As we approach another Christmas season it’s helpful to remember that while life has opened up, we are still very much in the midst of a global pandemic. After the curveballs continue to hit and we remember the restrictions of last year, the thought of making plans might be weighing heavily, things may feel more complicated than usual. So if your festive cheer feels a little illusive this year, there are very good reasons for it. Please be gentle with yourself. We hope you find peace and comfort in these suggestions.
Stay in your lane and go at your pace.
It’s been nearly two years of disruption to normal life and this has taken a significant toll on not just our energy levels but our social stamina. The uncertainty, the very real threat to collective health, and the impingement on many of the things that bring richness and meaning to our lives has left us with a very real fatigue and a genuine feeling of loss. The highlights reels we see on social media can create a feeling of pressure around what we think we should be doing and feeling.
As hibernation mode kicks in, take advantage of the natural tendency to turn inwards and listen to what you and your family need. Perhaps we need a little more time and space for nourishment this Christmas and if that means doing things differently, then let’s put a ring around this period and do what we need to do to restore. There is nothing selfish about this, tending to your needs as a parent gives you the best possible chance of modelling the qualities and values you hold dear.
In the midst of all the changing guidelines it can be difficult to know what feels like the right thing to do, and what feels right for you might be different from what your partner or how your broader family unit feels. Honouring our boundaries is challenging at the best of times, let alone with the lingering effects of Covid in the mix. Bring clarity to your boundaries by reflecting on what you need to feel safe and healthy right now? Get clear on what that looks like for you in terms of your time, energy, where and how you feel comfortable connecting. Bear in mind that what we need may be different from other friends and family members so there might be some negotiating to do and compassion is key. Consider setting an intention for the Christmas period – something for you and your family. As invitations and opportunities arise, ask yourself are they in harmony or conflict with your intention. Feel the peace that comes from alignment.
Feel all the feels
With the more relaxed restrictions compared with last year, many of us have a chance to reclaim treasured rituals of celebration. We may be surprised that these joyful reunions also trigger an awareness of time and opportunities lost, bringing to the surface a whole host of emotion. For some who might still be unable to come together with loved ones, seeing or hearing of other people’s plans can amplify our grief. Other people might be hankering for the guise of lockdown life which gave us the dispensation to be able to do our own thing guilt-free. The resumption of these social responsibilities can be difficult to navigate. Make space for all your feelings and be tender with yourself as you acknowledge them.
Seek out available joys
Remember, it’s not just the grand and elaborate celebrations that bring us joy, there is so much juice to be found in the simple things: taking a walk in Nature’s beauty, sharing funny anecdotes, snuggling in to watch a Christmas film, or savouring the scent of mulled wine or your Christmas candle. Christmas needn’t look a certain way to be deeply meaningful and notice how those tiny little pockets of peace can accumulate into something truly special.
About the author
Suzy is a mother of two, an author, Chartered Psychologist and yoga teacher. She specialises in self-care, helping people manage their stress, emotions, and energetic bank balance. It was her lived experience of motherhood colliding with the terminal illness of her father that sparked her passion for self-care which she now teaches to her clients, young and old, to cope during periods of stress, loss and change and to boost their resilience in the face of future challenges. Suzy is on the editorial board for Motherdom Magazine and is a founding member of the ‘Nourish’ app.
She figure-skated her way through her childhood, growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, and now makes her home in the hills of Hertfordshire, UK. Her first book ‘The Self-Care Revolution’ published by Aster came out in 2017, 'Stand Tall Like a Mountain: Mindfulness & Self-Care for Children and Parents' and 'The Little Book of Self-Care’ came out in 2019. ‘Self-Care for Tough Times’ and her first children’s book ‘This Book Will (Help) Make You Happy’ by Wren & Rook are both hot off the press.
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