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My Top 10 Sacred Self-Care Tips for the Holiday Season

Mental Health | 1 comment

Happy December!

Is it really? For some of you, that’s true and for some, not so much. So how can you move through this holiday season if you’re grieving lost loved ones, or you don’t have a lot of family or much money to spend, or if you’re hurting in some way, or just too busy and overwhelmed to enjoy it all?

Plus if you’re in certain parts of the Northern hemisphere, your sunlight exposure has probably just gone down drastically. I know it has here, because my solar powered keyboard just warned me that it needs more light for the first time since last winter! Less natural light affects us all, as does the colder weather.

Since this holiday season is already painful for me, with my son gone and his murder still under investigation, I wanted to offer you the same medicine that I’ll be taking, stuff I know works for me and many of my clients, so here goes…

1. Breathe into your belly. It takes you out of anxiety-land, where all your laundry lists of things you have to get done live, along with all that internalized self-doubt and fear. Breathing into your belly helps you to access the truth you want to speak in a conversation too. If you want a deeper version of this breath, that also creates more confidence right in the moment, and helps you to find your voice, sign up here for my free Find Your Voice Gift Pack.

2. Play your favourite music. I don’t care what kind of music it is, uplifting, hard core heavy metal, 80’s music (my favourite), pow wow music, country music, whatever it is… PLAY IT A LOT for your own sanity. What you will find is, your body will respond by moving a little to the beat or maybe you’ll start humming or singing along, or you’ll just notice you’re sitting up a bit straighter. Music is big medicine.

3. Schedule downtime, me time and playtime into your calendar. They might all be the same for you but I know for me, I need downtime where I allow myself to just do nothing and be by myself. Sometimes “me time” is the same, but sometimes my me time includes playtime, a massage, or something more active than my downtime. Playtime could be by yourself, with your pets, or with other people. If you’re not playing, please start! I had left playtime completely off my agenda for years, and then in 2013 I hired a personal mentor who gave me the job of going out for playtime to meet new people. It opened up something in me, built my confidence, helped me release stress, and yes, I now have the coolest, most supportive circle of friends that I did NOT have before! Plus it’s just FUN!

4. You did read that I said SCHEDULE your downtime, me time and playtime, right? Not just a whimsical yeah sure I’ll get to that when I have the time but get it in there NOW. You can’t give from an empty vessel. Plus, if you schedule yourself in, your self-love meter jumps up, and it’s easier to create boundaries when you get those added holiday responsibilities thrown your way. You don’t have to say yes when you feel like saying no. Of course you’re going to have to do some things to create fun times and a great life for yourself, but I’m talking about those energy-draining people and tasks that take you out of alignment and into people-pleasing. Don’t do it. Love yourself enough to say no when you want or need to. By the way, this doesn’t mean being completely inflexible with your schedule. It means honouring yourself. If you need to play with your schedule and move things around, do it, just with honouring yourself in mind.

5. Set up your energetic boundaries BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE, or even before you pick up the phone. Smudge with sage or cedar, visualize a reverse mirror surrounding you that blocks out negative energy and allows in what feels good and aligned with you.

6. Set your intentions when you go out or have people over at your place. What do you want out of a visit or a shopping experience? Once I set my intentions, my shopping experience becomes pleasant instead of being a nightmare. Once when I set my intentions and energetic boundaries and then went Christmas shopping at the last minute like the day before Christmas Eve, there were hardly any people at the store, I found everything I wanted at a great price, and I felt so relieved and was out of the store in less than an hour.

7. Listen to and honour your body. If you have physical or emotional pain, take appropriate measures in order to get through it. If you’re hosting a party and you need a break, find a way to take one. I only work about half as much as I did before I lost my son. During the holidays, I usually didn’t take that much time off from my business, but this year I will. My body tells me when I need a break, and I’ve gotten pretty good at listening. Every now and then when something “has to get done,” I can go back into a pattern of doing too much, so I keep reminding myself to check in with my body. Check in, instead of checking out.

8. Get whatever support you need. You’ve heard me mention support more than once here and that is because as independent and stubborn as I am after years of being a single mother, I know that sometimes I need help. There is no shame in asking for help. If I were meant to do it all alone, none of you would exist – it would be just me on this planet all by myself. Remember that. We are all here because we all have our unique gifts and ways to help each other. What does support mean? It might mean going to the doctor, getting a ride somewhere, delegating tasks to an assistant or family member, or hiring a mentor or going to a workshop or reading a book or all of those things and more. Get what you need. You deserve it.

9. Be resourceful. There is ALWAYS a way through whatever you’re going through. Sometimes you might need to look in different places for it, ask for help, or pay attention in different ways to find it.

10. Do things that bring a smile to your face. Do what lights you up. I’m constantly telling my oracle reading and mentoring clients this because it is so super important! Doing what you love will energize and uplift you. If you love wrapping presents, offer to do it for someone else too. Really savour the experience. If you love baking, do that. If you cringe at the idea of going to that company holiday party, don’t go, or find a way to do some things you love as part of your party experience. Remember, there is always a way through.

Love & Blessings,

Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman



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1 Comment

  1. Debi

    Thank you so much for these ideas … and great ones they are. Going to use some of them this weekend when we take my granddaughter to see Santa at the store. And definitely going to put more of them into practice on a regular basis.


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About Brenda MacIntyre

About Brenda MacIntyre

Known by her indigenous name Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre has shared her evocative melodic voice and fusion of reggae, rap and indigenous hand drum healing music with appreciative audiences of 30 to 3,000 across North America. The Toronto-based Juno Award-winning singer has been featured nationally on MuchMusic, CTV, CP24, APTN and most recently, Global and the front page of the Toronto Star.

Powered by her grief from losing her son to murder in 2016, Brenda MacIntyre pours her soulful voice over a confluence of indigenous hand drum healing, soft rap and conscious roots reggae in her album “Picking Up the Pieces,” released in September 2019.

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