You know the saying, “fail to plan you plan to fail.” I have lived by that rule throughout my life. Everywhere I go I have lists, mainly to help me to remember important events or projects and their approaching deadlines. What I’ve found is that I’ve been successful at achieving tasks throughout the day—especially during the holidays. Some, but not all, of my lists include: groceries, gifts to buy, dinner parties, luncheons, decorating the house, holiday traditions, shopping frenzies. The lists go on and on and on. Unfortunately, I never scheduled me-time.

I thought I would get to that later, if I needed to. As a result, I often felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off—trying to complete all the “important” tasks on my list.

To avoid being the chicken it is important to schedule me-time regularly, but especially during busy times. This seemed counterproductive: how can you make time for yourself when you’re so busy?

Slow Down

When deadlines and outside demands take over, it can feel like a very bumpy flight. My father is a flight instructor and often said that when a plane hits turbulence, crew members often try to speed up the plane to get through the bumps faster. However, this would only make things more uncomfortable for passengers, and so pilots were advised not to do it. The solution is to actually slow the plane down, and then look for better options that are not so bumpy.

When life feels out of balance and overly busy it is an excellent time to slow down, check in with yourself and find better solutions to stay present in your life.  Scheduling a solid 10-20 minutes daily for yourself listcould definitely keep you more comfortable during your bumpy flight called life.  These few minutes could be experienced any time within the day. Some prefer early mornings, some midday and others before bed. Taking time outs for you helps strengthen the belief that you are worth it, even if you don’t always believe it.

Pampering 101

I have often coached individuals to mix it up, and to be creative with their self-care time. It could include: journaling, painting, art, writing, walks, meditation, yoga, coloring.  There are all kinds of self-care ideas on the internet. The important thing is finding activities that speak to you and help you spend some quality time with yourself. These pampering activities are things you can look forward to and which have no strings attached. They are not “have to” or “need to” activities—but purely “want to” activities.

Pampering is all about learning to care for yourself.  It’s doing something because of pure enjoyment. Doing things that bring you joy is another way of saying that you matter. Isn’t it sad that in the busy lives we created, we have to teach ourselves how to care for ourselves?  Sometimes we purposely keep ourselves overscheduled as a way of feeling accomplished or avoiding difficult truths.  Sometimes the idea of befriending ourselves is a foreign concept altogether.  Failing to add yourself to your list can seem small, but done consistently over time can lead to significant impacts on well-being, coping and relationships.

What do you need this holiday season?  Do you really need another pan or candle or sweater?  Try adding yourself to your list this year.  Strive for even just a few minutes every day for yourself.  No expectations, no pressure.  You may find that taking a few minutes for yourself during the busiest time of the year is just what you need to ground yourself, recharge and be present to all the joys of the holiday season.

Here is a list of ideas to help get you started:

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Visit or call a close friend
  • Get a massage
  • Get a manicure/pedicure
  • Read this post about meditation techniques
  • Watch a Hallmark Christmas special
  • Dance around the room to your favorite Christmas song
  • Read your favorite children’s Christmas book