Why Spiritual Health Matters Over the Holidays
The December holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s almost the end of 2020, an unusual and difficult year. After eight challenging months, now is the perfect time to relax, enjoy time with family, and reconnect to what matters. Regardless of what you celebrate (if you celebrate at all), this season is a wonderful opportunity to improve your spiritual health. If you’re not even slightly religious, keep reading anyway—spiritual health is for everyone! Here, I’ll tell you a little more about what it is, what kinds of habits improve it, and how you can share your joy.
- What is Spiritual Health?
- Improving Spiritual Wellness and Your Sense of Purpose
- This Season, Share What Brings You Joy
What is Spiritual Health?
You may be wondering: just what is spiritual wellness? It’s not simply remembering to say your prayers before you fall asleep, although it may involve that for many people. Spiritual health means taking good care of your spirit, your soul—whatever you want to call that unique energy that makes you who you are. It’s the part of you that has big hopes and dreams, as well as a sense of purpose in life.
For some, maintaining spiritual wellness means belonging to a religious community and attending services at a house of worship. Others prefer to keep their spiritual beliefs completely private or share them with just a few close friends. There’s no right or wrong way to take care of your spiritual health. If a particular practice works for you, then it’s the perfect way for you to maintain your spiritual health.
Improving Spiritual Health and Your Sense of Purpose
What are some ways to improve your spiritual health and keep it in a good place? Check out some of my favorite ways to find that balance.
Learn to Meditate
Few practices are better for your inner self than mindfulness meditation, especially when practiced every day. It’s a chance to clear your head of all the extraneous noise from your day and recenter yourself. If you’re not sure how to meditate, check out this great primer from Cornell Health. You can also download an app like Calm, which offers guided meditations and soothing “soundscapes,” for a free trial.
Write in a Journal
Daily journaling is another wonderful way to stay in touch with your beliefs, dreams, hopes, and goals. It is a tangible record of your journey toward spiritual health. Set aside just ten to twenty minutes each morning or evening for writing—or take as much time as you like! You can ask yourself the big questions, like “What is life’s purpose?” and “Where do I see myself in ten years?” Or you can just write about your day: what made you happy, what inspired you, what you achieved. There are no right or wrong ways to journal.
Do you write better when you use prompts? Check out these 15 Journaling Prompts to Explore Your Spiritual Side from Becoming Who You Are. If there’s a question that bugs you, simply skip it! Remember, this is not a term paper oe exam—it’s just for you.
There’s no surer way to improve your spiritual wellness than feeling gratitude for all the wonderful people and things in your life. Being thankful can help to improve your self-esteem and reduce the impact of negative feelings like envy and resentment. Practicing gratitude can help you to sleep better, and it plays a key role in nurturing relationships you value. And these are just a few examples of its many proven benefits. It’s amazing what a little appreciation for your many blessings will do for you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
So this season, say “thank you.” Thank your loved ones for their beautiful holiday cards and generous gifts. Thank the people at work who make your job a little easier and a lot more rewarding. Thank your friends for all those post-work happy hours and late-night texts. And, before you close your eyes at night, take a minute to think about everything you feel thankful for.
Engage in Simple Self-Care Rituals to Boost Spiritual Health
When we’re expected to be productive all the time, it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that self-care is an indulgence. Self-care requires time and (sometimes) money, and practicing it can feel frivolous. This season, make a commitment to ditching that mindset, because self-care isn’t selfish. It’s as important for your health as a balanced diet, frequent exercise, and adequate sleep.
Taking time for yourself can help you feel more relaxed and less stressed and anxious. So do whatever makes you feel happy! Go for a long walk in the fresh air and listen to your favorite music. Come home and take a hot shower or sit in a relaxing bubble bath. Burn scented candles or diffuse essential oils with fragrances you love, like lavender or rose. Binge-watch a TV show from the ‘90s that makes you laugh, or read a favorite book for the third time. Again, it’s all up to you. Whatever helps you quiet your mind and return to center is the right self-care ritual for you.
This Season, Share What Brings You Joy
Now you know how looking after your spiritual wellness is a crucial part of leading a healthy life. This holiday season, share everything you’ve learned with the people around you. If you’ve been looking for gift ideas, you might consider sharing some of your favorite self-care items with family and friends. If you’re enjoying your daily journaling, for example, you might wrap up a similar journal for your best friend. Loving that pumpkin spice candle you burn while you’re writing? Grab one for your mom’s kitchen. Write a little note about why you love the item so much and how you think they will, too.
Above all, spiritual wellness helps you pause the hustle and bustle of daily life and remember what (and who) matters. This season, spend some time reconnecting to what’s truly important to you. You’ll be calm, thankful, and ready to take on the new year, even if it brings more challenges. Giving attention to your spiritual health will help you to take each day as it comes.
Have a beautiful holiday season, and stay well!
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