Jennifer Boire - Musemother

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December 2011

Spirited Self-Care for the Busy Season

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

With the holiday season ramping up, and 23 days to go, you know it’s going to get busy. And part of you may think, I have to get this right – make the perfect holiday for my family. Have the right decorations, the perfect tree, the right gift for each member of the family….which can lead to a very anxiety-filled stressful holiday. It’s crazy making, in fact, to try and figure out what everyone’s ideal Christmas would look like.

I’ve decided to not sweat it this year. I’m feeling relaxed about Christmas for the first time in a long time. I’ve decided everybody on my list is getting a book or a gift certificate, which simplifies my shopping cause it’s a long list; and I’m actually looking forward to the feasting and family get-togethers. We normally have at least three pre-Christmas dinner parties, followed by three or four holiday parties in between Christmas and New Years, both here and in Ottawa. It’s a bit of a marathon, and like prepping for a race, I need to be in shape to participate.

How am I going to get through it? I’ll have to pace myself. Perhaps I’ll be drinking spritzers if we start partying in the afternoon. I may need a few naps along the way, and a few long walks to keep my head clear and my body moving. Not to mention doing my shopping on-line (which took 5 minutes instead of five hours and no parking tussles!)

If you are already freaking out about how crazy busy it’s getting, here’s a helpful tip: Imagine you had a very wise friend you could confide in at any hour of day or night. She would listen to you deeply and answer you with her women’s wisdom. Now imagine you are that wonderful wise woman. Get out your notebook and write down what she would tell you. First, she would tell you to take a deep breath! Experts say that the the most powerful tool for reducing anxiety and increasing energy is breathwork. Deep breathing can calm down your fight or flight response and increase the amount of oxygen in your blood.  Try taking a ‘breath break’ every few hours. Remember to breath into your belly and use those abdominals. It’s something you can do at the kitchen table or at your office desk.

Secondly, I think your wise inner Self would insist you put yourself on the To Do list, in spite of how busy you are, and in fact, because of how busy you are. She, as a good friend and personal coach, would tell you to put Self Care at the top of the list. To not  skip meals, get to sleep on time, get some down time doing nothing but filling the well. She might remind you that you can’t continue to run around taking care of everyone close to you: elderly parents, teenagers, grandchildren, friends who are ill, new mothers, all the people who count on your loving presence, without also taking care of yourself. Exhaustion and burn-out are not an option.  Of course, you won’t let it get that far  - your wise self will see the signs, hear the signals, notice the frantic too-many-details-to-remember moments, the forgotten or double booked appointments, the near mishaps and accidents, the panic or anxiety attacks, the heart palpitations and sleepless nights running over all the things you have to do in your head.

She will urge you to take a break, take a deep breath and realign yourself with what is doable and let go of what is not. She will remind you of what is important in the long run – your health and well-being.

What will keep you from getting frazzled this month of December? Making lists works for some of us, others prefer to go with the flow… So get out the schmaltzy Christmas albums, start baking those famous German shortbreads, order your organic 10 kilogram turkey from the butcher and practice your deep breathing. It’ll all be over in a month or so….and you’ll have created more memories – will they be good ones? Will there be room for you in those images, sitting with your feet up in your new robe and slippers, sipping a café latte….enjoying yourself on Christmas morning?

See you in the new year, January 2012!

Love, Jenn/Musemother 


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