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Pause for Pleasure - Holiday Season Self Care

It's complicated. Hustle and bustle and holiday music, lights and crowds can be fun ... and they can be draining when it's too much or you're feeling sensitive.

Social gatherings and traveling are happening again ... but it's also stressful right now, with Covid raging. I'm missing out on family and social gatherings because it doesn't feel safe enough right now, for me to relax and enjoy it. I hosted a holiday party sixteen years in a row -- celebrating with friends has been SUCH an important part of my holiday. I'm bummed and feeling the pandemic fatigue. And right now, I'm choosing more solitude. 'Sacred solitude' a dear friend calls it.

And I'm choosing more pleasure. Pleasure is such a huge resource. I find that writing or singing a daily gratitude list in the morning, along with mindful breathing and grounding, helps me start the day with hope and a positive outlook. Playing uplifting music, singing along, hopping up to dance spontaneously .... these make my days more fun. Going for walks in nature ... listening for the birds, the sound of the waves on the shore, the wind .... looking around, noticing what's beautiful. Seeking pleasure is transformative. And what about self pleasuring? Sometimes I feel resistance! It's so easy to just stay busy. Trust me, it helps.

How can you orient to and choose more pleasure?

Sometimes it's a stretch to reach for pleasure; it seems elusive. Sadness comes in many forms, especially at this time of year. The messages about this being the happiest time of the year are relentless … What if it isn’t for you? That can feel very lonely. If you are feeling grief at this time of year, I feel for you. Is there something you need? Sometimes I'm carrying around grief and don't even realize it because I'm rushing so much. Pausing, breathing more deeply, putting a hand on my chest and feeling my heart, sharing with a friend that I'm feeling sad .... these help me connect to tender emotions, give them space to be, without having to do anything about it. Sometimes starting to sing brings up emotions; I just sing and feel my way through it.

And what about when people are just SOOO annoying????? Ah, yes, that part of the holidays.

Turn to wonder. When someone cuts in front of you in line, loses it when someone else grabbed the last item on sale, snarls about wearing a mask, or in general is just a jerk … pause. Take a deep breath. Turn to wonder. "I wonder why they are so stressed/triggered/reactive/_______ (fill in the blank)? I wonder what might’ve happened to them that this is the best they can do right now? Can I find it in me to wish them well, maybe make their day a little brighter with a smile (or just not saying something snarky)? Try it. Notice how it makes you feel.

Self care is more important than ever. Staying calm and centered is a good way to enjoy the holidays and really show up for yourself and others, without getting drained or frazzled. I'm here to help with that!

Here's a gift for you - an opportunity to connect, soothe your nervous system, and feel deep presence .... to be more resourced for whatever else the season is bringing you. If you’ve done a session with me, you’ve learned some of these tools already - mindful breathing, self soothing with rocking and self touch, noticing, awakening the hands, accessing pleasure as a resource.

I'd love to see you and spend time together. Wednesday evenings, 7-7:45 pm Eastern on December 15 and 22. By donation, whatever feels right.

And if you'd like more personal support, please reach out! I'm here for you.

For right now, here is a video, with some mindful breathing and grounding, to soothe your nervous system and help you feel centered, grounded and relaxed. I hope this is helpful to you. You can do it by yourself or share it with friends over the phone or internet. (and please join my YouTube channel! I plan to post more videos here in the new year).

Fond wishes for presence, gratitude, pleasure and safety this holiday season.

Blessings and love,


Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

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