“Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?” That’s a familiar question this time of year, isn’t it? But as we talked about in Wellness Gifts Your Family and Friends Will Love, sometimes the best gifts aren’t gifts we buy at all. That goes double for the ones we give ourselves.
These are really the gifts we should be giving ourselves year-round, but sometimes we’re so busy taking care of others that the need to take care of our own wellness kind of goes by the wayside.
This year, let’s determine that we’re going to give ourselves some gifts that money can’t buy. Instead of writing a letter to Santa, let’s ask ourselves for a few things.
Some Gifts to Give Ourselves
Often we put ourselves last on the list of people to take care of. If you have trouble feeling justified in putting your self-care first, just remember the lesson we learn from the airlines: During the preflight briefing we’re told that if the cabin depressurizes and the oxygen masks drop down, we’re to don our masks first and then put on anyone else’s. You can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.
2. Good Nutrition
We all know that a well-fueled body serves us better than one that’s running on junk food. Most of us probably also know what we should be eating to accomplish that, but with our busy lifestyles sometimes it’s easier to just stop by the drive-thru. Making good nutrition a priority and finding ways to make it easier to make healthier food choices can help us get the nutrition we need to fuel our bodies.
As Nicholas DiNubile says in his book Framework, “motion is lotion.” It’s hard to think about exercising when we live with constant pain, as many of us do, but continuing to move is vital to our overall wellness. Once we stop moving, it’s much harder to get started again. Even if we can’t do traditional exercise due to pain or illness, continuing to move our joints through their entire range of motion can help us stay mobile and keep joints and connective tissues healthy.
We may have an unlimited amount of compassion for others but then show absolutely no compassion for ourselves. Often we think we have to do things perfectly and then beat ourselves up when we don’t. We don’t expect perfection from others, so why should we expect it from ourselves? Let’s learn to give ourselves the same grace we show to others.
5. Release from Feelings of Guilt
Many of us struggle with guilt — guilt because we can’t do everything we’d like to do for others, guilt because we’ve been sidelined due to pain, or guilt because somehow, we feel we’re just ‘not enough.’
As I talked about in Let It Go, you can’t take responsibility for something you can’t control. I think we probably all have periods of feeling guilty for things we can’t do, but we have to release ourselves from that guilt in order to move forward. As far as feeling we’re ‘not enough,’ let me just say this to you: You are uniquely created and loved by God — there is not another soul in the world who is just like you. YOU ARE ENOUGH!
We may not always feel optimistic, particularly when things aren’t going the way we’d like, but we can choose to be optimistic about our ability to do things that help us live well in spite of our circumstances. We can choose something called dynamic optimism, which I talked about in The ABCs of Remaining Optimistic to help us continue to move forward.
Which of these will you give yourself?
This is a great time to determine that we’re going to give ourselves these gifts now and in the year to come. Making our wellness a priority isn’t selfish; in fact, it can be huge gift to our loved ones as well. Taking care of ourselves ensures we’re there for those who love us.
What gifts will you give yourself now and in the year to come? Please share!
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