Self-Care During the Holidays

Old Fashioned Winter HolidayAre You Feeling Stressed?
Guess what?  The holiday season is here.  Bodhi Day, Pancha Ganapati, Hanukkah,  Winter Solstice, Yalda, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve is right around the corner.  As children we get very deeply conditioned about what it means, all the expectations, ‘shoulds,” and “should-nots.” As much as you may be looking forward to the holiday gifts and festivals, it can also be a traumatic experience. Do you remember hoping, praying for your favorite gift, so excited for weeks… then you open the gifts and you got something else? How sad and disappointing it was!

Holiday StressThe Role of Childhood Experiences 
Very often when the holidays are approaching we feel stress, without always consciously knowing why. One of the main reasons is lack of self-care. We tend to be very outwardly focused, thinking about what is expected of us, how to do the “right” actions, find the “right”  gifts for our family and friends, neglecting our own wants and needs. If you didn’t get the  gifts you had really wanted as a child and teenager, that sets up another layer of tension and stress today, because childhood experiences create an assumption in the subconscious that the same experiences will happen today.

Happy HolidayHow to Have a Stress-Free Holiday
Here are some of the ways to take care of yourself, so that you can experience more relaxation and joy during this holiday season than you had before.

1. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths into your belly. Ground yourself first. Get a sense of your feet on the ground, connected to the earth. Feel your tail bone, and imagine that from the tip of your tailbone a strong grounding cord is coming out, like a tree. Your grounding cord is moving deep into the earth, all the way into the very center of the earth, and is anchoring itself there. Feel yourself deeply connected to Mother Earth, grounded in this moment in a peaceful and relaxed way.

2. Realize that this is your life, you come first. Say to yourself out loud: “This is my life. I come first.”

3. As a child your survival depended on your caregivers, you didn’t have much choice. Now as an adult you have choices you didn’t have back then. Feel in your gut the fact that you can choose to take care of yourself now and ask for what you want. “I deserve to ask for what I want.”

4. Take a few deep breaths, all the way down into your belly.

5. Ask yourself what you want in this holiday season. Imagine the possibility of a stress-free holiday.

6. Making mistakes is part of being human. We can learn from our mistakes, apologize, and forgive ourselves. Realize that who you are is always lovable no matter what mistakes you have made.

7. Your Self-Love Chamber is in the middle of your chest. Put both of your hands there and send yourself unconditional Love. Feel it spreading through your body.

8. Say to yourself: “I love myself exactly as I am.”

9. Imagine your ideal holiday. Write it down. Say to yourself: “I deserve to receive a joyful holiday.”

10. Write down two-three self-care actions you can do for each of these holidays.


Rabia ErdumanRabia Erduman is a Health Educator for the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. She was born in Istanbul, Turkey and later spent ten years in Germany before arriving in the United States in 1983.  Rabia utilizes Psychology, Transpersonal Hypnotherapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Polarity Therapy, Reiki,  and Trauma Release to assist clients in their process of self-discovery. Rabia also teaches Tantric and spiritually-oriented workshops. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance and/or to find out how you can have your health article printed here on our blog site, contact us or visit our website at

20 Ways to Love Yourself

YOU are lovable and valuable.  How do you love yourself? How do we give yourself love without being selfish?

Love Yourself

Love yourself. You are lovable and valuable.

WHAT IS SELF-LOVE? Self-love is not the same as selfishness. Self-love is not vain. Self-love is important for our preservation and existence.  If we do not love and care for ourselves, then we are not taking responsibility for ourselves.

We cannot expect others to care for us when we can care for ourselves. If we do this, we can be guaranteed to be disappointed, because another Soul cannot love us the way that we can love ourselves.  Of course, sometimes we need help from others, but we must do what we can to love and care for ourselves, even if it is just inwardly being responsible for not allowing negative thinking to dominate our lives.

Studies show that those who have not learned how to love themselves, are more prone to disease, and even death.  Self-love is how we keep the mind, body, and spirit, free from disease and charged up with positive healing energies.


    1. Make a list of all of your talents and positive qualities and post it up on the wall or refrigerator where you can see it, or for those more modest, put it on the inside of closet door, or a place where only you will see it everyday.  If you are having trouble making a list, ask a trusted friend to help you.  Try to use a variety of words, not just “nice.”  Do a word search for “positive characteristics.”  Try some other words like, “determined,”  “easy-going,” “imaginative,” “trusting,” etc.

      Man Looking in the Mirror

      Do you love yourself? Can you look in the mirror and feel good about who you see?

    2. Look in the mirror and give yourself a compliment (for example, “You are a good listener,”  or “You’re reliable and dependable,”  “You have very good complexion,”  or “You are very talented at drawing.”   Truly mean it and be grateful for the positive traits you have.
    3. Make a list of things that you love to do (for example, listening to French music, watching old movies, playing cards, going for a walk in the park, sitting with the dogs, etc.) and plan time on your calendar or daily planner to schedule at least one or two hours every day, doing something that uplifting or fun that brings joy to your heart.

      Woman shrugging shoulders

      Learn to take your time to make decisions. It’s O.K. not to know what to do and to take time until you are certain.

