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Self-Care tips from the Space Witch

We all know that the holiday season can be incredibly stressful, no matter which holidays one celebrates this time of year.  This season has always been hard on me, but this year it’s a lot worse.  So when I found myself crying in my boss’ office for practically no reason at all, I knew I needed to start practicing what social workers and other healthcare professionals refer to as “self-care.”"

Self-care is the equivalent to applying antiseptic cream to a wound.  These are those things that we treat ourselves to do make ourselves feel better.  Self-care soothes us and heals us, and it can make all the difference in our abilities to cope and heal.

So, coming from the expertise as both a witch and a social worker, here are some tips to help you take care of yourself this holiday season.  You deserve it!  (And if you’re like me, you probably need it!)

Limit your contact with people who add to your stress levels.  Perhaps easier said than done during this season of family dinners and office parties, but if certain folks stress you out, do all you reasonably can to limit your contact with them.  Don’t feel bad about doing this at all.  You’ll thank yourself for making your life easier and more pleasant.

Learn to say no.  Again, perhaps easier said than done, but a kind and gracious “no, thank you” will help you keep focused on your true priorities and help you to use your time, energy, money, and attention on the things that really mean a lot to you.

Spend wisely.  This applies to both time and money.  Create a budget as soon as possible, if you haven’t already.  This will help you to continue to keep your priorities straight and will give you more time, financial, and energetic resources for those moments when you truly need them.

Ground and center often.  Take the time out to really feel your connection to the earth and to the Cosmos.  This will clear your mind and your senses.  It will refocus you and re-energize you.

Take long showers or baths.  These will warm you up during this chilly season.  The water will cleanse you in mind, body, and spirit.  Locking yourself in a bathroom will give you quiet time to yourself.  Again, you will be able to refocus your mind and organize your emotions.

Eat well and get plenty of protein.  I’m not telling you to ignore those holiday cookies, but eating well when you can will help you balance the crashes from all of the sugar we stuff ourselves this time of year.  It will also help to keep you healthy, and good body health helps you deal with emotional and mental health.

Take your vitamins.  Don’t let your bad diet and busy schedule keep you from maintaining any self-care you’re already engaging in.  If you regularly take vitamins or drink special elixirs or potions, continue to do this.  (Under a health care professional’s guidance, of course.)

Go outside and get moving!  Go on lots of walks.  Isn’t it pretty outside?  Do some light yoga or tai chi.  Don’t you feel great?  Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins fight stress and unhappy feelings.  Even if you’re busy, you’ll be so happy that you made time for 20 minutes of body motion.

Meditate.  This will calm you.  It will also help you to put things into perspective, which can be so useful this time of year.

Go on a journey.  For those of you who trance or do journey work, take some time out to visit beloved places or to speak with ancestors, Gods, and guides.  Ask for their care and comfort, and they’ll walk with you throughout this season and others.

Pray and maintain daily devotionals.  Routine is important when we are stressed.  Its reliability can be incredibly satisfying and soothing.  Maintain regular contact with whatever powers you work with.  You’ll be glad that you do this.  It will offer you quality quiet time, but also remind Them that you haven’t forgotten them, even though you have 200 billion other things going on right now.

Spend time with natural helpers.  In the world of social work, natural helpers are understood to be family or friends who help to mentor or guide us.  They can be a favorite aunt or a cousin, or a pal at work who lets you rant and vent, and who offers you gentle, reasonable advice.  If you’re feeling sad or anxious, natural helpers may be able to walk with you as you move past the crisis.  Identify your allies, both in this world and in others.

Get professional help.  If you are sadder than usual, unusually anxious or jittery, or if the funk is deep and the clouds are thick, you might consider professional help.  This could be a professional therapist, social worker, or counselor to help you through this hard time.  They may help you to expand a self-care list, one that is custom tailored to your life and needs.  Or they may help in another important way.  Life can be very difficult, and this time of year can sometimes seem unbearable.  If you are struggling, you don’t need to be alone.  There are those who can help you!

And finally…

Indulge.  Eat your favorite food.  Listen to your favorite songs.  Wear your favorite tinsel tiara.  Put lights on the house.  Create a beautiful Yule log.  Write the Saturnalia ritual you’ve always dreamed of.  Wake up to greet the solstice sunrise.  If there is something you absolutely adore about this season, live it to the fullest.  Don’t let any potential judgment from others hold you back.  Any nay-sayers are just Scrooges, anyway, and they’ll be getting a visit from three ghost friends of mine if they aren’t careful…

Most of all… Have fun!  This season can be pretty great.  Make sure you enjoy it in the ways you can!

Happy holidays, everyone, and blessings this season and all others!

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