Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” And you say, I wish!

In many homes, the night before Christmas is a noisy merry family celebration waiting for midnight — ushering Jesus’ birthday with gift giving and receiving. And weeks before that is a frenzy of busy preparation and anticipation. It could be merrily on not so merrily exhausting.

I was standing in line in the post office yesterday, mailing my Christmas cards (which have been in my purse for a week). I overheard one jolly costumer asking the person behind the counter, “Are you ready for Christmas? And the not so jolly reply was “I’m ready for it to be over!”

Many people I know relate to the verbalized sentiment. The holiday season hustle bustle can be very draining. Here’s a reminder: Take time for yourself.

Neglecting yourself is easy during the holidays. Take time to love and honor yourself. Practice daily self-care, especially during the Holidays. You can begin by making a “nice” list of the loving things you can do for yourself. Start today. Here’s some example:

n List one quality you love about yourself. Actually, list all that you can think of.

n Take 10 deep breaths and allow your body to relax and be still. You can do this sitting, standing or laying down — while waiting in line in the grocery store or in the bank. Do this especially when you are feeling hurried and stressed.

n  Take a daily walk. Park the farthest at Costco and enjoy a few minute walk. Pay attention to your steps and how your feet feels. Breathe deeply as well.

n Enjoy a good sit down meal with a friend rather than grabbing a banana to go, or alone if you prefer. You deserve the simple unhurried pleasure of a nourishing meal.

n Call an uplifting friend to break your day. An accepting loving voice can lift your spirits bright.

n Enjoy a cup of tea or a cup of coffee any time of the day. Notice the taste, the aroma, and the sounds around you. Just let yourself be a non-judgmental witness. It’s a gift.

n Watch the birds. They are so happy and free. They are joyful to watch.

n Buy something for yourself. Just don’t break the bank. You’ve been busy buying gifts for everyone else on your list. You too needs something special.

n And go ahead, eat the cookie. You will be burning the calories running around taking care of everything else. Just don’t eat the whole batch.

Naturally allow yourself to receive. It is your birthright. Receive the goodness that the holiday season brings to your life. Share what you have with others, and receive the joy of giving. Giving and receiving are different aspects of the same flow of loving energy. You receive tenfold what you give, so give freely. It does not have to be costly. Share a smile, an encouraging remark, a loving look, a flower, a drink, or simply a good deed.

The flow of love in our lives depends a lot upon our ability to receive and care for ourselves. It’s rather hard to care for others, if you do not feeling very well physically, mentally, and/or spiritually.

So commit to taking care of yourself. Consider posting your “nice” self-care list somewhere you can see daily. It’s best to start the day with one thing on your list and end your day with the same. Perhaps you can program the daily reminder in your smart phone. Throughout the day you are busy, but notice the many opportunities that may come up. Take the moment to experience self-care and self-love. As you give freely to yourself, you will consequently experience the loving awareness that will allow you to be able to give more.

Happy Holidays!

A registered nurse, Dr. Elvie C. Ancheta is administrator of the California Department of Veterans Affairs’ William J. “Pete” Knight Veterans Home in Lancaster.

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(1) comment


I really enjoyed this article. Modern life can be so fast, it's a good idea to stop around Christmas and relax.

For anyone looking to take a walk, we recently made an interactive map of the 30+ murals on Lancaster BLVD to celebrate our burgeoning high street.

Merry Christmas!

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