Our Best Intentions

You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” – Beverly Sills

When someone is going through trauma, I often say, “Take care of yourself during this traumatic time.” I wrote a blog post on this topic here. But what about good times, such as preparing for the holidays? This can be stressful too. I overdid things this past Advent and forgot my own advice about self-care.

Advent wreath for blog on our best intentions

My intentions were good. I wanted to prepare spiritually for Christmas by following an Advent program, and I wanted to make Christmas a fun time for family, friends, and myself. Advent was short this year and life got in the way, so I only did about a third of the spiritual prep I’d planned.

My husband and I hosted two events for Christmas, one on December 22 and one on Christmas Day. We also made sixty cheese blintzes for a family party on Christmas Eve. Add in two church services and my worry about a health issue with my husband, and that was a hectic week during a very busy month. I’m glad we hosted the two events, because they were a lot of fun. But I didn’t run, walk, go to the arboretum, or write in my journal. And I overate, especially sweets.

By the time evening rolled around on Christmas Day, I had a headache and was exhausted. I could not seem to stop myself from being irritable and impatient. That is not how I wanted to be. My best intentions had gone awry.

On the day after Christmas, I took time to reflect on the holiday. I was relieved it was over, instead of feeling joyful, which is how I’d intended to feel after Christmas. Clearly, I had overdone preparations. I tried to do a lot ahead of time (like baking cookies and freezing them), but I made way too many cookies. We had many leftovers after both events, even after sending food home with our guests. I believe in eating in moderation, and this blog encourages healthy eating. So what was I thinking when I make five kinds of cookies, along with other desserts? I did have help at both dinners, but I overdid my part. Next year, I will keep it simpler.

This taught me how critical self-care is even during good times. In hindsight, I need to pay attention to what I’m doing and what I’m eating, even when I’m busy. I need to relax and get fresh air. And I need to do that spiritual preparation. In future, I need to get exercise even, or especially, when I’m busy. Yes, even during Christmas week.

happy new year 2018

I then took some quiet time to think about the new year and how I want it to be. For 2017, I had picked a “one word” to focus on, and I set resolutions. It is ironic that my “one word” was self-care. I don’t regret picking that to focus on. Even though I lost track of it by December, I had some success. My weight stayed stable this year, and I ran a half-marathon race. Except for December, I walked and ran frequently. Also I succeeded at some of my New Year’s resolutions. For example, “Take fun vacations and be fit enough to enjoy them fully.”

Even when we fail at our intentions, it is worth setting them. We will succeed at some, and we can learn from others. If we fail, we can apologize to ourselves and to others and move on, resolving to do better next time.

I wish for you a happy, healthy, and rewarding New Year!

What do you intend to make happen in 2018? How will you make 2018 a great year?


About Susan Ekins

Freelance writer and blogger at Women Making Strides. Interested in personal leadership and empowerment. Wanting inspiration and to inspire. Leader in church ministries. Blog: http://www.WomenMakingStrides.com/ Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/WomenMakingStrides1
This entry was posted in Holidays, Intentional Living, self-care and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Our Best Intentions

  1. Sarah says:

    As usual, Sue, I enjoyed your blog post. Very well put. This year may well have been one of the best holiday seasons I’ve ever had for various reasons but including that I didn’t get sick and that I didn’t schedule one single concert for myself or my students. It was also in part due to the fact that David and I agree so wholly on how to celebrate…we both (very much) prefer simple, simple, simple so there is no pressure from him to do things a certain way! However, with that said, I still found myself exhausted for several days after Christmas and needing to rest an awful lot in order to avoid getting sick. And I just felt too drained to bother cooking anything fancy for New Year’s Eve dinner. The good news is that for the first time in a long time (possibly even ever as an adult, at least) is that I DID keep the joyful feeling through the New Year. (It helps that today is our one year anniversary so we have good reason to feel joyful!) It’s so pleasant to still have that feeling (as it should be!) that your post has brought to the forefront that I’d like it to be this way every year. I’ll have to make that one of my Christmas season goals each year.

    Happy New Year, Sue! I look forward to more of your posts this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aww! I feel bad that you worked so hard to enjoy the holidays and it ended on a rough note. But I’m glad that you realized it and it gave yourself a renewed focus on self-care. That is one thing that as a mother of 4 that I really struggle with. But when I do step back, take that long hot bath, get some exercise in, or a massage…my spirit and attitude really improve. Best wishes for 2017, and I’ll be looking more for your blog. I really enjoyed your post today. ~ Johanna

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this post, Sue, and a very happy new year to you. Right now I am taking a little time for myself, quiet moments and lots of sleep after a rather rough year and looking forward to warmer temperatures so I can resume my walks in nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan Ekins says:

      Penny, I’m glad you are taking the time you need to process a rough year, especially given your recent loss. I hope we get a break in the weather, because like you, I find walks in nature can be soothing. I hope you are able to get some peace soon and enjoy your grandchildren and your usual joys.


  4. Estela Hammond says:

    Thanks for this post. I found out that I did what I could handle and really enjoyed Christmas with my family. I too, was tired afterwards and maybe other commitments didn’t get done, but I am happy to have spent time with granddaughters.

    Liked by 1 person

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