On the twelfth day of Christmas...I gave to myself

The Christmas season is here and many of us are gearing up for our much awaited office Christmas Party, looking forward to the holiday break, planning family get togethers, making travel arrangements and doing gift shopping. This is often a time filled with fun, laughter, joy and excitement. The reality, however, is that when Christmas comes around many of us can feel the multiple pressures that come with it. Sound familiar?

The Christmas and holiday season is a time of giving and receiving, but it is so easy to become trapped in a chaotic and exhausting mish-mash of responsibilities, family dynamics, chores, financial drain and basically just running around like a headless chicken! We can sometimes get wrapped up in all the giving and forget that we too need to receive. In short, Christmas can be a stressful time.

And there is no mistaking that all this stress can have an impact on your energy levels, motivation, happiness, sense of empowerment, relationships and general well-being.  Your sexuality takes a hit too. There is plenty of documented evidence that feeling stressed and run down doesn’t do much for boosting one’s sense of sexiness.

But there are ways to survive the silly season while keeping true to ourselves. It’s the concept of consciously giving back to yourself during the Christmas festivities.

Here’s how it rolls. You’ve heard the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song right? It is the Christmas carol that tells the story of one’s lover giving them increasingly impressive gifts on each of the twelve days of Christmas. Nice concept huh? I like it too.  Well here’s the song revamped so that instead of waiting for others to give us gifts, we can take advantage of the Christmas cheer and give back to ourselves. Each of the twelve days brings a new gift and plenty of joy!

Day One- Buy yourself a gift. Is there something you’ve wanted all year but have thought it was too expensive or unnecessary? Well, now is the time to treat yourself.

Day Two- Factor in some relaxation time. This may be a sleep in, a massage, a manicure/ pedicure or simply sitting in your favourite café sipping on a latte.

Day Three- Establish some clear boundaries with challenging family members or situations. Get clear on what you are prepared and not prepared to do. And remember that it’s OK to look after your needs.

Day Four- Choose to let go of any negative emotions, unnecessary worries and/or guilt. When we can let go of stressful and worrying thoughts, we are automatically calmer, more relaxed and happier.

Day Five- Do something to nurture your spirit. This could be anything from quietly sitting in your favourite place, meditating, practising yoga or visiting a holy place.

Day Six- Spend some time in nature. Getting out of the big smoke can be super relaxing and give you the break to rest and reenergise.

Day Seven- Plan a relaxing day trip, weekend away or holiday. Choose a date and book it in.

Day Eight- Dedicate some time to romance. If you have a partner, organise a special Christmas love date where just the two you can connect without any distractions.

Day Nine- Take some sensual time on your own. You can keep it simple by taking hot bath, or moisturising your whole body with a luxurious oil or cream.

Day Ten- Realise a dream that you’ve always held back on. This might be booking into a dance class, applying for your ideal job, enrolling in study, buying a new car or splashing out on those designer shoes.

Day Eleven- Find a quiet moment to review the year gone by and congratulate yourself for all of your amazing achievements.

Day Twelve- Write your personal goals wish list for 2014. Stick it on your bedroom wall or keep it in your phone so that you can connect with it everyday.

So why not try getting into the Christmas spirit and give a little back to you?

First published online for My Little Black Book 2013.