I know Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and wishes for peace on earth (for me that’s a standard wish all year not just at Christmas!) so this isn’t a ‘bah-humbug’ moment, rather this is me being transparent. I simply find this time of year difficult; always have, ‘end-of-year-i-tis’ as my dear Mum used to call it. I am grateful that it has gotten better over the years but it can still have its moments.
At times I find the commercial sensory overload and pressure exhausting. I can easily fall into ‘empathy overload’ and become energetically and emotionally drained which makes it easy to be anything but joyous! It is a time when I miss those I love who have died and a sense of deep loss emerges once again. I also grieve for those I love who are struggling and living a less than happy and healthy life… Memories come flooding back unexpectedly and a longing for things to be different than they were can shadow my every move.
So this is the time of year where my self-care strategies become ‘extreme self-care strategies’. I decide when and how I ‘do Christmas’. Six weeks ago, our family got ready for Christmas. All the shopping was done in one day, that night we set up the Christmas tree and lights, and I wrapped presents and wrote cards (yes, I still send some cards via snail mail!). I didn’t do any of this early to annoy anyone or to get the praise of ‘wow you’re organised’ – I did it simply because that’s what was best for me. It was the only weekend when I wasn’t going to be travelling for work or attending end of year dance concerts or school music recitals or hosting my son’s birthday party – it was what worked for us.
As a result we were not harried by external pressures and the throng of excessive shoppers, instead we enjoyed the time together, played Christmas carols as we leisurely decorated and revelled in the connection between us all.
Christmas can be a bitter-sweet time for many, a time where family dynamics are a challenge, a time of loneliness and longing, a time of poignant reflection of time passed, so it is definitely a time to give yourself the first gift of Christmas, the gift of Self-Care, the gift of kindness toward yourself, the gift of stillness amidst the rush just to sit and breathe and give thanks.
A long soak in the tub is a reward for my efforts tonight, what ways are you nurturing yourself this Christmas season so that you can be calm, connected and caring to those who cross your path?
Peace to all,