The 3 gifts we should all give ourselves.
Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful listeners! We’re less than a week away and it’s go time! Or maybe you’re one of those people who’s had everything planned out since October. Either way, it’s a magical time of year. What makes it magical for you? Is it the music? The gifts? The increased focus on the Savior? For me, I love how people are more thoughtful. I assume that they are in the mode of thinking of others as they try and plan out gifts for their loved ones.
I’ve been told that I’m not the easiest person to shop for. I know my husband has a hard time and I’m guessing it’s probably because years back, I’d always just buy myself my gifts, place them under the tree wrapped and it was more of a surprise for him to see what he got me then the other way around.
Before that, I’d actually be too impatient to wait and see what he got me, so I’d strategically unwrap the gifts when no one was looking, see what it was, and then wrap it back up in a way that no one could tell that I did it. The only reason he found out was because my conscience guilted me into telling him. I know, it’s a little embarrassing to admit that, but there you go. A piece of me that’s forever out there now.
I do still gift myself things, but in some respects it’s changed. I actually don’t wait until a special occasion. In fact, I give these things to myself frequently. These are gifts that I give myself out of love for my present-self and for my future-self.
The first gift I give myself is luxury. Now it’s probably not the luxury you’re thinking of, at least not exactly. What do you think of when I say luxury? Maybe you think of expensive jewelry or expensive cars or big houses. Perhaps all things posh. Although, yes, these things would be considered luxurious from the outside in, luxury doesn’t have to be that big or expensive to pamper yourself.
When I workout in the morning, one of my favorite trainers is Elise. She’s does yoga and mobility work and loves to stretch. Which isn’t a surprise since she is a yoga teacher. It seems like every time we cool down she says, “I want you to take a nice decadent stretch to the side. Doesn’t that feel so luxurious?” I never really thought about a stretch being luxurious, but what does luxury offer us? It can offer ease, it can offer a sense of comfort, it’s something that’s special, it’s not average. Stretching and mobility training can set us up for a life where it’s easier to move and we’re more comfortable on a whole. Perhaps it can set us up for a life that’s above average. So, as I take this luxurious stretch, it feels good and I know that I am doing something good for my body. I’m doing something good for me right now and for my future-self.
Luxury and being pampered seem to be synonymous for me. Now that’s just me and my thoughts. When I’m being pampered, I can’t help but think thoughts like, “I am special” and “I’m important.” My brain equates luxury with indulgence and indulgence with something that is special. So it makes sense for my brain to think that luxury is for someone who’s special. We are all special so what is it that you do for yourself that tells you that you’re important and special?
Remember, doing something for you that tells you you’re an important person doesn’t have to be something really expensive. Another luxury, I gift myself, is drinking a water that I really like. The water that I drink is healthier for me, it’s ionized and alkaline based, and so it helps my battle with IBS, and it tastes good! Every time I go on a trip and don’t have the option of going to the store and buying some, I drink the water that’s available to me. It’s weird, but I kind of like it when this happens because when I get back, I am reminded how much I love the taste of this water.
When I think of luxury, I think of comfort. There is something that I really love and its pricey, but I just had a birthday so that’s what I asked for. Not to say that I haven’t gifted myself one of these pillowcases before, because I have. It’s a pillowcase made of the highest grade, 100% mulberry silk.
About five years ago, I was doing all the research on how to achieve healthier, younger-looking skin and hair naturally and this is what I found was recommended from health and beauty experts. And I love it! It’s so soft and I love soft things. It’s like number two on my list for things that give me a natural dopamine hit. First on the list is sparkles and soft things follow closely behind. Each night when I lay down, my face hits this pillowcase and it’s so comfortable and as a bonus, it helps prevent breakouts and won’t contribute to fine lines and wrinkles. I own 3 of these pillowcases now and switch it out every time I wash my hair.
Another way how I afford myself luxury is I take time in the morning to put on luxurious lotion. Luxurious lotion doesn’t have to mean that its costly. Do you have a lotion that you really like the smell of? Does it do something good for your skin? Then it’s luxurious!
And that leads me into the next gift that I give myself which is time. I don’t just slap on the lotion to hurry on with my day. I spend the time to rub it in good and making sure that I get every part of my body. now this doesn’t take a whole lot of extra time, but what you are gifting yourself, is the idea that you are worth the few extra minutes it takes to put on this lotion and you are sending a message to yourself, I am worth this time.
