
Listen to the full podcast here on the Self Care with Gracy Blog
(Or check out past episodes and subscribe on iTunes!)
1. One of my favorite parts of being alive is getting to share the planet with RuPaul. Watching a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race always uplifts my spirit and educates me on the liberation of gender-bending. This podcast from the New York City Public Library reveals more of her genius and why we should all consider some form of drag in our lives.
2. As I transition between sizes, these leggings are saving my life. They’re super soft, hug in the right places and are long enough for my 5’10” frame.
3. This weeknight pumpkin curry from the newly redesigned website of Why Food Works with Sarah (my brother’s girlfriend, my friend and the talented chef of each Self Care 101 opening lunch). Sign up for her monthly newsletter to get easy, seasonal and healthy recipes in your inbox.
4. The second cookbook from Smitten Kitchen author Deb Perelman. The first one has been such a go-to for me (baked huevos racheros, yum) and so far this second one is pretty amazing, too (mushroom parmesan dutch baby, oh yeah).
5. I love this piece on the real meaning of self-care that’s been making its rounds on the internet. It captures a lot of what I’ve learned through helping women with their self-care over these past years. Particularly, it captures how hard it is to practice authentic self-care, i.e. saying “no” to other people in order to honor your own well-being.
Self Care 101 Announcement
Are you ready to change? Do you thrive in groups? Is this your moment?
If so, I want you to join the next round of Self Care 101. Starting on January 7th, twenty amazing women will work together to create a lifestyle of self-care and a community of support. I've taken over 200 women through this process and have seen the wonders it will work in your life. Yes, even you who thinks that you'll never be able to change. Let's get started.
Do you want to learn more? Oh goodie! Please fill out this application and we’ll talk, commitment-free, to see if it’s a good fit.
UPDATE: Seven amazing ladies have already signed up! This round is going to be really good!
A Final Thought
"It (self-care) often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way that other people won’t, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can’t." -Brianna Wiest