Give yourself the gift of solitude this holiday season.
The holidays always fill me to the brim with love and fellowship. I love seeing the world through the prism that only comes at this time of year when we truly celebrate each other. From the moment the doorbell rings on Thanksgiving Day to the morning we wake to a new year, the world seems like a giant gift, potent with sparkling possibility.
But it’s easy to lose something in all the holiday hustle and bustle –me.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the gatherings with family and friends, the sumptuous feasts, and the gift-giving. I love the sappy movies I’ve watched a hundred times and will hopefully watch a hundred more. There’s so much to love: beautiful carols and soft, fluffy snows and holiday lights against the dark night sky.
But there’s nothing that beats the peace of my quiet house when the last car door slams and I am left alone: heaven.
Quality time with YOU!
As a recovering mom (still trying to wean myself from worry and giving unsolicited advice!) and a people-pleaser, it’s always a struggle for me to make time for myself. I think that is true for many women.
The holidays up the ante. We want this to be a season to remember. We want everyone to have a great time. We want to reach out and touch, well, everyone! So, we launch a logistically daunting and frequently exhausting campaign of cards, gatherings, and gift-giving. It’s a month-long frenzy, filled with work parties, book club cocktails, and visits with great Aunt Mabel. By the time January 1st rolls around, we’re whimpering our surrender.
That’s why this year, I am challenging myself to carve out some quality time with myself. Will you join me? It will be the easiest challenge you’ve ever accepted. Setting aside a little time for yourself each day is guaranteed to restore your spirit and make this season one to remember. It’s every bit as important as that batch of sugar cookies or that last-minute shopping trip!
The goal is to squeeze in daily moments of solitude throughout the season. They don’t need to be long or complicated. In fact, easy is better. All it takes is a little planning. Believe me; the hard part is not finding the time – it’s making yourself a priority.
To get us both started, I’ve created a list of ideas. Feel free to add in your own; anything that makes you smile will do. Please share them with me in the comments after this post – I know I’ve missed a few, and I’d love to hear what you come up with.
- Enjoy a quiet cup of coffee before the house wakes up. Let the quiet soothe your soul.
- Hop in the car and take a solo drive with your favorite music playing. Sing along if you like, or just enjoy the ride.
- Stake out your favorite coffee shop. There’s nothing like finding solitude in the midst of a crowd.
- Grab a good book and find a quiet nook at a library or bookstore. Ahhh – there’s nothing like a good read.
- Bundle up and take a walk with just your thoughts. Feel the sun on your face and let your mind roam.
- Shut your bedroom or office door, then light a candle and meditate or listen to music.
- Put on some noise-canceling headphones and do some journaling. There is healing power in transferring your thoughts to the page.
- Shake off your stress with a 10-minute dance break from remote work. It is impossible to take life, or yourself, too seriously after shaking your booty to your favorite tunes!
- Close your eyes and take a mental vacation. No limits, no rules – just imagine yourself enjoying a day at the lake or living the life of your dreams. You’ll know your “trip” has been a success when you feel the smile on your face.
It’s incredible how rejuvenating some time alone can be. In those quiet moments, I can hear myself think. There’s no one else to pay attention to, worry about, or put before me. Only my imagination and desires limit me. You might even be surprised to discover that you make darn good company.
When I give myself these precious minutes, something wonderful happens. No matter how tired and uninspired I am when I start, I end my time alone feeling refreshed and ready. My energy comes roaring back, and life feels more effortless. Suddenly, there are things I want to do, to try, to learn.
No wonder my brain does a happy dance every time I have the house to myself!
Schedule time for you
Are you ready to make this a season to remember? It won’t happen unless you commit to yourself and make a plan. But, again, it does not need to be complicated. Just pick a couple of ideas from the list above, pull out your calendar for the week ahead. Then block off 10, 15, or 30 minutes each day for yourself.
Personally, I find it easier to set a regular time during the weekdays when work and day-to-day activity can sidetrack me. For example, I set my alarm 15 minutes early in the morning for a quiet cup of coffee. If morning exercise or an early work start gets in the way, I add a short walk after dinner or grab a few minutes behind closed doors. Listening to a meditation app before bed is also lovely. (Insight Timer and Envision are two of my favorites.)
On weekends, I indulge myself with an hour in a coffee shop or bookstore. Occasionally I’ll go to a movie or concert alone – there are countless options this time of year. I hope to find a good bell choir or choral concert, usually free and excellent at local churches and colleges. If my husband is off running errands, I sometimes just luxuriate in having the house to myself.
Your own plan should include activities that feel indulgent or meaningful to you. Remember, this is a gift you give to yourself, not another to-do for your list. It should be something you look forward to, something that feels effortless, and something that makes you feel great.
Let’s make this holiday season the season of YOU! Make yourself a priority, and you’ll find you have the energy you need for all the people in your life. Making yourself a priority is the gift that keeps on giving. With a month of me-time invested in yourself, you’ll be ready and raring to go when the new year arrives.