On a whole this probably doesn’t take more than two or three extra minutes, but it is still time. And sometimes my brain likes to go into scarcity mode when I have a whole lot going on and it tries to convince me that I don’t have time to put on lotion at all or if I do then it’s, quick get it on so that I can get on with my day. But it’s those little moments of self-care that you take that is showing yourself that I am just as much worthy of my time as the rest of my schedule. I literally have to remind my brain, “no brain. I have two minutes to show myself that I matter.”
Maybe it’s not lotion for you. What do you do that tells yourself that you’re worth the time?
Another thing that I take time for is fun. Most of the time, the fun is small like putting on music that I love and singing or dancing while I sweep the floor or do the dishes. I have a playlist of songs that I’ve made that I love to listen to. They get me going and in a good mood. Sometimes I’ll listen to it while I’m on my walk with my dogs. Sometimes I’ll indulge in a good fiction book. And I know that I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s fun for me to make challenges for myself on tasks that I find mundane. Like seeing how many dishes I can get in the dishwasher before the water for my hot chocolate boils. And sometimes I’ll get my creative on and make something fun.
Stuart Brown, who studies play, who wouldn’t want that job am I right? He studies play and says that there needs to be “time spent without a purpose.” So in other words, sometimes you choose the fun thing to do, just because it’s fun. Not because there’ll be some kind of payoff or because it’ll propel you towards your future dreams or further you in your career. Society can offer some really heavy issues that we need to manage, so it’s healthy to balance that out by having fun, just because.
The people who take time to have fun are better equipped to handle the hard when it happens. So find ways to make tasks more fun because it’s a more enjoyable process, but also experience more fun so your life experience can be more enjoyable.
The last gift that I give myself is presence. Sometimes I have so much going on with my family, my church responsibility, and my business that I forget to take time and be in the present moment. Especially when it’s a good moment; when it’s something that I’m enjoying, like anything fun. When doing something fun, stay in that moment and enjoy it. Soak in all of that goodness and allow your brain to focus on that. Life coaches will use the past as a way to learn and the future as a way to grow into our dreams, but we also see the wisdom that comes from slowing down and being in the present.
All of our wisdom comes to us in the present. I know we look to our future, more refined selves to glean wisdom, but we can’t be successful in that until we become grounded in and in tune with what’s going on for us right now. It’s when we slow down and become intentional that we have some of our biggest ah ha moments. All of our memories are made and better remembered when we are present. Not just in body, but in mind too. Instead of worrying about what happened before or what’s coming up on the to-do list, stay in the present and really soak it all in.
We may be dreaming of our future, but it’s our present-self that needs to get us there. It’s our present-self that says, “ok, this is where we are right now.” Even when we aren’t where we’d like to be, we have to know where we are starting in order to see some kind of path to our future. If we try to skip this step, if our focus is set too far ahead, our brains don’t see how we’re going to get there and sometimes that keeps us stuck in a whirlpool of overwhelm, which is never fun. when all we really need is to see the next step ahead of us.
Sometimes when overwhelm hits, it’s easy for our brains to jump to the worst-case scenario. It takes practice to stop the brain and notice the present. We usually aren’t in the danger of the total life collapse that our brains like us to believe. But when I’m in overwhelm, I notice that I start to implode and everything takes longer and the way out seems harder. I feel the stress building inside me physically. My chest gets tight and it’s harder to breathe. Sometimes, I have to tell myself, slow down. Are you safe right now? Do you have all your survival needs met, right now in this moment? Do you have the shelter you need? Do you have the food you need? Why are you jumping to the worst thing that could happen? Oh yeah, this is old programming in my brain. This isn’t life or death and I’m resourceful enough that if the worst case did happen, I’d be okay too.
When I practice living in the present, my brain is building beneficial habits that will help me now by decreasing my stress and this habit also reminds my brain that I have control over my thoughts. The more habitual it becomes, the less-likely I am to have sudden mood changes due to my brain throwing worst case scenario thinking at me. I begin to enjoy the moment again and start collecting the evidence that life is good, I am okay, and I start living into my future-self potential again.
Luxury, time and presence. The way I see it, these are all hot commodities right now and I’m willing to invest in each of them. It’s my way of saying to myself, “girl, you are worth it and I love you.” You know what, you are all worth it. What ways do you show yourself you’re important? What do you do to balance the positive with the negatives happening in your life? How are you living into your future with excitement and longing? The new year brings the tradition of change. What gifts will you start giving yourself out of love for you now and for your future-self?
I wish each of you the Merriest Christmas and remember, you are loved!
I’ll see you next year! Bye!
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