Minimalist Holidays: Putting Yourself First

MinimalistParenting_holidays-badge.pngIn Minimalist Parenting, Asha and I devote an entire chapter to self-care. We are firm believers that to be of any use to anyone else, you need to focus on yourself first. And the holidays are a classic time for drain -- you become so focused on everyone else that you become completely depleted. So as we settle in to the holiday break, for my final Minimalist Holidays post, I wanted to officially put the bug in your ear about putting yourself first with these five simple tips.

1. Start small. One of the classic pitfalls of trying to do anything is setting yourself up for failure by making the goals to big. I mean, I'm all about dreaming big, but when it comes to carving out time in your busy schedule, it's key to start small. Start, say, by taking 10-15 minutes to yourself to do something just for you, whether it's sitting and reading a book or flipping through a magazine, knitting, trimming your cuticles (I find bizarre satisfaction and healing in this...), or simply sitting and breathing and doing nothing.

2. Take advantage of the extra hands. Around the holidays, if you have family in town or are visiting family, take advantage of the dual function of extra hands + bonding time for your kids and relatives. Resist the urge to run errands and instead do something that nurtures you.

3. Use your to-do list/calendar. Whether it's plugging self-care in as a daily recurring to-do list item or booking monthly bodywork treatments in advance, using your to-do list/calendar in this way is a great motivation for those who like checking things off (cough, cough).

4. Give your relationship some love. I believe that part of nurturing yourself is nurturing your relationship; it's all interrelated. Even taking 10-15 minutes to reconnect and chat with your partner after the kids are in bed can make a world of difference. If you want to engage in some focused exercises in this domain, my friend Gretchen Rubin is launching a 21 day relationship challenge next month.

5. Edit, edit, edit. I discussed creating breathing room in my Minimalist Holidays post on gratitude and connection and it warrants mention here. Fortunately or unfortunately, time is a fixed parameter. To make time for yourself, something probably will need to give. Look for areas in your schedule, to-do list, and daily chores where you can edit nonessentials out (and/or delegate).

And on that note, I wanted to say that I'll be taking this advice to heart. I have decided to take a blogging break for the remainder of the winter holiday so I can spend time with Jon and the girls and put myself first. I'll see you back here next week. Have a wonderful holiday!

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This post is part of Minimalist Holidays, a series inspired by the idea that you can enjoy the holidays more when you do less. Between now and the end of the year, coauthor Asha Dornfest and I will share ideas for simplifying the holidays so you can focus on what's important: enjoying the season with your family. Visit the Minimalist Holidays page for links to the entire series. And please sign up for our mailing list!