The holidays are wonderful in so many ways, but for every wonderful thing, the holidays also present an opportunity for stress. There’s the pressure of giving time and presents to loved ones, additional activities in your busy schedule, and perhaps some financial strain.
For me, the Christmas season has always brought on a double-edged sword of holiday cheer—I want to make the most of the season and do as many fun things as possible, but that can sometimes end up becoming a bit overwhelming. Then, if I slow down too much, I feel regret on December 26th. It’s hard to not give too much of yourself to others and the season without also missing some opportunities for joy. But you also don’t want to run yourself down and ignore your own needs.
In order to find balance, I’ve written this guide for ways you can prioritize self-care during the holidays.
It’s December 2013, and I’m sitting on the futon in my college apartment. My end-of-semester assignments are looming, and junior year is kicking my butt a little bit. I have a car, a bit of money to spare in my tiny student bank account, and something makes me say to myself, “I want to learn how to crochet.” So I drive to Walmart and buy one skein of Lion Brand Hometown USA and a hook.
So my crochet hobby didn’t exactly start in the most sentimental way. I didn’t learn from a maternal figure on a comfy couch with the smell of cookies baking in the next room. I learned from a YouTube video in an old apartment, all the while feeling guilt for all the schoolwork I wasn’t doing.
But it was this less-than-sentimental beginning that makes me want to share my story. Having this creative hobby changed my life.
When I graduated from college in 2015, I remember that one of my first thoughts was I’ll never have a summer break again. When you’ve been a student for nearly the first 22 years of your life, transitioning to working full-time year-round can be kind of daunting. Why is it that all the things that add up to the challenge of adulting only manage to reveal themselves as they require head-on confrontation? Three years into post-grad living, I’m learning that that’s life. It just keeps on coming. Then you think, Alright. Here we go. Another challenge to surmount. And then you do it.
But what happens when you get tired?
I knew that I wanted to be an English major by the time I was 14. English was not only a subject that I did well in, but it was also one that actually held my attention. I was an editor and contributor for the school literary magazine, and I even came third in a school-wide poetry recitation contest. But I always had trouble saying, “I like reading.”
Let me first say that I love books. I love holding a book in my hands. Mid-size paperbacks with soft pages and flexible spines−man, they are the best. I like walking around knowing that I have a book in my bag, that I could close out the world and just focus on the piece of work in my hands. If I wanted to. I’m so comfortable in bookstores, and libraries make me feel the kind of excitement you get before you go to see a show. But I wouldn’t be 100% honest if I said, “I like reading.”
Remember when I said that I’d be posting on Sunday mornings? I’ve already lied to you. It’s Wednesday, and here’s another new post for you.
It’s the first Wednesday of the month.
I want to introduce you to a project I’m starting, and even though this is a life project, I can’t seem to separate it from a crochet metaphor in my mind. It goes like this:
If you’re a yarn crafter, you know how tempting it can be to gather patterns for projects you would love to make. You may even go so far as to buy the yarn, but let’s face it, some projects never get started.Even more projects never get finished. My life feels kind of like my yarn stash right now. It’s a mix of exciting possibilities, overwhelming potential, and a bit of guilt for letting some endeavors sit for so long. (I’m thinking of you, granny square blanket that I started in 2015).
Consider this a down payment on my future.
Three and a half weeks ago, I was awake at 4:00 am staring at the wall of my hotel room. I was on a work trip and I couldn’t sleep. No matter where I tried to take them, my thoughts kept being chased by this one phrase: invest in yourself.
I was attending a marketing conference, and while I picked up a lot of tips and inspiration for my work, I couldn’t help but gather some for my personal development as well.
The idea that the most important thing you can invest in is yourself was a common thread among a lot of the sessions I attended. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. Even if you’re not beginning some entrepreneurial journey, investing in yourself is going to have ripples that positively impact so many other parts of your life. If I invest in myself, I’m going to be a better wife, daughter, friend, employee, human.