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 ..
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.
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 ..
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.
Touch is so important in feeling connected, holding hands, being close, a hug .. this year has been so hard as we haven’t been able to show our affection through hugging and being around each other.
Many people also don’t have the opportunity to touch, people who live alone, maybe working from home at the moment. Studies show that when residents of care homes have affectionate consensual physical contact they report greater wellbeing.
So today how about showing someone you love them by sending a virtual hug, something to snuggle or if you can by using touch to show you care. You can even do this for yourself by wrapping yourself up in a lovely warm blanket and giving yourself a hug.