In the midst of a hectic holiday season, we often find time to give to others. It is more than common to take time to buy a gift for the local angel tree, serve food for the less fortunate at a shelter, or buy the iPhone for the relative that has been talking about getting one for last four months. Because we get into the holiday spirit, we tend to give more during this time of the year than any other.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” I agree. By giving to others, we are giving to ourselves. We are recharging our internal batteries.

I also think we need to be more deliberate about how we give to ourselves. Our productivity plummets when our batteries have little juice left. Our ability to be loving spouses, engaged employees, and good friends all suffer. Consider a few of these strategies to keep your batteries charged.

  1. Eat Healthy. Excessive caffeine and sugar intake will keep you going for short periods of time. But, the crash after the high will only make you tired…or craving more of the stimulant. By eating a balanced diet full of grains, vegetables, and fruits, you will be helping your body maintain health and strength for extended periods of time.
  2. Make time for exercise. Although under-appreciated in our society, exercise is a great strategy to find balance in your life. A brisk walk, a 30-minute run, or an hour at the gym will help to increase your metabolism, reduces toxins in your body, and reduces anxiety. Making this a standard part of your weekly schedule will charge your battery and give you the stamina you need to give back.
  3. Do something you love. Do you enjoy reading a great book? Get a thrill out of watching a theatrical performance? Are you an avid hiker? Regardless of what motivates and recharges you, deliberately schedule time to do those things. We tend to think that we don’t have the time, or can’t make the time, but the reality is that the unfinished task will still be there tomorrow.
  4. Learn to say “No”. I have struggled with this for years myself. My nature is to give – of my time, of my talent, and of my treasure. I, too, made the mistake of saying “yes” to everything. The result? A depleted me. You do not have to say yes to everything. Say “no” and do so guilt free. It’ll provide the relief needed to increase your balance.
  5. Connect with a coach or mentor. To know that there is someone supporting you through the roller coaster of life is a wonderful feeling. Every time that my energy dropped, I reached out to my mentors and worked through an issue with them. Here is a brief video about my mentors and how they helped me on my journey: Coach and Mentor Teachings.

This holiday season, I encourage you to give as much as you possibly can to others. But don’t forget to take care of your health, do something your passionate about, say “no” when needed, and connect with a trusted mentor to recharge your batteries. By finding ways to give to yourself this holiday season, you are ensuring that you are the best you can be for those who rely on you. Happy Holidays!