Taking care of yourself during the holidays

Written by Amie on November 30, 2013 – 1:42 am -

 It’s okay to do what you need to do to stay in a healthy place

I’m thinking there might be thousands of articles on this topic, and I thought I would write about my experience in case it might help someone else. I must admit, I truly dislike the energy in the air around this time of year, but I’ve learned how to stay in the energy that nurtures me. I try really hard to stay away from places and situations that feel heavy and negative. I’ve learned to listen to my inner voice that will tell me what I need so that I am able to stay in a healthy energy “place” in myself. In years past, my depression would get very very bad around this time. It took me quite awhile to figure out why this would happen. I felt such pressure during this time, and because I hadn’t yet worked on my inner voices, I made the assumption that something must be wrong with me if I didn’t enjoy this time of year.

gratitude on a daily basis

There are many theories out there, but I know now what the issue was for me. I am still not a huge fan of this time of year, but I no longer get depressed. The difference is that I take care of myself now. By this, I mean I pay attention to what I need. I do not do things I don’t feel like doing, AND I don’t feel bad about turning down activities I don’t want to do. I don’t blame myself for disliking this time of year, and I also know there is nothing wrong with me because I dislike this time of year. The more work I have done on questioning my beliefs and thoughts, I see how ridiculous this time of year really is. We are supposed to suddenly be grateful on this one day? (I believe gratitude is something to experience everyday). Since I began working on my inner life, I now feel gratitude on a daily basis, it is part of who I am. Are we suddenly supposed to want to run around like a crazy person buying gifts and doing things we really dislike? And should we then pretend to be happy when inside we are feeling anxious and unhappy?

sunk into deep depression

In years past, I would agree to participate in activities that I truly didn’t want to do. I “thought” I wanted to do them, but looking back now I see very large flashing red signs that point to the fact that I did not want to! I was coming from the conditioned place I knew so well. It was the heavy guilt that talked me into believing I “should” or “had to” participate. I would be late for gatherings, I would be very grumpy and depressed up to a week prior to the gathering, and I would beat myself up because I “should” want to do these things. These are the things people “do” during this time of year. It “should be” so nice. Ha! So I forced myself to do these things, beat myself up because I wasn’t happy about them, and then sunk into deep depression for a week after. I’m thinking maybe this sounds familiar to many people? There was so much guilt and shame and feelings of unworthiness involved during this time.  These feelings felt so familiar to me, which made it difficult for me to sort out why I wasn’t enjoying these “joyous” times of year! Until I started taking care of myself.

it is OKAY to do what works for me, no matter what the “norm” says 

When I began taking care of myself on a day to day basis, this spilled over into the holiday season. I slowly realized that my needs truly matter! I discovered that it is OKAY to do what works for me, no matter what the “norm” says I should do! What a freeing feeling. There is nothing bad or wrong with me when I  listen to my inner voice that is screaming, “stop! don’t go to this event, don’t do it, take care of your needs.” It was not easy at first, but it has since gotten easier. I ask myself, “what do you need? What would you like to do?” And I am sincere in asking myself this question! I listen to what I need, and then I take action to meet my needs. It can make it a bit trickier when kids are involved, because I will at times choose to do things I may not really want to do because I want to do them for my kids. So, because I am consciously choosing to participate for the benefit of my kids, I am able to better tolerate the situation. I am teaching them to listen to their inner voices when they do not want to do something. I am teaching them how to take care of themselves emotionally.

Honor your needs

I have learned that I absolutely do not have to participate in activities that suck energy from me. I do not have to be around people who do not respect me. I do not have to do things that my body is screaming “I don’t want to!” I do not have to sacrifice my well being so that others can have what they want. I have learned that the more I stay present and listen to my inner voice, the more peaceful my life is. As children, one is at the mercy of those around them. One may learn to shut off their inner needs. They become accustomed to the fact that their needs don’t really matter, so they stop tuning into them. But, as adults, we can take our power back! And, for those with children, we can teach our children to listen to their inner voices. We can validate their feelings and help them get their needs met in a healthy way. As adults, we are now in power of our lives. It is up to each of us to listen to that inner voice, and take action!

YOU HAVE THE POWER! 

What do you NEED every day, and during the holiday season? What do you want to change about this time of year? This is no right/wrong, good/bad. You CAN do what works for you! Honor yourself and your needs by giving yourself permission to do what is best for you. Be brave and go to a movie on the holiday, be courageous and stay home to take a hot bath, listen to music, and watch tv sitting comfortably on your couch with someone you love. Don’t do things that make you feel bad about yourself! If you feel bad just thinking of doing something, stop and ponder why you are doing it. YOU HAVE THE POWER! THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU IF YOU ARE FEELING CRAPPY AROUND THIS TIME! This feeling is the voice of your soul telling you that something is off. It is more than okay to listen! Big Love to all!

