by Taylor Teichman, NSVRC Online Resource Specialist
Before you go any further take a deep breath, light a yummy-smelling candle, sip a warm beverage, or just simply sit or stand still for a moment…
For survivors and/or those of us who are serving and supporting survivors, it’s that time of year when we may feel like we’re speeding up when we should be slowing it down. Community and social change work is hard, pressing, ongoing work; yet that doesn’t mean we can’t pause for a moment to give ourselves a little rest. But most of the time it seems we do not give ourselves the permission to do this. That’s why every time we get to the holiday season I find myself toying with the question “what is it about the holidays that adds extra pressure to packing our days full of to-do lists?” and then I cozy up with my furbaby and let this question guide how I ground myself, my thoughts, and how I want to approach this time of year.
It can be hard to escape all the buzz that this year typically brings with it—this time of year can be especially challenging for survivors and those who may have difficult relationships with family, or be triggered by other aspects of the season. And it can be particularly hyped around expectations the media, the consumer world, and our white mainstream culture sets about how we should be spending our time, money, and what we should be doing that equates to being festive and part of the holiday scene. I’m here to encourage you to throw all of this hype out the door and instead, listen to what your heart, your mind, and your body is physically, mentally, and emotionally yearning for you to do.
When we make a conscious effort to listen to our own needs, it’s not a selfish act, I promise you! It’s an act of kindness towards yourself. When you’re able to take that moment-- maybe it’s cuddling with a pet, binge-watching Netflix, or maybe it’s getting outside to walk or try that new class at the gym you haven’t made time for before--these tiny acts of kindness allow you to be better present when you do decide how and when you’re going to spend the holiday season with yourself, with loved ones, and in community with others.
I challenge you for the next 30 days to try out one of these 30 simple ways to take care of yourself over the holidays. Navigate what they feel like, modify as you go, and then repeat your favorites! After all, what better gift to give yourself than the act of self-love this season?