I’m writing today because I’ve been put on sick leave for a week (and yet here I am, writing blog posts… oh well) and it reminds me that I have something to say, as much to myself as to others. I am very feverish and on a lot of medication, so this is going to be a lot more informal than it usually is.
I wanted to talk about self-care. During the holiday season, you hear a lot about giving, and caring, and sharing, and thinking of your loved ones. But one thing which doesn’t get said enough in this time of the year, is that you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Take care of yourself. The holidays can be so stressful, for so many reasons. But make sure that you take a breather and charge your batteries. Whatever you believe in, and whatever you may or may not be celebrating this time of year, if you live in the northern hemisphere, it’s the darkest, longest nights of the year, and that’s why a lot of us are seeking out cheer and company. That time is about loved ones, it’s about family, whether they are related to you by genetics or because you chose them to be the people you love, spending time is what matters, and everything else is secondary. Gifts, how clean your house is, how good you look, it all doesn’t really matter. The only gifts that really matter are your love and affection; after all, when your loved ones think of you, it’s not the stuff you gave them that comes to mind, it’s the moments that you shared. You can’t give those if you don’t take care of yourself first, so do it as a gift to them as well as yourself.
And to those of you who are alone these days, I know how difficult it can be. Whether your loved ones are no longer around, or you are estranged from them for some reason, chances are you’re finding this time of year particularly hard. It doesn’t mean you have to be alone, though; there are some things you can do to beat the loneliness. There are a lot of free activities in community centres, and libraries offer activities and bright, warm places to be and read a book or use a computer for a while. You could also volunteer somewhere, which is not only a good way to give back and make a difference in someone’s life, but also to meet some new people who may become your next family and feel like you’re part of the world (which you are, no matter how you feel).
If you’re feeling really blue, and lonely, and you’re not sure what to do with yourself, it may be a small comfort, but there are many groups on social media for people just like you to support each other. Also, please feel free to use the contact page to send me an email, too; I will reply ASAP, and I’ll be happy to give you a hand, an ear, or a shoulder (that thing about giving back and helping people? I do it too).
If you’d rather talk on the phone, you can call your local crisis line:
Crisis line in Gatineau (French)
You can also Google or call your directory services to find the crisis line closest to you.
So, for the holidays, fill your cup. Care for yourself. Reach out to your loved ones or find a way to surround yourself with people.