Christmas of Hope 2020: Give the Gift of Self Care to a Friend

I know if you’re reading this blog that the words ‘selfcare’ will not be a mystery to you. You know that five or ten minutes out of a busy life to appreciate a well made cup of coffee, look at a tree, rub beautifully scented handcream gently into dishwasher hands can add grace and gratitude to a busy life.

Today, I’d ask you to think about someone else who might need that gift of self care. Perhaps another mother from your toddler group, a friend from bookclub, the next door neighbour whose year so far has been sickness and solitude with family far away.

Pack a small selfcare package for them. Think about them and what they might need or enjoy most. You’re not packing for an expedition here, just giving them a break or a rest from daily life. A few items to consider might be:

  • Handcream. The power of a hand massage cannot be overestimated, even if only given to oneself.
  • A few teabags or sachets of coffee or hot chocolate. How often do we use a cup of something hot as a pause in our busy lives? Include mini marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles with cocoa, as an extra detail.
  • A chocolate bar or a small packet of sweets.
  • A small notecard or postcard with a positive message on.
  • A notecard and envelope with a stamp on, for them to write their own letter to a friend or relative.
  • A book or magazine, possibly along their interests or to do with self care.
  • A small plant, a couple of bulbs or a packet of seeds. Taking care of plants, sowing seeds is an act of hope and an expression of faith in the future of the world.

Put it in a small bag or a large envelope and deliver it, either in person (following social distance guidelines, of course) or by post. If you want to make them smile, sign your card ‘From one of Santa’s Little Elfers’ and go unacknowledged. Release the selfcare fairy, and enjoy the feeling that helping others gives to you. Whether your recipient actually benefits from the package is not your responsibility: you have given them the bulb, it’s up to them to plant it.

Selfcare packages aren’t a new idea, of course. In 1994, Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote about establishing a comfort drawer in her fantastic book, Simple Abundance, with all the pleasures required for “the spoiling and pampering of a world-weary woman”. The world is still too much with us, even 26 years later, and a comfort drawer, basket or bag is still a good idea. Giving another person a small start, perhaps even including a photocopy of the entry for March 7th from Simple Abundance to inspire them in creating their own, larger comfort drawer is one way of spreading the love… taking a few minutes to assemble your own comfort basket of joy is another. Take a pause from Christmas preparations to look after yourself.

Daily Read: A Self Care Christmas series of 24 posts about caring for yourself at Christmas. I wrote this in 2017, but the information is still as useful now. Don’t read them all at once, keep coming back and reading one or two a day.

Daily Book: The Little Book of Self-Care by Suzy Reading. 30 simple rituals to lift your spirits. Although not a Christmas book, the rituals (using scent to boost mood, moving for positive energy) are totally applicable during a season when we need self care but often won’t take the time.

Self Care Act for Today: Did you treat your friend to a basket? Treat yourself! Assemble a bag, a basket or just a pouch of self care items. Include lip balm, a small book you know calms you, perhaps a cool crystal to hold when you feel frazzled or socks to keep toes warm. Keep it next to your chair and reach for it when life gets too much.

How to Hygge the British Way is my gift to the world. I don’t get paid for writing it, I’m not in it for the kudos, financial rewards, to become an influencer, work with brands or otherwise make any money from the blog. That’s why there are no ads, and any products I mention and recommend have either been gifted or bought by me with my everyday wages.

I do get a couple of pennies each time someone buys from the Amazon links on my page, as an Amazon Affiliate, but otherwise if you’d like to support me, I like to give something back in return. That’s why I write books. You can find a full list of my books at my Author’s Page on Amazon, but especially recommended for this time of year are:

A Self Care Christmas: A short ebook on keeping Christmas simple and making sure it doesn’t overwhelm.

Celebrating a Contagious Christmas: Available in ebook and paperback, it’s about making this year a festival of Hope.

Happier: Probably my most personal book, it’s the story of how I used hygge and the little things in life to help boost my happiness. I still go back and reread to remind myself what I need to do to be a happy human.

Cosy Happy Hygge: Setting up a rhythm to life and rituals to enjoy it to make for a more balanced life that handles waves and storms better.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, however we get to celebrate it this year, and a Happy, Healthy and Simple New Year.

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