“To You, From You”

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Happy Christmas Eve! If you’re anything like me at the moment, you’re relishing the sensation of what this time of year is all about: good company, good food, and a much-needed change of pace. It’s been nice to sleep in a bit, get through back issues of magazines, catch a film in the middle of the day, and to generally leave the routine of what a normal week might look like behind. And yet, in some ways, I haven’t. Admittedly, it’s been a struggle to really decompress and stay present. It’s showing me just how much pent-up exhaustion I’ve been carrying around with me for quite some time. Perhaps it’s because it takes some time to re-train your brain on how to not think about whatever problems that typically distract the mind day-to-day. Perhaps it’s because prepping for the holidays comes with its own set of things to add to yet another “to-do” list that still has your brain on the go, effectively preventing it from really unwinding.

I often find my mind slipping toward work or some issue that I promised myself I would step away from for the next 3 weeks to relax and enjoy the holidays, and I get really frustrated with myself. I then get frustrated with myself that I’m frustrated with myself and it’s a bit of a vicious cycle, which completely defeats the purpose of why I made myself take an extended holiday vacation this year. I need the rest. I need some space to breathe and think about what I really want. I’ve already decided that I’ll have to make some pretty big changes in 2015 and I can’t get there if I’m constantly in the middle of a vicious cycle, not taking the time to stop.

I was reading December’s issue of O Magazine on the drive up to Santa Cruz yesterday to spend Christmas with boyfriend’s family, and came across a timely article from Martha Beck, aptly titled “To You, From You.” Her thought process was that for every gift you give someone, you should give something to yourself. She wasn’t talking about expensive physical gifts either. Essentially, she was making the point to not get so lost in the craze of the holidays that you forget to replenish and think about yourself. I realized immediately what I needed to give myself: a break.

I can be pretty hard on myself, be in my head too much, and rehash or analyze a situation so much that it becomes anything but productive.

So, while yes this time of year is for being with loved ones, sharing gifts, and eating to your heart’s desire, I thought I’d take a different approach this Christmas Eve and remind you, as Martha Beck did for me just in the nick of time so as to not miss it altogether, to remember to give something to yourself.

I’m decidedly giving myself a break. If I start thinking about work, about what a bad blogger I am for missing a post date, or complaining about “x, y, or z;” instead of getting frustrated or disappointed in myself, I’ll simply tell myself, “give something to you, Candice. Let it go. Give yourself a break.”

This is my gift to you (through Martha, of course), which sums up my opinion on how to really enjoy and stay present this holiday season.

And speaking of being present…I’m off to rejoin my holiday vacation, now in-progress.

Merry Christmas to you! x

 

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In the Spirit of Christmas

Blend2Greetings from Santa Cruz, CA!

It’s been a whirlwind start to our little holiday vacation, that thankfully seems to be settling down just in time for the festivities. Unfortunately, my boyfriend had been experiencing very serious stomach pains off and on during our travels up North yesterday that eventually landed us in the E.R. until the wee early hours on Christmas Eve, but it now seems all is well. It’s always hard to watch someone you love in so much discomfort, so I’m happy to see him doing better – that’s a Christmas gift in and of itself. I made a small joke while we were waiting for his lab results that this might turn out to be one of those cliché Hollywood movies where the entire family pours in to a hospital room, decorates the space, and opens presents over the hospital bed. You know, “we’ll bring Christmas to you!”

So, Christmas Eve has found us spending much of the day resting, in part, because we didn’t get back to our hotel until 3am and later this morning took a short jaunt out to the pharmacy and the store to buy more stomach friendly foods. After a bit of rest, I’m very much looking forward to a nice dinner out with his family and then our annual drive around town to see the Christmas lights. This should do the trick to bring things back on track.

It’s funny how life works. Among all the stress and pre-planning for the holidays, the to-do lists, shopping lists, celebrating, thinking ahead toward the New Year and what you want out of life – it’s when things like this happen that the universe is reminding us of the undeniable importance taking of ourselves and those around us. It’s interesting sometimes how that particular bullet-point doesn’t always make it on our “to-do” lists.

With that, I want to use what happened to us as we embarked on our holiday adventure to also remind you to take care of yourself and those dear to you. Be present. Be in the moment. Be in the spirit of Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you!