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Fall’ing For Self-Care During the Holidays

Written by: Kristen Indermill, League Member

We are transitioning into the most wonderful time of the year, and I am here for it! While I LOVE the freedom, sunshine, and time in the water that Summer brings, I always end up craving the structure and traditions of Fall.

Fall marks the return to school for our kids, delicious seasonal drinks at the local café, sweater weather, and three months of holidays (and ALL the pre-holiday activities). In some moments, when staring dumbfounded at my overflowing calendar, I feel the urge to go into hibernation early and return to the carefree days of Summer. Anyone else?

This season can be a reminder to some of the loss of a loved one that they’ll miss at the family dinner or a reminder of not having the relationships with family they desire. It can mark a period of overwhelm and yet, questioning if you’re doing enough. For some, Fall marks a transition into seasonal depression as our days shorten. Fall can be wonderful and challenging!

So how can you embrace Fall and all it brings? There has been an increased awareness around the need for self-care, but also some gray areas around how to practice it. A quick Google search defines self-care as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” A good way to put this into practical terms is, engaging in something that leaves you feeling better, not worse. There are various types of self-care: physical, mental, emotional, creative, sensory, and spiritual. Below are some examples of each:

  • Physical: Passive physical self-care: meditation, resting, deep breathing exercises. Active physical self-care: going to the gym, stretching, walking, massage, riding a bike.

  • Mental: listening to a Podcast about a subject you find interesting, listening to an audiobook, reading a book, turning off your phone (or alerts), repeating affirmations.

  • Emotional: journaling, putting on comfy clothes, watching your favorite show or movie (the more nostalgic, the better), spending time with loved ones, putting your favorite song on repeat.

  • Creative: try a new craft from Pinterest, start that new hobby, create a vision board, make a new playlist, read/write poetry, dance, paint, and write.

  • Sensory: light a candle or start a diffuser and take a bath, cook yourself a favorite or nourishing meal (one that leaves you feeling better, not guilty), walk through the cool grass barefoot, brush your hair, drink your favorite beverage, listening to music, create a flower arrangement, cuddle with your pet, manicure/pedicure.

  • Spiritual: spend time outdoors, prayer, scripture, worship, attend church, and Bible studies.

This is not an exhaustive list but one to get you started. The challenge is identifying how to increase your self-care and knowing when you need it. I encourage you to set aside time each week to review your planner and pencil in time to engage in self-care. Do not book over this time; you put it there for a reason. Do a quick self-assessment to determine how you’re feeling and explore what activity (or lack thereof, hello naps) will leave you feeling better than when you started. For myself, I need to be outdoors by myself several times a week, which looks like solo walks with my dog. During this time, I sometimes listen to music, a podcast, or a sermon (physical and mental/spiritual self-care all in one).

At the start of a season, I spend 30-60 minutes envisioning what memories I want to make with my family and then sorting which are non-negotiable and which I can be flexible. For example, the annual cutting down of a fresh Christmas tree is non-negotiable for me, but the tractor ride at the pumpkin patch can be passed if needed. Schedule the non-negotiables in pen and the “flexible activities” in pencil. Creating a vision board is another way to capture what your heart desires, and looking at it regularly has been shown to increase the likelihood of it happening.

This is a practice in prioritizing you, mama. A time to ensure your needs are met in a season of overly addressing the needs of others. Allow yourself to say “no” when the calendar already feels full. “Fall” for yourself and pursue yourself and what brings you joy. You are loved. You are valued. You are enough.

~ Kristen Indermill

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