Go on… are you reading this after Christmas? Catching up on your favourite blogs and pages because the last few days before Christmas were manic? So much to do, so much to prepare, and no time to stop or breathe or anything?
Well then, this is a message for you. Remember, in all the rush and panic and shopping, baking, cleaning, crying (someone always cries at Christmas and usually that somebody is me), watching, singing, dancing, mourning (for actual people or for past times) that you need to give yourself the gift you most need.
Now, I’m no mind reader, but I suspect what you’d most like is an extra couple of hours in the day, or perhaps 30 minutes when nobody asks you to do anything or wrap anything. You might want a person dear to you to be beside you when that’s impossible (because of distance, time or something more permanent) or simply for the people around you to look at you and see the inner you. The gifts in life we need most are never easy to wrap and, indeed, can’t be bought from a store.
Today’s the day when the stress of Christmas really starts, especially this year, because it’s the day when people who usually travel won’t be able to, when bakers and cooks will be getting more or less than usual ready (and either can be triggering, as reminders that we will be having a Christmas out of time, far from normal for many) or when those celebrating in their own, sweet, usual way because virus or no virus Christmas still goes on will be approaching peak Christmas. Tempers flare, inner thermostats are set to zero, patience is not just thin but virtually transparent and we all have a mass of hopes, fears and inner angst tied up in the next couple of days.
So that makes it a really good time to stop and think about what you need to make this year run easier. Not for hours, not navel gazing, but a pause now in the middle of whatever you’re doing to ask: What action, quote or inaction do I need at the moment to make my life better for me? Do you need a laugh, a bath, a call with an old friend, to visit your neighbour, to walk in the woods, to stand and watch the sun set at just past four? What would feed your soul? Books? Film? Meditation? A nap?
Go on… what is it that you really want? Now, for half an hour this Christmas Eve Eve go and do the closest thing. If you can actually nap/phone/pause, that’s great. But if your greatest need was to speak to your Mum and she has long gone past the veil, then find a close alternative, perhaps looking at a photograph or old video and talking to her. The gift is really the time, not the action. And give yourself permission to respond to your need as well. Laugh, cry, get angry. You deserve to feel what you need to feel to get on with life.
There now. That was cathartic, wasn’t it? Now, go and get on with whatever actions the world needs you to. Go bake, cook, visit….
Daily Read: How to Survive Christmas: Ideas from people and a useful (short) list of self care activities that it’s easy to forget at Christmas.
Daily Book: The Self Care Project: How to Let go of Frazzle and Make Time for You by Jayne Hardy. The author founded The Blurt Foundation in 2011 as a place to share and learn about depression… major and minor… and the effects it has on our lives. This is a very readable and down-to-earth book, with suggestions for self care especially during those emergency situations.
Self-Care Act For the Day: Seriously…. identify what you need most, and give it to yourself as a gift. Time, a shoulder to cry on, a moment of nostalgia. Take the time to let yourself grieve if you have to, laugh if you need to and rest if you must. And keep giving yourself permission to take five, ten, thirty minutes to do what you want to as the holidays go on. That’s a better present than anything that comes from the store… although, if you can afford it, a small, immaculately wrapped present that you hide and take out at sometime when you need a boost can also be a good idea…. mine is usually my favourite handcream or shower gel.
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.