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Centering (back in) on Self-Care

Welcome to the new decade!

Wow- what a season. I found myself becoming much more self-aware this year of the potentially-taxing elements of the holidays. We're all familiar with the stresses of busy schedules, and suddenly having more events to fit in, shopping to figure out and do, decorating, wrapping, etc.

We had solstice energies coming in, as our bodies were also working with reduced daylight exposure, as well as the sensory expansion of music and lights continuously (often delightfully) engaging our senses.

On top of that, this year, I tuned into even more aspects that were affecting my balance:

- First, the food! Oh, the joys of holiday foods, of nostalgia and ceremony and comfort. But, oh - *the foods*! The abundance and differences in diet - they are impactful. Offset by the festive emotions and memories surrounding food, combined with the celebratory nature, and excitement of people, connecting - I found my radar to check-in was muted, and I really felt the effects of several weeks with departures from my usual cuisine. In the past I don't think I've given my body the credit it deserves, consciously respecting the extra work it does to help balance the significant dietary adjustments of eating "out" so much over the holidays.

- Routine! This is the first week I'm feeling back into steady routine since early November. There is a lot of change to maneuver, and find yourself within, at the end of the year. I kept resetting on the importance of the holiday season, and asking what it meant to me - what I wanted it to be about. None-the-less, things I cared about were set aside, put on hold, dismissed. I kept myself mindful, knowing I had a choice in all my decisions, but some things I wanted and needed were prioritized away from attention. It was sometimes difficult, so those moments looking at what was important to me were critical.

- People! Ahh, the layers of people and interactions of the holidays. In a general sense there's more - more people driving, buying groceries, getting together. Empathically and energetically it can feel draining - and this comes when the instinct to skip self-care is already present to save time! Often our stranger encounters are ripe with bad moods; extra honking, sighing, dark glares and impatience. I tried to smile at everyone all the more so! I know it made a difference for many, and even those inquisitive "are-you-crazy?" look-backs probably helped the smile-recipient stop and reset a little. (Or at least gave them a distraction.)

Beyond strangers, many of us are connecting with people we don't see often, large groups, family and friends with history, and maybe a few reunions we feel we'd prefer to avoid. Staying authentic might give way to armoring-up. Protection like this, on some level, is also a choice, and can be further draining. We open our homes for gatherings and maybe house-guests... so many changes.

Trust in yourself and be inquisitive if you find resistance, barriers, triggers. Honor your emotions and take care of your needs - you can always escape to a bathroom for a few deep breaths, stretches, meditation, or whatever can help you feel at ease.

Now it is January. New month, new year, new decade. 2020, 20/20, a statement of clarity, of perfect vision. Exciting.

Give yourself credit for all extra physical, mental, and emotional effects you experienced over holiday season. Remember it's not about being perfect, it's about being there for, and feeling the connections with those you love. At least that's how I feel. Perhaps take a moment to center in on what the holidays are about deep down, for you.

Be Kind. Be Thankful. If you find any lingering emotions or regrets about the ending of the season, take the time to reflect on them. Attempt to do so without judgement, and let yourself take insights for the next year, the next holiday, or the next event where you can stay aware, and if you choose, do something differently. All experiences are a gift, and offer learning, often more-so when they're sensed as difficult at the time.

My peace and blessings to you, for the times to come!

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