The Art of Being Compassionately Selfish (how I survive the holidays)


I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays.  

Although I enjoy celebrating with loved ones, the added activity to my already hectic schedule creates a pressure cooker of overwhelm, where I start to feel depleted and grumpy.  I’ve discovered many others feel the same.

Luckily there are ways to balance wanting to do all the things with all the people and keeping our sanity.

I call it the art of being compassionately selfish.  Although it may initially seem counter-intuitive  when we put our needs first, we are kinder, more generous and a lot more fun at parties.

Here are strategies I highly recommend:

  • Consistent alone time – Whether it’s for five minutes or an hour, give yourself time to just “be” every day. Let go of the to-do list and focus on your breath or a mantra like “let go” or “love.” Lock yourself in the bathroom if you have to.

  • Move your body – Go for a walk, dance like a fool, wrestle with your dog, have a good laugh. The activity doesn’t matter so much as just moving and having fun.

  • Allow yourself to be you – It’s OK to feel tired and grumpy, to not want to go to another party, or to feel sad or lonely during a time when most messages we receive demand we be chipper. Give yourself permission to experience life in your own, unique way.

When we are kind to ourselves and allow ourselves to show up to life exactly as we are, we give the people around us permission to do the same.  We connect more deeply with others because we’re being our authentic, sometimes messy selves.

Through those connections we’re able to enjoy the holidays a little more. So allow yourself to be selfish. It’s the best gift you could give anyone.

Jennifer Noble