Retire Your Cape, Mrs. Claus: How To Enjoy The Holidays Without Overextending Yourself

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templeindigo.com

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Photo by Bethelhem Temesgen

As Black women, we’ve long been superheroes. We raise our children while trailblazing in the workplace, starting our own businesses and becoming the firsts to fulfill positions. We carry our loads while helping others carry theirs. All of this is a testament to our strength and yet we find ourselves battling with feeling like we need to do it all – all the time. Sometimes we need a break and, in those moments, we need to know that we’re supported.This support is particularly critical during the holiday season. Family is everything and it’s in spending time and sharing meals with them that we grow closer and learn to appreciate one another. And it’s especially important, in times like these, that we remind ourselves and the people around us that Black women don’t need to be superheroes to be worthy of love or celebration. This year we’re retiring our capes and enjoying the holidays without overextending ourselves. Here are some ways to combat falling (back) into the superhero trope. 

Celebrating the holidays can feel like a bit of a marathon. It’s the end of the year and we’ve been looking forward to enjoying time off whether it’s spent alone, with family and/or friends. Still, there’s no need to cave under the pressure of performance. (Here’s what—says about superhero syndrome during the holidays.) In her article, “Put Down Your Cape: Solving The Black Superwoman Syndrome”,  clinical psychologist, author & entrepreneur Jazz Keyes said that we should start with giving ourselves the love that we extend to others. “…we are trained to believe that noble women sacrifice it all for others. While there is beauty in giving yourself to charity, at no point should you relinquish so much of who you are to others to the point where you are depleted.” (Keyes, 2017) Making it through the year can be depleting on its own. Even if we enjoy our careers, how and with whom we spend our time, we also need time to restore.

Restoring during the holidays may sound like a foreign concept especially when there are certain traditions that you want to uphold. From decorating and buying gifts to cooking and caroling, all of these activities can be that much more fun and memorable if we share them with the people that we love. Reminder: asking for help is not a sign of weakness and surrounding yourself with people who will offer help is just as critical. The holidays are all about the long game – figuring out how to maintain your spiritual, emotional and physical stamina will be the difference between whether or not you’ll enjoy them. Making time for yourself, in the form of self-care, will be key. What can you do to restore and recharge, you ask? Look no further than our list of black woman-owned companies that are keeping you cozy this winter. (<— Will link this article once it’s published)

However you decide to retire your cape – whether that’s distributing tasks or taking time for yourself at the start of the day – make sure you do just that! If you need to get started on tasks earlier do that there’s less concern about finishing in time, do that! Our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, through sweat and sometimes tears, provided us with some of our most cherished memories of the holidays. The dishes they cooked, the traditions they kept, the stories they told and the gifts they gave all laid the foundation for how we feel about this time of year. We’re eternally grateful to them for loving us so much and making all of that happen. And it’s for them, ourselves and the generations after us that we set this precedent. From here on out, we will take care of ourselves like we take care of others and know that whether we’re working hard or relaxing – we’re valuable, deserving of love and celebration. Happy Holidays to Black women everywhere!

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