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Self-Care for the Holidays

By Katie Cullum - December 9, 2019

Can you build a snowman without snow? Can you pour from an empty cup? What happens if you don't take care of yourself?

Do you want to build a snowman?  Wait, we don’t even have snow yet (maybe none at all this winter!).  How can we build a snowman? 

It is impossible to build a snowman without snow, just like it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup. 

We pour from our energy cup all day to people at work, our family, our friends, our faith community, and even people we don’t really like.  What happens when we don’t have anything left in our cup to give to ourselves?  Drinking yet another cup of coffee or mountain soda isn’t going to help in the long run. 

Taking the time to fill your cup is called “Self-Care.”  And no, it isn’t just taking a hot bath, hiding out in the pantry eating Christmas cookies, or playing a video game.  Self care can be just taking care of yourself. 

Kristin Souer’s model of the “Top Four Components of Self-Care” includes:

  • Health – exercise, be active, eat well
  • Love – Acknowledge your strengths before your weaknesses, your skills before your inabilities, and your goals before your regrets.
  • Competence – challenge yourself! Get outside of your comfort zone!  Try something new or take a class at your local Extension Office 
  • Gratitude – you can find plenty of research that suggests that gratitude can help you feel happier. Keep a journal of things for which you are grateful.  Or just make a list of things you are thankful for that day.

Dr. Brittney Schrick (Assistant Professor-Family Life Specialist with UAEX) recommends:

  • Treating yourself with kindness – are you harsh with yourself when you make a mistake? More harsh than you are with others?  Treat yourself with encouragement and patience, just like you would a friend.
  • Recognizing our common humanity – EVERYONE makes mistakes! All the time.  You are not alone.  We are all human – no matter how much some people try to make you think otherwise!
  • Be mindful – pay attention to how we talk to ourselves in stressful situations. Don’t make stress worse with constant criticism. 

In this day and age, we try to keep going, going, going, and then go some more.  We check email constantly, we eat on the run or at our desk, we work late, and we even fail to use up all our leave!  No wonder we live on coffee!  Caring for ourselves can also help with our productivity. Do you work smarter or harder?  You can put in the hours, but are you being productive during those hours? 

Tony Schwartz wrote a very interesting article in the New York Times (link below) called, “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive.”  He highlights research about productivity, our job performance, and our health.  Sleep can be big step in your performance – either on the court or at your desk.  Even naps can have a positive effect on performance.  Rest, in the form of sleep or vacations, can help you take care of yourself while making an impact on your health and your work. 

While you may not build a real snowman this winter, you CAN build your Self-Care Snowman! 

Take care of yourself this holiday season by spending time with those you care about, not overbooking, taking time to exercise, getting enough sleep, and moderating how much your enjoy the parties. 

References:

Suggestions for self-care, using the winter theme, such as "Chill Out."
Image courtesy of North Dakota State University

Fill your cup with self care

Practicing self-compassion

NYT - Relax you'll be more productive 

North Dakota State University (image)





 
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