As the holiday season approaches, your to-do list expands exponentially. How would you like to get through the next few weeks feeling calm, loved and nurtured? Women typically carry the burden of domestic duties and there never seems to be enough time in the day. Consider this, though, if you are constantly running on empty, how much love and joy are you capable of exuding?
Feeling loved and appreciated creates better health. A young woman recently told me. “I do everything for my family. My life revolves around them and when I get home the house is a mess and I just can’t deal with it anymore.” Herein lies the problem. She wants people to do for her what she lovingly, most days, does for them. However, that is not how the world works. It is human nature to take care of ourselves first. Expectations unexpressed, lead to disappointment and resentment.
Social Conditioning Programs Us for Failure
Through social conditioning, many women have been programmed to feel guilty if the house is not spotless, meals on the table, lunches prepared, laundry clean and folded. During my years as a single mom, after a long day at work, making dinner, spending time with my family, making lunches and finally getting kids to bed, I would put laundry in the washer and set the alarm for an hour later so I could crawl out of bed to put that load in the dryer and another in the washer. To say I was in a constant state of fight or flight was and understatement.
Imagine having a sanctuary, where you could go to recharge yourself. One of my mentors fondly reiterates, “Pleasure is Medicine.” How can you instill more pleasure and joy into your daily life? Think of the difference between gulping down a fast food meal in your car or setting a beautiful spot at the table, with music playing in the background, maybe some flowers on the table and the focus of eating and enjoying each bite of food (even if it is takeout).
Create Sacred Space
Another suggestion is to create a sacred space in your bedroom that you can keep clean and inviting even if the rest of the from is in disarray at times. Fill it with things you love that make you smile when you see them. Beautiful linens, pillows, flowers, candles, soft music, possibly a small water feature and a place to sit and meditate will automatically begin to relax you as you walk through the door and shut it. Creating space for yourself takes you out of fight or flight mode and helps to reduce the cortisol in the system.
Make Your Personal Pleasure a Focus
The Tantric practice of creating a Pleasure Journal makes your personal pleasure a focus. On the first few pages, describe how your needs for pleasure are currently being met and leave some space to add to this list over time. Think of each item carefully. If it brings a smile to your face or a positive memory, write it down. They should be varied in costs and times. Often 15 minutes listening to your favourite music recharges your system more than an hour at the spa.
Then in the next section, to be filled out daily, write the answer to these three questions.
1. What are 1 to 3 things that you appreciate about your life?
2. What are 1 to 3 things you appreciate about yourself?
3. How did you meet your needs for pleasure today?
By making yourself a priority, your health and stress levels will improve. Your immune system will strengthen. You may even appear younger because finally someone is showing you the love and appreciation you desire… YOU!