It’s that time of year again: We are fast approaching peak darkness and peak holiday insanity. And also peak seasonal focus on irrational outward giving.
I’ll get right to the point: a lot of people overextend themselves this time of year (and always). You definitely know (or possibly are) one of them:
- The person who neglects their own health in caring for their aging parents or a sick friend
- The person who always puts their own happiness second, be it at work, in party planning or in their personal relationships
- The person who makes themselves available at the drop of a hat to celebrate everyone around them but finds finds themselves high and dry when it’s their turn to be fêted
I don’t mean to suggest it’s all a big transaction and everyone should run out and get theirs—merely suggesting that there’s nothing wrong in turning the gifting lens on yourself. To be clear, I'm not saying go out and buy yourself a bunch of useless shit you’ll jam into a closet somewhere and be burdened by come springtime—give yourself some actual meaningful gifts.
I’ll turn to a phrase we can all understand (and have likely recently heard in our holiday travels):
Secure your own mask before helping others.
Make sure your own cup is full before you give of yourself blindly. Set boundaries for your holiday generosity and obligations and examine your motivations for giving. Determine what you will give to yourself. Here are a few ideas:
Top Self-Gifting Ideas for 2015:
- Permission to say NO
You don’t have to go to all (or even half) of the holiday parties. Especially not those that feel like an obligation from the start.
- Space for Silence & Reflection
It’s ok to sit quietly and think back on the past year. You don’t have to spend every spare holiday second hunting down the perfect outfit/gift/party/instagram post.
- Making Peace with Where You’re At right now
Not all of us can gift $62,000 necklaces. And that’s totally fine. Opt out of the one-upmanship of holiday giving and give what makes you happy to give, to those you are happy to give to.
- An Investment in your Health
Why wait until after the holidays? Take a time out and go for a walk, try the new rock gym, or get to the yoga class you’ve been talking about checking out since June. Sure, the clock restarts Jan 1 but it will be a lot easier to stick with a good new habit if you get a jump on it in December. And shoot, if you can keep a healthy habit through the holidays, it’s smooth sailing in the new year.
The best gift we can give to others is to put ourselves in a position be able to give of ourselves. This year, choose being kind to yourself and prioritize health and balance over image and obligation. Secure your own mask before helping others.