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, a bit different from usual having coached the older generation in Zoom skills this year .. wishing you a love-filled day close to your special ones, whoever they are ..
You might be right in the middle of the Christmas whirl right now, all that wrapping ahead of you!! Or maybe Christmas is going to be quieter this year. Don’t forget there are other ways to give at Christmas, and people who are altruistic can often feel more satisfied in life, plus it’s an opportunity to spend time with others .. what’s to lose?!
So take some time out of your busy schedule, switch off the TV and have a think 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 to a charity?
Or volunteer 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!!!
Nothing brings back memories quite like music .. think about your friends and family .. what’s ‘your’ song?
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 them .. 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 ..
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: 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 ..
Healthy relationships don’t happen by accident, they’re the result of people putting time and attention into what feeds our relationships each day, like making small deposits into a bank account that we can draw on when we need it.
Today I invite you to pay into your relationship bank account by finding something practical that you can do for someone you care about. Something that would make a difference.
Maybe you could hang a picture that’s been leaning up against the wall for a year; run an errand; pick up some shopping; do some mending or ironing; drop off some screenwash .. over to you.
Keeping a healthy sense of perspective is really important in maintaining our wellbeing.
Today, how about thinking how you can widen your focus and do something to give back to this beautiful world we live in .. pick up litter that you spot in the street, pop some money in a charity collecting tin or bag up some unwanted possessions in good condition for your local charity shop, save energy by having a short shower (after that yummy long bath you had yesterday), turn the lights off and have an early night ..
It’s good to be shifted out of our routines .. once our relationships develop it’s easy to do the same things day to day. But doing new things together stimulates us to feel affection and encourages us to communicate more.
One of the things I’ve noticed about this year’s pandemic is that it’s jolted me out of my habits and forced me to find new ways of doing things. Friendships have deepened and I’ve got to know people in different ways .. who knew one of my colleagues has a chainsaw certificate!!
I invite you to reflect back on what and how you’ve done things differently this year, how that’s affected your relationships with others, and stay open to making this one thing you commit to continuing once all this is past.
It’s lovely to hear something nice about ourselves .. and how much nicer when it’s coming from someone we love. Find a reason to compliment someone in your life today, whether it’s how they look, what they do or how they do it.