December’s posts this year all share the theme of Mindful Christmas. There’ll be short posts each day encouraging us to pause and look at our celebrations in a more measured, mindful way. Every day has a concept heavily tied in to Christmas, and the plan is to look at them individually, examine what role they play in our own Christmas and, if we decide we don’t have enough of the secret ingredient, what we can do to have more of them. You’ll see what I mean as the month goes on.
Each day also includes a suggested film for the day and a mindful action, something small, fast and designed to give you the opportunity to pause and enjoy the season in its mad run down to The Day Itself. These are the films and ideas written in my advent calendar box, so I’ll be watching and acting alongside.
Today’s word is Detox.
Is there any concept that has taken off quite so well in the last twenty years as ‘detox’? Way back when I married detox hadn’t even surfaced as a thing to do. We had diets and fitness fads, but the idea of removing all poisonous or ‘bad’ (by whatever criterion applied that year) influences hadn’t quite hit the heights it has now. Come January 1st there will be a plethora of articles, posts, pins focused on eliminating the worst things from life… sadly, so often the things seen as bad for you are also the things that can give you pleasure: chocolate, alcohol, nights by the fire eating toasted cheese.
I’m a child of moderation, a firm believer in a little of what you really fancy does you good, so detox as in a full dietary cut back seems excessive to me but I do recognise other habits as being bad for me mentally and physically. I know having bad sleeping habits leaves me tired, crochety and ill at ease, I know eating too much too late at night gives me indigestion and leads to bad sleeping (see previous point) and I know that drinking too much alcohol loosens my inhibitions, makes me say yes instead of no and results in eating too much leading to indigestion leading to sleeplessness and broken sleep patterns. Too much of a good thing can be injurious to all areas of life.
It’s not sensible for me to ask you today, two days out from Christmas, to detox. It’s probably not possible, especially if you’re staying at another’s house. But be mindful in your living. Even during the heaviest party season it makes sense to keep the four pillars of good health in place, even if you occasionally over-indulge in one of them. Better to save a stricter detox for after Christmas or, even better and more successfully, Spring which is really the season of new starts.
But living well still needs to have a place in the modern celebration. This Christmas, I’m focusing on balancing my life in four ways:
Keeping a regular sleep cycle: There are no wild parties to go to this year, no children waking at 6 on Christmas morning and nothing, really, to dislodge me from my usual cycle of bed at 11.30 pm and waking at 7.30 to 8 am. I might let myself have a few hour-long lie ins, and a couple of pyjama days to really let loose all my sybaritic tendencies, but otherwise life flows better with a good night’s sleep.
Eat a lot of vegetables and fruit whatever else I eat: There are so many tempting chocolate and alcoholic treats floating around at this time of year and, yes, I will have a gin and tonic or (my treat this year) Spiced Rum and Ginger Ale, but just one or at most two a day. I’ll be drinking loads of water and making sure that my main meals are piled high with vegetables of all colours. And I’m going to try and keep off crisps and nibble red cabbage instead. The plan is not to gain too much on my menopausal body, so I don’t have to start off four pounds hevaier in the new year.
Moving a little every day: Whether a walk in the open air, or simply a run of favourite dance tunes played full volume and mad dance moves in the kitchen, I want to keep active this Christmas. When we’re not at work it’s easier to drag Mr Hygge Jem out for a walk mid-afternoon, even just around the block or in the park. And a Boxing Day walk to the park to watch all the chidren playing with their new bikes and prams (do children still get bikes and prams as presents?) should be the spirit booster we need after a busy day before. That, and we’re currently booked on a night time Ghost Walk in Chester later that week. We’ll wrap up warm and make sure to enjoy a bedtime cocoa that night!
Staying Mentally Positive: This might be the hardest pillar to keep in place this year, what with Covid doing the rounds, world and local politics, familial concerns and work queries, but I will be keeping myself on an even keel. I don’t need the anger and upset in my life, so I’m happily living without news more than once a day, taking a couple of weeks off social media, except for The Hygge Nook, and taking daily time to be grateful, make memories and go within. Romjul, closing the door on the outside world and planning my post-Christmas hibernation, is a week I always appreciated as a child and even more so now.
And above all and through all I will be enjoying my free time to just be, to spend time with my family and especially my husband, to read up on next year’s word, and possibly write a couple of posts ready for January and a new year.
All the quotes this month share the same background, even if the headers are all different. Thanks go to Caley Dimmock on Unsplash for a very seasonal background ideal for all quotes, large and small. And today’s header is by Fabrice Villard on Unsplash. I chose it because the absolute simplicity of the white lansdscape with only one dark tree in it seemed a good image of detoxing: making sure you focus only on one really important thing.
Today’s Film: Serendipity. Serendipity as a concept plays a big part in many people’s lives, did they but notice. The right job at the right time, the right person greeting you with the hope you need and, most often for me, the right book with the right concepts at the right time. The film, with its whimsical idea that if they are meant to be, it will be so, is an enjoyable romance.
Today’s Mindful Action: Take a day to detox: to eat well, sleep well, exercise and take five when you feel stressed. The next few days are usually hectic, so don’t begrudge taking time for yourself. You’ll have a better season if you’ve slept well tonight.
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 to me or bought by me with my everyday wages or donations from supporters. Every book I review has been bought and read by me, unless stated otherwise.
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. It always feels good if you get a book back in return for some money. 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:
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. It’s filled with advice on a daily, weekly and annual basis to help you set up rituals and rhythms that boost happiness and work for you.
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.
Of course Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas is an essential read at this time of year. Christmas is about the small things in life, much as hygge is, and establishing what you want from Christmas and then being able to say no to the excess is important. The book has hints and tips that hopefully will help you enjoy what is, too often, a frantic season.
Available as just an ebook, and a short, sharp read, is Enjoying a Self-Care Christmas: Easy Ways to keep the Joy of Christmas, and your Sanity, intact. It’s an easy read, with ideas and hints to keep you sane through the season. The self-care advent calendar is one I’ve followed for a few years now, and it really is a small daily dose of calm in a manic month.
And on the basis that we may well find ourselves in Lockdowns or unable to enjoy an absolutely normal Christmas under Covid regulations if numbers spike, why not read and plan alternatives? Celebrating a Contagious Christmas was written in response to the pandemic last year, and will need updating soon, but it is about celebrating whatever the situation, and does have good advice on stocking up an emergency cupboard, celebrating when travelling to relatives is impossible and putting the heart of Christmas back into the heart of the celebrations.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my personal look at Dicken’s Immortal Classic through the eyes of a Christmas obsessive and hygge lover. It includes the full text of the book, as well as my short essays on why A Christmas Carol is a book full of hygge. I have no idea why, but Kindle version and paperback are on different pages.
If you’d like to support me, but don’t want to buy a book, I have a Paypal.Me account as Hygge Jem. Every little helps, so even a few pence goes towards the books, goods and courses I use and recommend on the site. I’m grateful for every little bit that brings me closer to my dream of full-time writing, and I know I couldn’t still be writing if it weren’t for the support of many readers and friends out there. Thank you all for every little bit of support, emotional, physical and financial, you give me.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it or save it so others can enjoy reading, thinking about and living hygge as well, and links to all the articles in this series are on the blogpost: Mindful Christmas 2021.