 

 

This is a great talk about vulnerability. Being fully human means being vulnerable. Feeling your full range of emotions and opening your heart in order to honor your needs and the needs of others in a healthy way.

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Posted in Depression, healing from depression, Help with depression, Nurture yourself, Self hate, Self-love | No Comments »

Mothering and nurturing myself; discovering self-love and kindness

Written by Amie on November 1, 2013 – 1:45 am -

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”~Buddha

Why is it that it is so much easier to be kind to others when they are suffering, but that kindness does not come as easily when we are the ones suffering? I am getting better at this. I was going through a very intense emotional experience last week. I discovered the most helpful way through it was to mother and nurture myself as I felt my emotions and experienced my body sensations. I felt nurturing kindness for myself. Many years ago, I would not have done this. Instead I would have tried to avoid feeling my emotions, while at the same time berating myself for getting so upset. I would have *known* there was something wrong with me. When I think about how unkind I was to myself, I feel sad. I feel so grateful that my self compassion has grown, and my response is now self-love and kindness. It was the most wonderful feeling. I truly felt loved, and I *knew* I was not alone, even though physically I was alone.

It was painful emotionally

I want to share my process with you because I want you to know that it is very possible to be alone and not feel lonely. It is possible to be alone with your grief but yet feel nurtured and mothered and loved. I want to share this with you because I want to spread the joy of discovering that when we allow ourselves to truly *feel*, without going into the story, or the drama, or the details, it really is possible to move through the emotions, to truly get through them to the other side. And on the other side of them is an incredible feeling of peace.I felt so peaceful in fact, that I asked myself if that was truly possible. And since I am a doubter at heart, I even questioned if I was just in denial. So far, I don’t think I am in denial, but I suppose time will tell. I want to clarify that I went through days of crying and feeling and moments I had to remind myself to breathe. I don’t want this to sound as though it was a party and a celebration, it wasn’t. It was painful emotionally. But I truly suffered if I allowed myself to get caught in listening to the story that tried to play out in my mind.When I listen to the story, I am distracted from my emotions and my bodily sensations. When I get distracted, the emotions get caught in my body, which means they will come back in other situations until I fully allow them to flow and be felt.

Anger is a “catch all” for emotions

Becoming aware of emotions is the starting point. It took me years to really *get this*. I thought “feeling my emotions” meant telling the story of what happened, becoming angry and often blaming someone, and usually staying in the anger without feeling what was under the anger. Anger is a sign that something is off, but it isn’t the actual emotion. It covers up the true emotions, the ones we might be afraid to feel. For example, we might be feeling grief or disappointment, sadness or loneliness, etc. Anger is a “catch all” for emotions. It feels powerful because it is a warning sign to us. But all too often, we stay in anger rather than dig beneath it. Often times, the anger is aimed at ourselves. We may shame ourselves by telling ourselves how stupid we were to not “see” what someone was doing to us, we may beat ourselves up with words. All of these things distract us from feeling our truth in the moment. In order to really feel emotions, we must stay present with our body sensations and our breath.

What am I feeling in my body?

I noticed that when I was crying and feeling sick in my stomach, I also felt a strong pain in my neck going down to my shoulder. I have had this in the past, and I did finally link it to old emotional pain that has been stuck there for a very long time. Once I became aware of this, I was able to talk to the pain, talk to myself. I was able to “mother” myself and nurture myself. I told my pain, “its ok, I have you, you are safe. Let it out, release this hurt now, you are safe.” I held my hand gently on my neck where the pain was, and I kept saying over and over, “you are safe, its okay to let go of this now.” I reminded myself to breathe, this is very important. It was incredible observing what happened. The pain would subside, and I would have some relief. I would cry more. The pain would return, and I would repeat the same process until it mostly went away. I knew instinctively that it was grief I was dealing with. Grief for many emotions that had been stuck in my body. Years of emotions, as well as past traumas being held in my body. Speaking kindly to myself was like talking to a scared child, reassuring her that it is safe to feel now. I was taking care of that little girl so that she was finally able to let go of the past that was holding her in fear.

“mothering” voice made me feel safe

I realize this process is not easy, especially when you might be accustomed to berating and being unkind to yourself like I used to be. But please give this a try. It feels so much better than the judgmental, mean, conditioned voice I had in the past. This loving, kind, gentle, “mothering” voice made me feel safe. I felt safe enough to let go of things that were holding me back. I felt completely nurtured and held in the arms of a divine loving energy, which is also myself.

 

 

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Posted in Awareness, Depression, Healing & personal growth, healing from depression, Help with depression, Nurture yourself, Self-love | 2 Comments »
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