Hollydays 12 Days of Christmas Countdown
Join me with the Hollydays countdown calendar! 12 days of pure service and love leading right up to Christmas! I have created this list in a way in that almost all of them are free! I hope you are able to join us in this exciting Hollyday Countdown and really see how just 12 days of service can make such a huge difference in your life and the lives of others!
Day 1: Learn a new recipe and make a meal or desert for someone in need. Write down the recipe on a card and drop it off with the food! For more of a mystery – DON’T write who it’s from – keep it a secret and sign it as “someone who is thankful for/loves you.”
Day 2: Write 10 reasons why you are grateful for someone and give it to them along with another card of 10 things you love about you and give that card to yourself! 😉
Day 3: Reach out to someone totally new who you wouldn’t normally talk to and ask them how they are doing/tell them you’re thinking of them!
Day 4: Clean for someone you live with (make a bed, unload dishwasher, etc)
Day 5: Call a family member (uncle, aunt, cousin, grandparent, etc) and tell them how much you love them!
Day 6: Smile at 3 random people who look like they could use cheering up
Day 7: Write a letter to someone and list their best qualities
Day 8: Send a friend a video that has inspired you this holiday season (Bible video, Service video, etc.)
Day 9: Give 5 people a genuine compliment!
Day 10: Create a “love jar” for someone you love and put all the reasons you love them inside on small pieces of paper folded up (add a big red bow and write down qualities on red and green colored paper to add a little more holiday to it!)
Day 11: YOU decide! Offer your favorite service activity to someone you don’t know (open a door, pay for meal in front of you, etc.)
Day 12: Send one of your favorite scriptures or quotes to three people you think could need a friend this holiday season!
I’m so excited to start this countdown and encourage you to share your results with us! Merry Christmas – remember how incredible you are this Holiday season!
Boundaries – The Greatest Sign of Self Love & Respect
The first step to healthier relationships is to set and share boundaries. This may be boundaries ranging from “I can’t play at any soccer games on Sunday” or “I do not feel comfortable/safe talking to Jake because he is a bad influence so I will leave the room anytime he’s present in respects to myself.” Some of the time you don’t have to share your boundaries with the other person (like in the Jake example above). However, if you plan to still keep a relationship with the person it is crucial you communicate your boundaries. Over time, this will create real and meaningful connection – as you both share your wants, needs and feelings. This will also help validate both parties as you are being responsible for your own needs and supporting the other person to do the same.
So what are the steps?
- Clearly state your boundaries, including the specifics of your boundaries (what, when, how long, why, etc)
- Understand your feelings, needs, wants, and thoughts regarding what you need to feel safe and heard in the relationship.
- Be clear and direct in the specifics of your boundaries and be assertive so the person knows what you mean and that you will honor your boundary.
- Use “I” when establishing your boundary. Make sure your boundary is about you and not anyone else. Your boundaries are about you and your needs, not about controlling another person‘s feelings or behaviors.
- Clearly state outcome/consequences of the boundary not being honored and how are you will enforce the boundary
- Share your boundary with the person.
- The consequence of not honoring your boundary is something that you will or will not do – not what the other person will or will not do.
- Hold your center when your boundary is being tested (because it will be). Stay firm and strong and look for the help of other people to support you in holding your boundaries until you feel that you can hold them on your own.
- Let people know what you will think, feel and choose to do if your boundary is not honored/respected.
- Don’t set a boundary you are not going to follow through with
- If you make a boundary and don’t enforce it, that boundary will be another empty threat which will reinforce that you do not stand up for yourself.
Boundaries are tough, however, they give so much love to you and are incredibly necessary. I challenge you to use this three step method anytime you feel a need to place a boundary with someone – may it be big or small! Please reach out for any further questions regarding this topic.
Escaping The Noise
What does your escape look like? Is it going to a quiet spot and journaling? Maybe meditating for five minutes? In order to be able to truly connect with yourself you need to be able to create a connectable environment.
It can be uncomfortable to be still at times and often takes lots of practice until it feels somewhat normal…but if you keep at it, even just five minutes a day of stillness will lead you to a clearer mind and an open connection to yourself and others.
Some ways in which you can practice this stillness:
Guided Meditations: There are lots of great apps that will walk you through meditations – my favorite is the “Calm” app! This contains podcasts and meditations for any setting or topic you desire!
