• Things To Give Yourself This Christmas


    The notion that people who work from home work less (or more freely) can only be in the minds of those who do not work from home. As alternative and as exciting as it might seem, the truth is that most of us (at home or not) work too hard. If your job shackles you to a desk and a computer, chances are that like me, you often feel drained at the end of the day . . . and most likely, while you are checking commitments off your list you are not putting in time where you should. Yourself.

    I’m guilty as charged when it comes to neglecting oneself. I’m more often than not giving up a gym session to squeeze in some extra emails and more likely to give others my time than committing to my own well-being. Sound familiar? I’ll bet it does.

    Taking time out for ourselves can many times feel selfish or wasteful when building our careers up, when in financial stress and when having people (or creatures) around us that depend on us – but meeting ourselves in the middle is crucial, so that in the long run we don’t end up tired, anxious or maybe even giving up on our dreams.

    Beyond going for a quick walk, doing a few breathing exercises and keeping an arsenal of snacks at your disposal to munch on while tied down to your desk, we should also make our lives more practical. Like I always say, there’s always a way to better one’s life, no matter who you are and where you’re at.

    Here are 5 things (material and otherwise) to give yourself this Christmas:

    1. A (you) book: In the work frenzy we all lose track of our dreams, hopes and ourselves outside the professional realm. A you-book is meant to bring you back to your own. Not a work agenda and not a diary – but something where you can do both things. A moleskine is perfect to track your day-to-day life outside of work. This can be for your dreams, your learnings, your thoughts or essays... you name it. It simply needs to be all about you.

    2. A morning warm-up routine
    I used to be the type of person who would fall flat on her bed after a long day of work and dove right in to a digital immersion again every morning – without even catching my breath. It’s taken me years to get used to not getting sucked into that – the morning anxiety that tells you there’s not enough time. There IS enough time, especially when you don’t start your day stumbling from your bedroom into your office.

    Having a daily morning routine where you can ease out of bed is crucial. If you feel there’s not enough time, simply set your alarm so you can graft this into your life. Trust me, 15 minutes of morning relaxation is better than 15 minutes of extra sleep. So, start your morning by opening your eyes while in bed and pray or meditate and breathe. Sit on your bed and start your day mindfully. Grab a cup of tea or coffee (whatever makes you happy) and truly ease into your day. Think about the things you are grateful for before your to-do list starts niggling at your brain.

    Wash your face and continue to think about those things you are grateful for that day and tell yourself to have a good day.

    Then you can start, fresh and bushy-tailed.

    3. A daily spot in your agenda
    We are ALL busy. Let’s start with that. We all feel there’s no time for anything and everything is more important than what we think of as being frivolous, vain and unimportant. You are not frivolous, vain and unimportant. You are the brains of this operation, the motherboard to your computer... and so you should give yourself a special spot in your agenda – and when I say daily, I mean DAILY.

    Use this time for whatever you want – but don’t forget to pencil it in: 2:00pm-3:00pm “Me Time”, “Gym”, “Yoga” - you name it. If you easily pencil people and commitments into your agenda, why not you? After all, the better you feel, the better you will produce, so technically, by doing so, you are still a smart business woman (and a loving one at that).

    4. A weekly non-negotiable day off
    Do you want to know why many people crash and burn? Screens. Simple as that. We are constantly tethered to a screen, scrolling our computers, phones, tablets, smartphones and televisions in an endless haze of cold, blue lights... and we naively believe that a couple of hours of extra sleep on a Sunday can make a difference and prepare us for a busy week ahead. Wrong.

    Having a non-negotiable day off has completely changed my life and eased my anxiety. The act of disconnecting from social media, work, television, etc. is liberating (ok, scary at first but eventually liberating).

    Think about it. What are 24 hours (8-12 waking hours, really) in a 168-hour week. Not much… so things are going to be ok, especially you. Take that time to teach yourself new things. Sit in uncomfortable silence if you must.

    5. An evening winding down kit
    Having a nice end to your day is just as important as starting off right. I have already given you a quick walk-through of my previous robot-like behavior of the past... and let me just say that all I got out of that was endlessly more morning anxiety and panic attacks. So this is why I believe everyone (not only tiny babies) needs a winding-down routine.

    When night comes, you are run down, I know... but that is the exact reason why you need to wash off the day and give yourself a little pamper. A nice shower, a lit candle, soft music and sitting down for a warm meal is enough to do the trick – but if you want to take it a step further, I’d recommend you stop using screens 30 minutes before bed and that just as you eased into your day, you ease into your sleep. Maybe practicing a short breathing exercise or a prayer and a good read before bed.

    I keep a bottle of body cream next to my bed and I rub my feet every night before bed. I know I spend most of my day sitting down but there’s so much tension built up in the legs and feet and it’s very relaxing to soothe your body, mind and soul before sleeping. Not only will you get to sleep faster but you’ll also sleep better.

    If you have more tips and want to share with us, do it in the comment section. I just want to wrap this up by saying that no matter how hard-working you are, how many kids, pets or problems you are trying to control and resolve, never forget that you are important – in fact, you matter the most. To the measure that you take care of yourself, that’s the measure to which you will be able to take care of others.

    Say "Merry Christmas To Me" by adding these 5 small practices into your days.
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