I will struggle to write this post, I know. You see, at the back of my happy and peaceful immediate, nuclear family there is a wider and far less peaceful extended family. Where my personal home is calm, happy and full of the joys of the season, there’s a rift in the extended family caused by a difference in belief. And I don’t think that’s going to be an easy fix. I’m not alone, though, because one in five families in the UK are affected by some kind of split.
The Fourth Sunday in Advent is dedicated to peace. Peace is such an integral part of smooth and happy living. It’s an important part of hygge, too, because the ability to lay aside conflict and meet together in peace is part of being able to create and foster a hyggely atmosphere. External conflict between people or internal conflict within yourself make very little difference if the result is that you cannot find peace and settle to rest when the time is right. Being able to find a moment of calm in the maelstrom of life, whether the squalls are actual or virtual, is a great blessing. So how do you do that?
Well, the strongest sense of peace is found within. In many religions it’s found within periods of communion with a deity: spending time resting in their love, speaking to them, listening for their guidance. In prayer, in other words. For those with no firm beliefs or a religion that has left them behind, the same or similar experience can be found in meditation. Indeed, prayer is essentially meditation done but using a Holy Figure as a focus. Whichever, taking the time to sit aside from all life and free from all distractions and resting in the presence of peace can be a great source of contentment, and contentment leads to peace in our everyday life. Setting your life up physically and emotionally to boost your inner peace whenever you need it can be useful and, even though this is the last Sunday before Christmas, if you can take the next small step towards building a life that boost peace, you will benefit. Here, then, are my top steps towards peace.
- Set boundaries and expect them to be observed. You owe nothing to nobody, except that which you feel you want to give. That includes your time, your mental consideration and any practical or physical support you’re asked for. You deserve time to yourself, and you are perfectly entitled to find a way to get it. (mothers here may need to consult with partners or friends to negotiate time for each of you to find peace).
- Find a way to avoid or eliminate toxic people from your life. This may be temporary or permanent, only you will know. Avoid people who make you feel unworthy, insignificant or in the way, even if their mouths speak fair words. And be warned: this is a hard one to do with family members because of the shared history. Persevere, and you will gain the space and self-respect you need.
- Create a home that nurtures you. Keep the house clear of excess clutter, fill it with items that spark joy and throw away or donate the items that don’t. Use colour wisely, and choose the colours that speak to you whether that’s the deep shades of marine blue or shades of white and cream. And create cosy corners and spaces where people (including you) can go off to be alone and think, read or pray.
- Either get out into nature, or bring nature in to you. I like walking in woods or fields, even when the leaves are gone and the sky is permanently silver tinged, and even when there’s a light drizzle of rain. I treated myself to a new waterproof this year, since my old one had begun to leave red lines on my wrists. A walk in the rain can be a great aid to clearing the head. You can also bring nature inside by making sure you have plants in the house to take care of, or using natural materials in your decorating.
- Practise acceptance. What you can change, change…. but if you cannot change a thing then you either have to accept it or walk away. Accepting it is not necessarily a permanent state of affairs, but can be a thinking space before your next step to peace.
Daily Read: Finding Inner Peace in a Crazy World. Ten simple-sounding actions to help you find your inner peace and keep it whatever the world throws at you.
Daily Book: The Little Book of Inner Peace by Ashley Davis Bush. A concise but full book with all sorts of ways of creating, accessing and entering inner peace. It includes ideas using music, movement and yogic practises.
Self-Care Act for the Day: Turn off anything electrical… computer, phone, TV, radio… and put them aside for the day, the afternoon or even just an hour. Spend some time with the voices inside your head, just sitting and letting the thoughts float past. Don’t try to follow them, just acknowledge and let them go, and then take yourself for a walk to somewhere outside. Of course, in the Northern hemisphere there isn’t a lot of green to be seen, but go and marvel at the colours of an early sunset, the birds roosting in bare trees or the weather of the day… hail, rain or snow, whichever it is. Do this alone if you can, but if you’re stuck with company then roll with it. The point is to be present and open to peace, and you can do that whether you’re alone or surrounded by a crowd of kids. Take as long as you can, anything from five minutes to the full day is good.
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 rhings 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.