Self-care throughout the holidays and the cold winter season~

Self-Care is very important to one’s well-being, mind, body, and spirit.  If one does not take care of themselves they are of no use to anyone else.  All too often, one will put other’s everyone’s needs in front of their own.  An accurate quote from developinggoodhabits.com states, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.  Take care of yourself first”.  This is especially true during extra stressful and demanding times like the holiday season and the cold winter season.  Animals prepare themselves for the cold winter season and so should we.  For example, the Snow Leopard’s hair color changes and becomes much thicker.  Geese fly to warmer climates.  The Snow Hare’s fur changes its color to white and gets thicker.  We also need to do some things a bit differently.

Hydration
Water naturally decreases stress. Studies have shown that water reduces stress.  The findings of studies have shown that as one’s hydration levels increased, one’s stress, tension, and confusion levels decreased.  The human body is mainly made up from water.  A good average rule of thumb is to try to consume 8 eight-ounce glasses per day or a half gallon.  This is important for combating dry skin.

Moisturize
During winter months we need to moisturize our bodies with thicker creams and oils.  This includes our face.  Everybody needs to experiment to find what works for them.  Some I have found very effective is coconut oil, Creams by Trader Joe’s and Beauty Balm by Banyan Botanicals.  Moisturize daily and depending on your exposure to the cold air, twice per day may be helpful.

Raw Honey (unpasteurized)
Raw honey (unpasteurized) is a natural antimicrobial.  In other words, it kills germs.  Honey has been used throughout history for its medicinal benefits.  It can kill bacteria and fungus.  It is considered a natural antiseptic.  Due to the germ-killing properties in raw unpasteurized honey, it is still used today to treat wounds.  Honey is filled with Phytonutrients which provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.  This helps maintain good health.  Honey is known to be helpful with a sore throat, cough and stomach ache.  Try one to two spoonful’s of honey if you are experiencing one of these conditions.  As with most things, there are negative risks as well as benefits.  A risk of Raw Honey is that is can be dangerous to babies and should not be given to a baby less than one year of age.

Sleep/Rest
During the holiday season, we can have many more activities.  We need to remember that we still need our sleep and rest.  Be mindful of this and say ‘no’ to activities that are too much for us.

Mindful Meditation/ Mindfulness
During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, do not forget to unplug and seek moments of solitude.  If you find sitting in silence challenging, try apps that are made for this such as Headspace and Calm.  Regardless of your profession, it is important to reflect on self.  Maintain a sense of self is crucial in helping others.   According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives.  It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment.  We feel more alive.  We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.

  • Morning quiet: Take 5-10 minutes in the morning to be quiet and meditate- sit or lie down and be with you.
  • Driving: Be aware of body tension, i.e. hands wrapped tightly around the steering wheel, shoulders raised, etc. Work on being relaxed while driving. Does it feel better when you’re tense?
  • Breaks at work: Truly relax! Instead of “pausing” try taking a short walk or sitting at your desk to renew yourself. Speak to associates about topics that aren’t work-related.
  • Leaving work: Leave work at work! You’ve done enough for the day, congratulate yourself on what you have accomplished and established a point to begin the next day. Leave work problems at work!!  Worry about your next job home.
  • Unplug: Put your cell phone on silent, don’t pick it up or look at it for a certain period of time (15- 20 min or even longer), seeking a moment of solitude.

In this day and age, we have become accustomed to filling the inboxes and our minds with information.  Forgotten, is the practice of stillness that brings us in touch with our deepest wisdom.  We are human beings are not human-doings and we need time to pay attention, connect, self-regulate and reflect (Kantor, L. 2018)

Rice Bags
A good way to unwind, de-stress and find comfort is in a warm rice bag. These can be made yourself or purchased. It is tremendously comforting to hold a warm rice bag during the cold winter months or at times of stress. The heat from the bag has a way of calming the mind, body, and spirit.

Practice Gratitude
Try keeping a Gratitude Journal where each day you list a minimum of one thing that you’re grateful for.  Keep it going until you reach a minimum of 108 things.  Reach out to a loved one to say hi, thank them for something they have done for you- even if it’s just for having someone to talk with.  Drink a cup of tea, for thousands of years, the ritual of drinking a cup of tea has been seen as therapeutic and promotes peacefulness.  Finally, nourish your body by eating well.

Challenge/ Resolution
During this season we often think about creating goals, resolutions and new ways of doing things.  This year, I challenge you to incorporate self-care and loving yourself more into your plan for the upcoming year.     

-Love and Peace
Traci Lamb, MCAT Program Supervisor

Kabat-Zinn, J. (n.d.). MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION. Retrieved from https://csp.treasury.gov.za/Resource%20_Centre/Conferences/Documents/Leadership%20Cour se%20Global%20Citie s/Course%20Readings/WORLD%20BANK%20Workbook%20- %202nd%20to%209th%20March%202012.pdf

Kantor, L. (2018). Be Awake. Retrieved from http://be-awake.co.za/

Posted by kerrf@neighborhoodctr.org