As a fan of Christmas, there are times that it even makes me want to bury my head in the snow (Christmas joke). It can be a difficult time to adjust expectations as we fall into the usual routine of overindulging in every aspect of life. I often reminisce on that weird covid Christmas where we had to remain within our own households. I remember initially feeling sad, like something had been taken away. On reflection, it was probably one of my favourites. Yes, I missed my family but it was lovely to spend the day in my own home, possibly the most relaxed Christmas of them all. Yet, every Christmas since then the intensity comes back in full swing.
It’s not all bad, who doesn’t love the lights, spending time with loved ones and eating your favourite Christmas foods. It’s also a time to reflect and give thanks, especially as the year draws to a close. Team Tribe had an evening of wreath making with artist Jana Middleton at Dook Soap for our Christmas do this year. At the start of the evening, host Jana asked us all to close our eyes and think of a colour that comes to mind when thinking of Christmas. Orange, red, green and white all came up. She also asked us to think of smells that we attach to Christmas, pine, mulled wine, spices and homebaking were mentioned. Lastly, she asked us to close our eyes and write down words or a sentence that come to mind when we think of Christmas. The feedback felt warm and cosy, like a Christmas hug.
Earlier that day, I had been constructing this blog post. A helpful guide to make the most of Christmas and enjoy the festivities. I came away from the wreath making evening feeling extremely mellow and calm about Christmas. I felt like that simple exercise served as an important reminder as to what is and what makes Christmas. It’s a lot simpler than the panic, gift buying hussle that we find ourselves wrapped in. Christmas isn’t always an easy time of year and it is all too easy to forget that you do in fact have control. As a team, we have gathered some thoughts around Christmas and how to thrive and enjoy this period rather than survive.
Close your eyes and think about the following questions, write these down on a piece of paper. Use this as a guiding force over the Christmas period, these are arguably what you love the most over Christmas and the easiest to forget:
Christmas is in itself tied up in the winter Solstice. The winter solstice marks a crucial turning point in the year as the sun is at its weakest point. This is a point throughout history where people would hold fests and gather at monuments. It is a time to remember that winter is not forever.
It is widely known that the sun benefits our body in numerous ways and keeps our circadian rhythms in sync. Being in the sun can tweak our immune and cardiovascular systems as well as causing our blood vessels to relax and widen. When we feel the sun on our skin, we release endorphins which can boost our alertness and energy levels.
Over the winter months, it is so important for us to harness this energy. Next time there’s a cold bright morning or the afternoon sun is peeking through some clouds, try to get outside. The sun being out also makes an excellent motivator to get your family outside over the Christmas period. Here’s a great read on the power of the sun.
The busier you are, the greater benefit there is to taking some time alone and finding that pause button. It can take a bit of confidence but take a break when you need to. A 15 minute brain reset in solitude can make a world of difference to both your mood and energy level. Studies show that alone time can increase happiness, better life satisfaction, and improve stress management.
It may not be your top priority over Christmas but daily mindfulness is important at any time of your life. Through mindfulness exercises, such as meditation, breathing exercise and yoga you can become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. This gives you time to both process and manage them rather than becoming overwhelmed. Click here for some easy and quick breathing exercises.
The end of the year is a very natural time to take a moment of reflection. We should all lean into this urge to celebrate our achievements and note our successes. It’s important to refrain from a critical mindset and instead hone in on what has brought you joy this year.
If you are new to this, we’ve gotchu. Keystone have a free online course to help you on your way. This will help you designate the time to reflect, check in and gather yourself for what’s next.
Ya know you can do that at Christmas right?? Check in with yourself and make the time to chill out and do the things that you like to do. It’s also okay to miss out on things and to say no when your cup is already full.
The biggest overwhelm and stress can stem from gift giving. It’s always important to reframe what and why you are buying a gift. Especially when you consider that 80% of returned gifts end up in landfill and this year alone 3,088,345 bad Christmas gifts were thrown away. Before buying something, consider the journey this gift will take and what its lifetime value is. Sentiment and gesture is always far more powerful than cost and volume.
“The everyday human gesture is always a heartbeat away from the miraculous.
Remember that ultimately we make things happen through our actions, way beyond our understanding or intention; that our seemingly small ordinary human acts have untold consequences; that what we do in this world means something; that we are not nothing; and that our most quotidian human actions by their nature burst the seams of our intent and spill meaningfully and radically through time and space, changing everything.
Our deeds, no matter how insignificant they may feel, are replete with meaning, and of vast consequence, and that they constantly impact upon the unfolding story of the world, whether we know it or not.”- Nick Cave
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