It's very easy to fall prey to the rush of trying to make everything and then some happy for your loved ones, or, maybe you're feeling a little down due to some sudden complications. There is this pressure to be almost superhuman which can unfortunately, leave a lot of people feeling a little more stressed than blessed.
So, how do we take care of ourselves during these times? Using our ARMS, of course! ARMS stands for Acceptance, Rest, Mindfulness, and Self Care. ARMS is a self taught practice that I've learned over my few or many (depending on who you're talking to) years on this earth. A hard head makes a hard lesson, and it's very easy to relate to wanting to succeed above and beyond and really create the fantasy of joy that you want to experience with your loved ones and for yourself; Sometimes, you can't do everything.
Acceptance doesn't mean, settling, there's a huge difference. Accepting that you are doing your absolute best, and learning to acclimate to your environment inspires our brains to think creatively, quickly, and strengthens our ability to something great out of something not-so-great. This is a valuable life skill that can be learned at any point in our lives. The best method towards acceptance, is stepping back, taking note of your environment and trusting yourself to move accordingly.
A well rested mind and body is what keeps our immune systems working properly and also promotes a healthy mental state. Rest isn't just about getting a good 6-8 hours of sleep, it's also about knowing when to make time for yourself during the day to simply breath and regroup. Our culture is so based on rushing that it is seen in many communities as "weak" to take a few moments to yourself. The time you take during the day doesn't have to be long, it could even be a 10 minute moment to just have some quiet, listen tom music, take a walk, a snack break, whatever it is that comforts you and grounds you. If you aren't sure of what methods to try, YouTube is an amazing resource to finding methods of relaxing, either longer guided meditations or quick on-the-go sessions.
Mindfulness is the practice of living in the moment, awareness of yourself and awareness of others. Super easy, right? Not at all. It's easy to remember these positive notions when things are going well, when it's quiet, when you have control of everything around you and what to expect. The true practice of this comes when you're sitting on the Parkway during morning rush hour and someone decides that they're just going to cut you off without a turn signal. Or, while you're doing your holiday shopping someone bumps past you without even saying "Excuse me". It's easy to just assume the negative, that said individual (s) are rude and thoughtless. What about considering the possibility they might be having as hectic of a day as you. It doesn't excuse the behavior, however, it helps to have an understanding window before you jump into being stressed or irritated. These are things that will eventually build up and wear you down. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't acknowledge your emotions, actually the opposite. Mindfulness is acknowledging those emotions, and learning a healthier way to accept your situations and move on in a more positive and productive framing that is not only self preserving, it may one day help someone else realize something about themselves.
Some ways to practice mindfulness is really starting to examine what makes you tick. Why do certain things cause stress, anxiety, fear, or anger? You might not ever know the reason why, and that's okay, but knowing yourself is what will put you on the path to gaining the ability to pause, reground, and move forward in a way that you deserve that will better yourself.
There is nothing wrong with selflessness, however, we must learn when to take care of ourselves. It's a lifelong balancing act. There is a difference between taking care of yourself, and only thinking of yourself. The best way to be selfless, is to make sure you are able to take care of yourself so that you are able to be there for others when it's called upon. A great way to start such a routine is taking some time in the evening to pamper yourself, find something that you enjoy where you can unwind and reset. It's best to start this routine before you go to bed, as it will help relax your muscles and quiet your mind.
Hopefully, you're able to try practicing your ARMS, and like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it will be.
Take care of yourself during the holidays and the rest of your days.