December 19, 2022
 min read

Stay Merry

 I like the holiday season - at least I think I like it - but I also find it stressful.

 By Guest Blogger: Rachel Knight Cameron

 The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is well upon us. There is a buzz in the air and excitement abounds. But with that comes long to-do lists – shopping, baking, cooking, wrapping, decorating, planning, driving, gathering, eating, drinking, hosting, spending and repeat… It’s a joyous time of year but also a stressful time.

 I like the holiday season - at least I think I like it - but I also find it stressful. As I was doing some shopping the other day (for what felt like the 50th time), Christmas carols played in the store. I found myself singing along to “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” but I wasn’t feeling very merry. “Have yourself a stressful little Christmas” felt more appropriate in that moment.

 I realized several carols could be similarly altered and feel more relatable…“Stress to the world…” or “Hark the stressed-out angels sing…”. In fact, all around me were stressed out angels running around trying to be superheroes. I stopped for a moment. What was happening to me? Am I a closet scrooge? Do I resent the holidays? Definitely time for a deep breath and a little self-care.

 Self-care is actually a term I struggled with for some time. How ironic, I know. But what it describes is simply the act of taking time for yourself to minimize stress. It can be as complex or as simple as suits you. It’s an important element on the “to-do” list but shouldn’t feel like a chore.

 My struggle with self-care was feeling pressure(self-imposed) to adopt routines that others employ. Once I realized I could define self-care however I wanted, it began to make much more sense to me. For me, it’s not yoga, facials or scrap-booking; It’s simply alone time. Time to think or to not think. Time without demands or pressure or noise .It’s different for everyone. I checked in with a few girlfriends to find out what self-care means to them and here is what they said.

 “I walk my dog through the trails behind our house. It’s peaceful – the trees, the fresh air and I try not to use technology. Truly turning off and taking in my surroundings with the only noise being nature.”

 “I meet my close friend every Tuesday and we right the world.”

 “I go for runs which gives me alone time… time to think, push myself to achieve new goals and get fresh air. I feel much better after I sweat it out and clear my head.”

 “Taking time to enjoy a good cup of coffee is sometimes all it takes.”

 “Saying ‘no’. I know when I’ve stretched myself too thinly and setting boundaries is often the best thing I can do to take care of myself.”

 There are endless other examples but the common denominator here is being kind to yourself. It’s easy to list ways we treat others kindly but if it’s been a while since you were kind to yourself, it’s time to take some time. Stay Merry.

Little Flame is a bit cheeky and isn't afraid to share his opinion and heat things up!

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