    4. Learn to say, “I’ll get back to you,”  or “let me give that some thought.”  Don’t say “yes” or “no” too quickly.  Learn to trust your own judgment and inner direction, by giving yourself some time alone to make your own decisions.  This might mean going against a decision made by a group of friends.  Know that this is an important step in loving yourself. Take time to make decisions and know that it is perfectly fine to not know what to do.
    5. Make a list of your favorite foods that are healthy for every part of you – body, mind and spirit, (not just a long list of junk food that might be good for the emotions but bad for the stomach and heart). Put some thought into this “healthy food” list.  Make some effort to throw out foods that are not nourishing to you and replace them with healthy and fun foods that you enjoy such as fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, organic foods and juices, etc. 
    6. Hug yourself.  Give it a try. Nobody is looking and it feels really good.  Hug yourself every day.
    7. Shift gears and lead a balanced life.  Make sure that you are getting enough exercise and enough rest so that you lead a balanced life.  If you stay inside and work on a computer all day, get out of the house and get some exercise. If you do physical work all day, stay inside, relax, put your feet up and snuggle with a loved one or the cat in front of a cozy fire. Take care of your body by eating healthy foods, exercising, and relaxing.
    8. Imagine that someone is telling you something negative about yourself and you are strong and unaffected. Practice being detached and saying. “O.K. fine,” and not caring about what others think.  Practice seeing yourself in a good light, even when others see you in a negative way.  Keep practicing until you honestly are not bothered by these kind of statements. You can do it!
    9. Make a list of people whom you admire or who inspire you.  Now that you have a few names, think of the character traits that they have that you like.  Write the character or personality traits next to the person’s name such as confident, relaxed, wise, affectionate, humorous, honest, trustworthy, fun, talented, etc.   Then take this list and compare it with a list of your traits.  Which traits do you have?  Which traits do you need to work on? Next spend time each day in quiet contemplation imagining that you are this trait.  If it is “friendly,” then close your eyes and go on a little journey, imagining a little “drama” or “play” in which you are a very friendly person.  Do this every day.

      Writing Goals

      One way to love yourself is to take time to listen, and write down your goals and dreams.

    10. Use a journal every day before going to sleep. Write down in the journal what you choose to accomplish or how you wish to be.  This is your true self.  For example, write:  “I am kind.  I am patient.  I am loved. I bring joy and happiness to others.”   Write these statements several times in the morning, throughout the day, and before falling asleep.
    11. Spend some time alone with yourself every day. Turn off the TV, cell phone, computer and just listen. Get a pen and paper and write down your hopes and dreams.  What is it that you’ve always wanted to do?  Close your eyes and imagine it so.  Now start breaking it down into goals.  Write down five, ten or more steps to achieving your goal.  What is standing in your way? Start taking action by writing each goal step on your calendar.  Forgive yourself if you have to reschedule, but be persistent and don’t give up.
    12. Learn how be yourself.  Who are you? What do you like?  Find out what your favorite music is, your favorite clothes, your favorite foods, etc.  Spend time alone and sort this out so that when you are with others you are not just copying what they do.  Then when you are certain who you are and what makes you uniquely YOU, be true to yourself.  Find friends, or groups of people (classes, clubs, organizations) who enjoy being with you just the way you are, and who enjoy the same things you do. Join groups. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and hold the same values.
    13. Pretend that you are your best friend.  When you are planning what to do for the day and you start to contact your best friend, stop yourself and ask, “Is there anything that I am choosing to give my best friend, that I’m not giving to myself?”  Do you treat your best friend with kindness, trust, respect, flattery,  time, patience, understanding, forgiveness and tolerance?  It’s great to give to your friends and make time for them, but be sure to balance it out with time, forgiveness, love, and gifts for yourself.
    14. Don’t compare. If you find that you are comparing yourself to another person or a group of people, stop yourself and say, “I don’t make  comparisons.”  Remember that each person is unique.  Each person is lovable and valuable. The trick is to find your uniqueness, your sparkle, and not to focus on differences. This holds true for others also.  Hold onto the image of each person’s value and uniqueness in life. Stop looking at how people (yourself included) don’t measure up to certain standards or expectations. Throw out expectations.  When you compare, you hurt others and yourself. and separate yourself from the world. Remember that love doesn’t put itself on a scale to be measured out by comparisons.

      Physical Exam

      Scheduling yearly physical exams is one important way to show our love for ourselves.

    15. See a doctor or trusted practitioner regularly.  Schedule basic health exams, blood work, and other tests and screenings to make sure you are in tip top shape.
    16.  Treat yourself.  Get a massage, sauna, facial, pedicure, manicure, new haircut, paint your room, buy new curtains, buy new clothes, etc.  Do something loving for your body and/or your home. Treat yourself and have fun.
    17. Explore aromatherapy.  So maybe you cleaned up the house, bought nice clothes, went to the doctor and you are feeling fine…did you think about fragrances?  What does your place smell like and what do you smell like?  Find out which fragrances make you happy and relaxed.  Buy shaving lotions, aftershave, men’s cologne, women’s perfume, deodorant, incense, fresh flowers, air fresheners, or essential oils to bring amazing fragrances into your life that bring out the best in you.
    18. Forgive yourself and others for past mistakes.  Close your eyes, listen to your heart and discover any past regrets, disappointments, shame, fear, guilt, anger, that is still gripping your heart and preventing you from moving forward.  Imagine surrendering this over to a higher power and letting go.  Practice tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance, faith and trust in higher wisdom and a higher plan.  Know that more will be revealed to you.  You or those you love, may not have all the skills needed at the moment, but accept that you and others are learning and evolving spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Write and say out loud, “I forgive myself. I forgive others.” Let it go.
    19. Thank your negativity. Every time you hear yourself thinking a negative thought about yourself or others, such as “I am ugly,” talk to your emotions or your mind and say, “Thank you for providing me with this information.”  Be grateful for the negative thought.  Then let it go, saying to yourself. “I’m grateful and I’ve heard you, and I don’t need to think of this anymore. Thank you.” Send it away and replace it with a positive thought, such as “I am radiant.”
    20. Give to others.  Do something good, kind, loving and/or charitable each day for someone else without them knowing that you have done something, or without any expectation of recognition or reward.


Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.