Become the Observer: Close your eyes and simply observe how your body is feeling. Start from your toes working all the way up to your head including as many details as possible.
Simply Breath: Focus on your breath by
-Breathing in for 4 seconds
-Holding for 7 seconds
-Exhaling for 8 seconds
Finding a quiet spot and connecting through some form of meditation every day can do a variety of things for your overall health as well including:
- Decreases inflammation in the body
- Improves immune function
- Increase longevity & reduce cellular stress
- Less anxiety
- Improves mood
- Better focus & attention
- Less cognitive decline
- More stable blood pressure
- Lower stress levels
I challenge you to spend at least five minutes every day this week finding your escape from the world. This stillness will lead you to feel a deeper connection with yourself and in return, others as well!
The Big Five
All of us need to practice self-love, but how do we begin? Below is a list to help you get started.
- Write it Out: Write down five new things you love about yourself every day and constantly repeat those characteristics to yourself at least three times a day. A tip for this is repeating them every time you sit down to eat a meal, as this is a usual occurrence three times a day. When you repeat them to yourself, really BELIEVE them to be true no matter what the adversary may be trying to tell you at the time. I also find it helpful to write it on the notes in your phone so you have them with you at all times.
- Make Time for You: Life can get busy and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in school and work. However, it’s incredibly important you take time to do something YOU love every single day. For those of you with children feeling as though this is selfish, it’s actually the opposite. Your children will take note as they follow your example and grow to do the same acts of self-care for themselves. No matter how busy your life may be, it is always possible to carve out a little time each day for you – it’s just whether you’re willing to make it work.
- Spirituality: Whether you are an active Christian or simply just trying to figure life out, it is crucial you look to a supreme being for guidance each and every day. This will help you get into the truth of the fact that you are sent to this earth for a purpose and therefore have tremendous worth. Seek ways to grow this relationship each and every day; this may include scripture study, prayer, church, etc.
- Get Physical: It is important to take care of yourself physically in some way every day. This can be as simple as five crunches to five miles of sprints. Whatever you feel like your body needs that day. This can totally tie into making time for yourself too if something you love to do is an active activity.
- Practice Truth: Practicing truth each day is essential to not only staying out of unnecessary drama, but also to keep yourself grounded so you are more able to focus on your needs. This can be as simple as replacing a distorted thought like “Sam is always awful to me” into a truth statement such as “Sam must be having a hard day and taking it out on people. I wonder what I can do to help her.” Showing kindness to others reflects kindness to ourselves and vice versa. It is crucial we show ourselves love by respecting and showing love to those around us.
This is a starter list to help you get going on your daily journey of self-love. You are more than welcome to add more topics if you feel necessary as well. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to me in the contact section if you have any questions or need further explanations! I challenge you to start this list today and by doing so you will begin to push yourself to become the best YOU starting with loving YOU!
Past the Weeds, Into the Beauty
Guilt is a gift; shame is toxic. Guilt helps you be able to recognize what you did wrong and remember it so you to not make that mistake again. Shame on the other hand, says statements such as “I am bad” or “who does this?” – statements in which beat yourself up. There is a distinct difference between the two but it can still be easy to mix up in the moment.
Shame portrays itself in two different ways: self-denigration and self-adulation. Self-denigration is an act of feeling like you don’t matter to yourself or anyone. An example of this includes: “I always mess up. I am the worst. I am a problem and am less than others.” Self-adulation is covering up your shame with pride and acting as though you are better than others. Examples of this include “I will never mess up. I am the best there is. I am always right and a gift to society.” It is human nature to sometimes stumble into these thinking patterns; maybe not as extreme as the examples, but still in the same family. Realizing you are in distortion is the first step, and getting yourself into the truth of the situation is the second.
Guilt is taking responsibility for your actions, WITHOUT beating yourself up about it. Guilt says things like “I messed up” or “I need help” or “I choose poorly.” You are analyzing your behavior, not your identity. Guilt is healthy and encourages change if you let it. Without guilt, we would continue to make the same mistakes. However, shame is absolutely unnecessary and is coming entirely from the adversary. I challenge you to stay in the truth of a situation when you find yourself becoming trapped in self-adulation or self-denigration. You can do this by simply remembering what the TRUTH is and remove that from what your pride or the adversary may try to tell you.