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 (thanks 2020!), 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, 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 slap bang in the middle of the last day of holiday prep today .. last minute cards to drop off, ticking items off your to do list, some will still be working .. 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 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 (around 13-16), open your eyes, come back into the room and give thanks for this moment of peace
We may not get to see the kids nativity this year, but as we know 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 others.
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, people who support and appreciate each other.
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 ..
After a while together it’s easy to assume the people we know also know everything about you, but stop a minute and think about that ..in reality you go out and learn new stuff every day, you’re constantly changing and growing and there’s no way others can keep up with all those new bits of you ..
So share something that others don’t know about you today .. we’ve all been forced to change in lots of ways in 2020 .. maybe you took up running this year, or learned to crochet Star Wars characters ..