What a year we’ve had! Have you actually stopped to acknowledge all that you’ve done this year?
I was just reflecting about the beginning of lockdown and how that felt and all the uncertainty with children home from school and then back at school and sometimes home again.
And so many things up in the air.
Have you acknowledged how in difficult circumstances you’ve looked after your parents, taken care to be respectful to friends and family, all while navigating completely different, uncharted waters?
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I think it’s time that we give ourselves a pat on the back for staying with it – for carrying on with all the normal things, whilst taking on these rocky seas, as well.
I really encourage you to acknowledge yourself for that, and for keeping on steering your family in this way.
Right about now, you’re probably keeping on doing more of the same – working out how to adapt to a very different Christmas.
And that adaptation takes energy. There may be feelings there that want to be acknowledged. And so, I encourage you to step away from the busyness and consider the following:
First of all, rest and replenish where you can
I have two go-to things for resting and replenishing.
The first is walking. I went for a wonderful walk yesterday after a very busy weekend. My to-do list was really long, but I decided I needed to go for that walk just to feel okay. And it was wonderful – I felt so amazing afterwards.
The other, that I absolutely recommend, is Epsom salt baths. I love how they make me feel, and I go to sleep feeling all cosy and cuddly and warm.
It’s just so valuable to make space for these things – to nourish ourselves.
The other vital nourishment is to make space for being curious about how we’re actually feeling about things. There can so often, when life is intense, be a build-up of feelings.
For example, there’ll be times when you may feel as if you’re about to cry, any minute. I had a period a couple of weeks ago just like that.
At those times, I like to use a playlist that I have, called Tear Jerkers, so that I can let out some of those feelings. You may have something similar. But it makes such a difference when those feelings can be expressed.
Secondly, here are some hacks for your festive season to-do list
Even if you haven’t written it down, there’s probably a to-do list in your mind somewhere, stored away.
Here are a couple of ways to approach that list.
The first question is not just, what do I need to do, but how do I want to feel this Christmas?
- If you want to feel calm, what do you need to do in order to feel calm?
- What conversation do you need to have with someone in order to feel calm? What could you do before Christmas?
- If you want to feel joyful, what could you do before Christmas to help yourself feel joyful?
The second question is, what do I not need to do?
I’ve simplified my Christmas over the years – there aren’t too many unnecessary things – but this year, because I’m going to be in a new house, I’ve told myself that I don’t need to have the whole house tidy and perfect. I just want to have one room nice. So there are plenty of things that I’m not going to do, like unpack every box, but for you it might be something like asking yourself if you really need to send Christmas cards, for example.
Or there might be another thing that you normally do every year that this year is just too much!
Give yourself permission to re-evaluate and make adjustments so that you can take care of yourself, because when you take care of yourself, your children will appreciate it. They will benefit, and everyone will have a happy festive season.
Lastly, here’s a suggestion for a bit of fun with the children
You can ask them what they would like to do at certain points, or how they might like to do this or that aspect of your Christmas.
I can imagine that could unleash some long, long lists of fantastical things, but just write them all down; be interested, be appreciative. You may find some seeds in there, or things that are important to your children, that you can then take into Christmas.
A lot of the difficult behaviour in our families comes from children not feeling heard. So this is a wonderful opportunity to help children feel heard and also to get some new ideas. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything they say, just write it down and be inspired.
You may find you get some new, wonderful and wacky ideas, and that your children’s priorities are different to yours.
Perhaps you’ll find that resting and replenishing, paying attention to your feelings, not doing things you don’t need to do, and asking the children what they think, maybe these will help bring you the calm that you and we all need, particularly this year.
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