Let’s face it, life can be difficult.
Holidays are amazing, but they can also be quite stressful, and sometimes they bring up emotions that we forgot even existed.
For me, personally, although things in my life have never been this stable, I had a difficult time with the holidays. I absolutely did my best to make everything “perfect” for my family and I truly enjoyed my time with the kids, my boyfriend, and his family (which, to be honest, I am incredibly blessed to be part of).
However, in my heart, I felt something was missing: my own family. Without getting into too much detail, I do not have a relationship with my family, and that has always been a source of pain for me.
From a young age, I have longed for a big, close family and I am envious of those who have that. That lack of family has brought me a deep sadness. Growing up was incredibly lonely.
That being said, I believe that family doesn’t have to be blood, and I have always looked for connections in many different places and, gratefully, I have found them through friends, coworkers, and other relationships. One thing is for certain: family can be created with the people you feel good around and who bring out the best in you.
However, this year, despite knowing I could make my family, I still felt a deep sadness and needed to explore where it was coming from. After so many years of therapy and acceptance, I needed to know what I was longing for at this stage of my recovery.
So, I set out to find some answers and I did my most favorite thing in the world: I started “coaching” myself. By doing this, I discovered that I needed to be kinder to myself during these times. Yes, scars fade—but they don’t disappear. I also realized that I needed to ramp up my self-care routine and start loving my inner child more. She needs me.
Right now, I am accepting myself for where I am in this process. I am grateful for these feelings because they are allowing me to learn more about myself, and I am even more grateful and excited to be able to work through this challenge and share my experience with you all.
In this process, I have created a self-care or self-love checklist. It is a good practice to check in with yourself so that you can see where you are and what you may need to work on. You should do this often.
I am super excited to share my experience with you and I hope that this little exercise is helpful to you as well.
So, break out your journal and let’s do some self-care work!
1) What are the three personality traits that you love the most about yourself? Explain them!
2) If your body had the ability to talk, what would it say?
3) What’s the best compliment anyone has ever given you? Is it true?
4) List at least five things you are good at!
5) Finish this sentence: I feel happiest when I’m _____.
6) Rate your mental stability by finishing this sentence: My mental health is _____ and I believe this is because _____.
7) Rate your physical health by finishing this sentence: My physical health is _____ and I believe this is because _____.
8) Who loves you the most? Describe them and what you love about them.
9) List 20 things that make you happy.
10) What are the things you can start doing today to take better care of yourself?
11) What negative things do you tell yourself? Do you believe them? What can you say instead?
12) What makes you unique?
13) List what makes you attractive.
14) Where do you feel the most safe and loved?
15) If you could back in time to when you were seven years old and then again at 16, what would you tell yourself?
Take your time when doing this exercise, but also go with your gut answers. It may sound counterintuitive, but it isn’t. Your first answer is usually the most accurate. If you take too much time to think about the answers, you risk overthinking and that is never a good thing.
My last piece of advice for the new year: enjoy life—it’s only 10 minutes long!