How to say “no” to holiday overcommitment and “Yes!” to self-care
Jean Edelman: Wonderful to be with you this week. This week my word is overstimulation. It’s easy these days with the news of the world and the end of the year fast approaching. We’ve got holidays, we’ve got traditions, we’ve got commitments. There’s too much to do and too little time. And all this external world over stimulates us. Our environment causes this overstimulation. It triggers our senses. The bright lights, the temperature change, the crowds, the noise. We can feel the anxiety. We can feel panic. We can feel claustrophobic.
So here are a few steps that we can take to help us with this overstimulation. Because remember, it’s about our self-care. So step one is to understand and know what triggers us. Pay attention. When we begin to feel agitated, we should pause. We should try to figure out what the cause is. For me, it’s crowds and a lot of heavy perfume and cologne. I know it’s so hard to avoid, but at least I know my trigger.
Step two is to do the best we can to remove ourselves from the situation. Have an exit plan. It’s okay to leave and no one says that we have to stay and be the life of the party. Do what’s best for us.
Number three is protect our time. Don’t overbook ourselves. Set aside time in between our meetings or our commitments. Plan time at home so we can sit and run through our To-Do list and reevaluate and replan. It’s okay to make changes to our schedule. It’s okay to protect our time.
And step four is to just breathe. When we feel anxious or panicked, we just stop breathing. So we need to remind ourselves to stop. Sit, find a quiet moment and just breathe. We need our self-care tools at this busy time of year. And if we can’t figure out ways during our day to reset and calm ourselves, we need to make sure that we’re using our self-care tools at night. Find time for a hot soak or a foot rub, or do some yoga stretches. Or just sit and breathe.
Balance is the key, and managing our stimulation and overstimulation during the holidays is important. I know for some, they live off of adrenaline and stimulation, and it’s not a good day unless they are just exhausted from it. But trust me, at some point our body will say “enough”. The key is to find balance before we crash.
And so the action item for this week is to just be aware, to pause, to take the steps for our self-care. And so my word of the week is going to be Pause.
The P is for Pamper. We need to take care of ourselves when we are constantly in noise and movement and commotion. Trust me, we are not taking care of ourselves. We’re keeping our bodies in this fight and flight mode, and at some point our nervous system will say enough. So we need to be preventative. We need to learn to pause. Learn to make time for our breaks. Learn to notice when we are almost at our tipping point.
The A is for Accommodate, to oblige or be helpful. Now there is a very fine line where we allow the needs of others to come first. But this is a behavior that we must unlearn, and we must learn to care for ourselves and understand that we come first. Our health comes first. Our mental health comes first. So the only way to do this is to tune in. Does something feel right for us? If it doesn’t, say no and move on without apology.
The U is for Unabashed, confident but not embarrassed. We should never feel ashamed to speak up for ourselves. I remember when I was changing my diet and I was changing my lifestyle, and I would go to restaurants or I would go to friends’ homes, and I would apologize because I had changed and they had to accommodate me. But, you know, it’s learning that we should never be embarrassed and we should be confident, and we know the steps and what we need for our self-care, because this is self-preservation. If I had compromised myself when I got home, I would feel terrible because I ate something that didn’t agree with me and I would feel bad because I compromised myself. And so this self-preservation is so important, this ability to speak up and be confident and not be embarrassed to share what our needs are. And especially when the world is spinning, we need to know when it is time to get off. No apologies needed.
The S is to Savor, to enjoy, to enjoy our good health and balance. We are constantly moving in a direction, hopefully of good health and balance, and it may be for only five minutes in one day and then we start again. But at least we had it for five minutes. But we can only savor and be in good health and balance when we set our limits, know our boundaries and know when to pause.
The E is to Enable, to activate and empower. We are the captain of our ship. We enable what is best for us.
So all of this is about observation and knowing when to pause, when to regroup, when to reset, when to refresh. No apologies. It just is. Have a great week everyone!