When you carefully manage your mental health like I do, a change of routine can get everything out of balance. An older, wiser mother I know offered her best advice for enjoying the holidays–despite any stress or change of routine.
She said, “Keep your wits about you.”
In other words, do whatever it takes to keep yourself in balance. Even in the most rushed of days, I want to take time to exercise, sleep enough, eat healthy foods, and spend time in reflection and prayer. My doctor says that these activities recalibrate the brain to keep me from being “reactive.”
Imagine a snake that whips her head around and attacks with speed and ferocious power. When I’m reactive, I snap at family members and let the venom of a bad mood dominate my speech and actions.
Instead of reactive living, I want responsive living. I want to be at peace in my heart and gentle in my speech. I want to respond, not react. I want to be like a butterfly, carrying sweet nectar–not venom–within me.
So when I excuse myself from the holiday rush for a brisk walk, an early bedtime, or a moment to reflect and write a blog, I’m investing in my own balance.
I want to enter a room full of friends and family and be a blessing–alighting as a butterfly upon each dear soul. Let me offer beauty, let me delight you. But first, let me take a moment to keep my wits about me.
(Photos, “Indian Cobra,” courtesy of Kamalmv, Wikipedia, and “Monarch in May,” courtesy of Creative Commons)