I wanted to share with you a great habit that I was taught to carry out at the turn of the year, and which has served me well .. which is reflecting on what happened in the past year and how I handled it.
I love the quiet time in between Christmas and New Year and I made a commitment to myself a while ago to take this time for myself, for quiet enjoyment of the season, the weather, and taking a look back over the past twelve months.
Life has a habit of throwing the unexpected in our way, however well we plot and plan our lives, and often I’ll be surprised at the things that happened that I could never have predicted the year before. Sometimes these are wonderful and sometimes less so: in examining how I responded I find clues to who I am and how I’m showing up in my life and others’
So maybe you’d like to join me. Carve out a little space for yourself in the next few days to ask these questions:
What happened in this past year that I could never have predicted?
How did I respond? Was that helpful to me and those around me?
Who was important to me in the past year?
What one thing would I have liked to be different?
What would I like to do differently in this coming year?
I’d love to hear your thoughts .. do you have any other questions you’ve found useful?
Thank you for being part of this year’s Relationships Advent Calendar, I hope you’ve had as much fun joining in the fun as I’ve had creating it ..
I’ve been inspired along the way by the penguins at noomi, whose Kindness Advent Calendar I follow every year, so check that out too.
And today of course is a day for family so I’m off to spend a peaceful day with mine .. wishing you a love-filled day close to your special ones, whoever they are ..
Many people will be slap bang in the middle of the last day of holiday preparation today .. last minute cards to drop off, ticking items off your to do list, some of you will still be at work .. and it’s tricky to move instantly from that ‘doing’ state of mind to the ‘being’ and ‘feeling’ one we value more at home .. so today take 5 minutes to work out what helps you make that transition .. maybe for you that’s a shower when you get home, a run, a 10 minute sit down with a cup of something calming after the kids are in bed, a minute of mindful breathing or a 5 minute stretch ..
One Mindful Minute
* To prepare breathe normally while counting your breaths for one minute
* Once you know how many breaths you take in a minute sit somewhere comfortable where you won’t be disturbed
* Close your eyes
* Concentrate on the breath entering and exiting your body while counting each breath
* When you reach the number of breaths you usually take in a minute, open your eyes, come back into the room and give thanks for this moment of peace
When you’ve found your ‘airlock’ don’t forget your sweetie .. instead of passing them the baby as soon as they walk in the door because you’re tired (and covered in dried baby rice) give them the gift of a big kiss, and some time of their own to decompress ..
So as we know from the kids’ nativity Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for the census .. and today I’d like you to start a mental tally chart of the good things in your life, and how many are possible because of the love and support of your partner.
Keep adding whenever you think of one and watch that list grow .. find a beautiful notebook and start a gratitude journal if that’s how you roll .. notice how it feels to know you’re not dependent on or independent of each other .. but inter-dependent, two people who support and appreciate each other.
You’re probably right in the middle of the Christmas whirl right now, school shows, parties, and all that wrapping ahead of you!! But don’t forget there are other ways to give at Christmas, and couples who are altruistic can often be more satisfied in their couple relationship, plus it’s an opportunity to spend time together .. what’s to lose?!
So take some time out of your busy schedule, switch off the TV and talk with your sweetie about how you’d both like to give back in the coming year .. if time’s an issue but you’re cash rich how about setting up a monthly direct debit from your joint account to a charity you decide on together?
Or volunteer as a couple for a project, cleaning up your local beach or park, helping out with the National Trust (you can actually get free membership for being a volunteer) .. the possibilities are endless .. you get to keep the warm Christmas glow for the whole year!!!
And for those of you yet to meet your sweetie, what a great opportunity to meet like-minded people!
What did you do, let me know in the Comments below, or tweet me!
Nothing brings back memories quite like music .. what’s ‘your’ song?
What was playing on your first date?
At your wedding?
On your first Christmas as a family?
For most of us there’s a special feeling associated with these tunes ..
So today your task is to find the song or songs that bring back these special memories and share with your sweetie .. have it playing when they walk in from work, call the local radio station and ask them to do a dedication, email a YouTube clip or post it on their Facebook wall .. or, if you have one, play it on your guitar, piano or kazoo the next time you see them ..
What did you do, let me know in the Comments below, or tweet me!
You’ve just spent 19 days doing something every day for the benefit of your relationship .. notice a difference yet?
So now you’re a super honed relationship athlete in tip top condition it’s time to start looking for opportunities to flex those muscles ..
Keep your eyes and ears open for the many small opportunities that come up today to make a difference, and see how many you take .. send me your scores by commenting on this post, or on Twitter or Facebook if you prefer .. a relationship Christmas star for the winner!
This post follows on from yesterday’s, where I dared to suggest you just might be wrong sometimes (surely not!?) .. relationships thrive where both partners can give a little ground sometimes, and let’s face it, who doesn’t like to be right?
Today your task is to find something your sweetie is right about, give them a big beaming smile and let them know, with grace and love ..
Some of the most powerful words in your relationship may well be “Yes, you’re right.”
Afterwards spend some time thinking about how easy or difficult it was to do that, and how your partner reacted .. what did you learn?
Christmas and New Year is traditionally a time for partying and family, and also a time for reflection and taking stock, making plans and starting afresh ..
Today take some time to think about which of your friends and family support you in your relationship: who listens to you without judgement when you need to talk; who refuses to take sides; and who’s not afraid to tell you gently when you might just (gulp) be in the wrong .. cultivate these people and pledge to do the same for them in your turn ..
It takes two to make love, and a whole community to keep the flame alive ..
Sometimes it’s tempting to take the good things for granted and only focus on the things your honey does wrong .. they know you love them right??
Wrong .. research shows that to feel positive in their relationship couples need an average ratio of five positive for every one negative interaction .. that means in order for your relationship to thrive you need to get working on those positives .. so notice your partner’s successes, and those of the two of you, and take time to celebrate them today ..