‘Tis The Season To Practise Self-Care

Esther Kuku writes that we should use this Christmas and New Year season to rest, laugh, enjoy time with family and friends, and focus on self-care and mental well-being

It’s the Christmas holidays and time for some rest and renewal. You’ve worked hard; it’s been a tough year for many, but now it’s time to laugh, love and have fun. Intentional downtime to rest and prioritise self-care will make you more alert, focused and creative when you return to the office. 

Frankly speaking, rest makes us all better people who are more fun to be around! 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have leaned into the important things in life and considering the bigger picture. Self-care isn’t selfish, and relaxation isn’t lazy. Christmas reminds us of what’s important, and nothing is more vital than our health and well-being. Therefore, we must remain in the present; focus on what we can control; and stay positive. Crucially, don’t worry. Be kind to yourself and appreciate who you are.  

The Word of God has a lot to say when it comes to focusing on the positive and not the negative. Three of my favourite Scriptures that remind me we can choose to set our minds on God’s best are:

Hebrews 12:2 — ‘Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.’

Colossians 3:2 — ‘Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.’

Philippians 4:8 — ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.’

Determine what is your responsibility and what isn’t and look for opportunities to laugh more during this festive period. We owe it to ourselves to do this; the last few years have been so intense. We deserve to laugh more, looking serious all the time isn’t spiritual! Sometimes you see Christians in church looking so straight-faced. Make sure you spend this Christmas hanging around funny encouraging people.

The Word of God says: ‘A happy heart is good medicine, and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones’ (Proverbs 17:22). Always remember, ‘the joy of the Lord is your strength’ (Nehemiah 8:10).

The great thing about Christmas is that it is known as the season of giving. Even though, as Christians, generosity is something that should be second nature to us, we can ramp up kindness at this time of year. Why? Because often, when we focus on other people’s needs, it prevents us from thinking about ourselves, so cultivate a mindful approach to the holiday season.

When spending time with your friends and family, wherever possible, look for people who may be spending Christmas on their own. Check on neighbours and spread some good cheer. Christmas is a catalyst that can fuel isolation and loneliness, and this time of year can genuinely be tricky for some — especially those who have lost loved ones in 2022 — and it will be incredibly hard. We may not always have the words, but just turning up on someone’s doorstep could make a world of difference to their day.

Recently, someone in our neighbourhood died suddenly; it was a shock. I went to the family’s home and mustered up some words…and put a small financial gift in an envelope for them. It was a five-minute visit that let them know they are not alone.  To the best of my knowledge, they’re not a Christian family, but in that moment, we showed them Jesus.

Be the hands and feet of Jesus this Christmas. In her book, Overload, Joyce Meyer says:

The moment we put the needs of another ahead of our own, stress begins to fade away. It’s nearly impossible to bless somebody else and worry about yourself at the same time.

Finally, please don’t stress about anything. When God is in control, stress has no place. Christmas is not about material things; I’ve been telling my children for the last few months: “You are getting one gift each and that is it,” because it’s not about acquiring ‘things’ and they need to understand that. This time of year is about family, friends and togetherness — nothing else.  And one last thing: family are those you can be the true version of yourself with.

So, kick back, relax, recharge and determine in 2023 to submit every decision in your life to God. Live in peace and schedule in time every month to be kind to yourself.

Merry Christmas 

Esther Kuku is a journalist and communications director 

twitter @mews36

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