Michelle Elman's advice on how to show up for yourself

Michelle Elman
By Michelle Elman,
updated on Dec 13, 2023

Michelle Elman's advice on how to show up for yourself

With winter on the way, and the social season in full swing, it can be easy to let yourself burn the candle at both ends. But, columnist Michelle Elman is here to highlight the ways you can schedule some vital self-care and listen to what your body needs, so you don’t lose your own sparkle along the way…

As the end of the year approaches, there always seems to be a last push to get to the end. Whether it’s simply running out of energy, exhaustion setting in, getting ready for Christmas that is stressing you out, or simply the cold and wet weather getting you down, there is never a better time to put yourself first, and make sure you are taking care of yourself.

December is stereotypically the month where your calendar is packed full of events, so before the month arrives, schedule some time in your diary for quiet nights in, or a weekend packed full of relaxation and restoration. Keep those dates in your diary as if they were a meeting with someone else, so if you wouldn’t bail on plans with a friend last-minute, don’t bail on plans with yourself! Doing this ahead of time and keeping sections of time to yourself will make sure you have more fuel in the tank for when party season hits, and who knows? You might enjoy your alone time so much that the fresh memory of nights in means you might say no to a thing or two.

This brings me on to the next step of showing up for yourself. We think that if our diary is busy, we will automatically be exhausted and, actually, it is much less about how many events we go to (within reason!) and much more about which events we are going to. If we are going to events full of people who judge us, and fire unsolicited opinions at us, that will consume a lot more energy than being around loved ones who are kind and supportive. Being in a room full of people who know and understand you can even give you energy, as the feelings of love and connection can fuel you, provide you with healthy attention and companionship, and relax your mind. When you are in the opposite kind of room though, do not be surprised if you are still exhausted long after the event is over. Therefore, show up for yourself by declining invitations that you know you will be dreading on the day. Of course, do it with the proper etiquette, and let the host know – you don’t need to give a reason, a simple ‘Thank you for the invite, but unfortunately I am unavailable’ will suffice, and future you will thank you for reserving your time and energy for the people who deserve it.

We all have limits, whether we like them or not. With the cold weather approaching, and the likelihood that all of us are ready for a holiday, feeling run down can be common. As a society, we often have a mentality that we should push through no matter what, but if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that when you are ill, that’s your sign to stop, slow down, and honour your body.

I follow the ethos that if you don’t listen to your body when it whispers, it will scream – but that isn’t the reason you should listen to your body. The reason you should listen is because it is one of the best ways to show up for yourself. It is saying that how you feel is more important than what other people need, whether that’s you showing up at an event or replying to an email. Your body is already doing its best to try to get you back to full health, and so do your body a favour and help it out by allowing it to rest. If that won’t stop you though, remember that you are no good to anyone when you are under the weather!

Before the year is up, you can also take the opportunity to reflect upon the year as it comes to a close. What did you want to achieve this year? How did it work out instead? Was there something that happened that you didn’t foresee? How have you grown? Let’s not count the year out before it’s actually over, so with the last month ahead of us, focus your mind on one or two goals you want to achieve before the new year rolls around. Keep them manageable and achievable, that way, you can end the year on a high!

If goals aren’t your thing, one of my favourite things to do this year is to pick a word. I have actually been doing it weekly, but you might want to try it out for the next month. Your word could be ‘calm’ if December tends to be a hectic month, or perhaps ‘patience’ if you are already willing it to be 2024. This ‘one word’ activity is a brilliant way to set your intentions, and I’ve been personally seeing the benefits in my own life!

Love Michelle x

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Michelle Elman

By Michelle Elman

Michelle Elman is a five-board accredited life coach, most known for her campaign ‘Scarred Not Scared’. Her new book, ‘The Joy of Being Selfish’, is published by Welbeck in February.

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