Welcome to the beginning of December, the commencement of Advent, and for many people a very full and busy festive season.
If you read my previous post, you'll know that overwhelm and December used to go hand-in-hand for me. And unless I am very intentional and mindful about it all, that definitely seems to be the default for this time of year.
But it doesn't have to be.
I'm not saying the festive season isn't busy and possibly stressful and emotional. But we also have a lot of control over how this season looks for us and, if it applies, our families.
It all begins with deciding in advance how we want it to be.
Would you humour me for a moment?
Please pause, take a breath and consider the following questions. Perhaps grab a piece of paper and jot your answers down...
What do I love about the festive season?
What small rituals/traditions are important to me?
What is it about this time of year that really fills my soul?
What stresses me about this time of year?
What do I want to say yes to?
What do I want to say no to? (and please remember that you are allowed to say no!)
What are the small ways in which I can care for myself this month?
Now that you have your answers to these questions, pull out your dairy/calendar and look at the month ahead.
- Have you made time for the things you love? Perhaps it's baking or catching up with old friends for drinks or making gifts or reading certain books with your kids, visiting family or people significant to you or volunteering with a certain charity. Book those things in now. They're what matters.
- Are there things on the calendar that you need to get rid of? We can't always say yes to every single invitation or expectation. Once your calendar is as full as you're comfortable with (remembering to fill it with the things important to you, not the things you feel socially obliged to do) you have total permission to say so. You won't be able to do everything and please everyone, the sooner you make peace with this, the happier you'll be.
- Have you booked in some self-care? Time to look after yourself has to be created, not found. A night in, a long bath, a day when you turn your phone off, a late night candle-lit cup of tea when everyone is in bed. It doesn't have to be elaborate or time-consuming. Just a moment to do whatever nourishes your soul.
Here's to a calmer, more joyful December.