After the year we’ve all had, it’s more important than ever to create space for embracing joy this Christmas- whatever that might look like for you. Whatever this year has meant for you personally, Christmas and the New Year can be a time to pause, reflect and set the intention to make any changes that you need to in order to embrace the new year and feel more aligned than you have perhaps felt in 2020.
Read below for 7 tips to ensure that you are prioritising your wellbeing throughout this festive season, so that you can move into 2021 feeling balanced and ready to embrace the new year.
Ensure you’re taking down-time for yourself to recharge at this busy time of year
Yes, there are lots of joy-filled opportunities in the lead up to Christmas, but being on the go constantly, even for fun things, can leave you drained. This year in particular, as restrictions ease here in Australia, people will be keen to make up for lost time in terms of socialising and connection.
And, as much as this is great to do after a year of social distancing, it’s important to ensure that you are scheduling in some regular down time every week to just chill out and recharge. A great way to do this in the lead up to Christmas might be to schedule a weekly Christmas movie night. Watch a Christmas movie, order takeaway and just chill out for a couple of hours.
Also, ensure that you aren’t letting too many of your normal self-care practices slip during this time. Still try to eat well in amongst celebratory treats, move your body, sleep well, and make time for the things that help you stay centred during the rest of the year, whether that be your hobbies, journaling, or making time for yourself to decompress.
Make peace if you need to
This time of year can bring up a lot of difficult emotions for many. If you’re estranged from a loved one, have had a tough year personally (the chances of this are more likely for many with the COVID-19 backdrop), or have past hurts that need to be dealt with, do whatever you can to make peace with them going into the new year.
Seeking support from a health professional or support service is a great first step. Many are reluctant to take that first step and reach out for support, but health professionals (such as your GP, a counsellor, social worker or psychologist) and support services (such as Lifeline, Beyondblue, or eHeadspace) are fantastic safe spaces that can allow you to vent, make sense of your circumstances, and figure out a way forward to care for your wellbeing and create an action plan with supports in place.
If you need them, the following support services are fantastic;
Keep expectations realistic and achievable
This time of year can be full of joy and connection for some, but for others it can be a time of immense stress. Financial pressures, conflict and relationship issues, loss and loneliness are just some factors that can overshadow this time of year for some. Being realistic about how your Christmas and New Year will likely play out is key to keeping stress, disappointment and sadness to a minimum.
Making the most of your situation and what you are able to do to mark the festive season in the context of your current circumstances will allow you to plan ahead and look forward to what can realistically happen. Try to be present in the moment rather than looking too far ahead or dwelling on the past.
Be gentle with yourself and ensure that you are incorporating things into your plans that you genuinely enjoy and actually have the ability to do (whether they are solo plans or spending time with others), rather than filling your schedule with things that you feel like you are obligated to do or traditions that you feel like you ‘should’ do if you really don’t want to.
And in a year when many have lost income and employment, financial stress is likely to affect many this year more than ever for Christmas. The festive season should definitely not be all about gift giving and pressure to spend money that you don’t have. If you are limited in what you are able to spend this Christmas, there are other ways to give without spending a lot of money. Rather than buying for everyone in your family, maybe suggest doing a Secret Santa this year with a reasonable spending limit, so that the pressure is taken off everyone and you only need to buy one gift. Or, suggest forgoing gifts this year in place of everyone contributing a dish to Christmas lunch or dinner. There are also other kinds of gifts that keep costs to a minimum, such as home-made treats, your time and companionship doing an activity together they enjoy, or helping with a project around a loved one’s house.
And for anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one this year, it
is perfectly ok to feel that grief and take time away from festivities if you
need to in order to grieve and remember your loved one. It can also help to
talk about them, acknowledge that you miss them, remember them, celebrate them
at this time of year too. It is completely ok to be grieving the loss of
someone whilst still enjoying Christmas as well. Just because you feel
happiness it doesn’t mean that you aren’t missing them.
If you are feeling lonely or isolated, seek support or companionship in new ways
This time of year can be particularly hard if you feel isolated or lonely. If you don’t have family or friends close by for Christmas festivities, check out what is happening in your area in terms of volunteering and community events for Christmas Day for those without loved ones. Many local Community Centres can provide this information, or check by doing an online search in your area.
The silver lining of COVID-19 is that there have also been so many new
opportunities to be virtually connected with others via online events this
year, and this is likely to expand into Christmas and the New Year. Many have
offered the opportunity for people to sign up to things like virtual festive
cooking classes, Secret Santa mailing groups, and New Year’s Eve virtual
concerts to watch from the comfort of home. Please feel free to leave any
information in the comments section below if you are aware of any virtual
opportunities for connection this festive season that other readers may like to
Manifest your intentions moving forward into the new year
There’s definitely a sense of a fresh start as we head into 2021. What did 2020 bring up for you in terms of the bigger picture and what you’d like life to look like moving into the new year?
In a year of huge global change, the resulting changes to our daily routines and habits have been an opportunity to step back, look at the bigger picture, and re-evaluate what is working in our lives, and what requires some attention for change. 2020 was a great opportunity for us to have the space and time to think about what we want our lives to look like on the other side of this, and how we can make some changes to make this happen. The freshness of 2021 may just be the time to start putting some of these intentions into action if you haven’t already started.
It can be helpful to pick a word to help to focus on manifesting the
change you’d like to see moving forward. For example, do you want to work a
sense of PATIENCE, COMPASSION, FUN, CONNECTION, or PURPOSE into your life
moving forward? Whenever you move through your day and feel challenged,
frustrated or confused, think of that word (intention) and how you can shape
your behaviour, thinking or actions to align with it.
Celebrate with a light and open heart
For those lucky enough to be able to spend time with loved ones, embrace this opportunity and just celebrate! This year has shown us we don’t always know what’s coming, and to cherish what we have and who we have in our lives in the moment.
Have fun. Don’t take things too seriously. Forgive yourself and others. Embrace new opportunities. Laugh. Eat for pleasure. Really connect- with yourself and those you love.
Lastly, embrace the magic of this time of year whilst also being COVID-safe
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still our reality this year for Christmas. Please ensure you are being safe and considerate of others- maintain good hand washing practices and stay home if you are unwell, be conscious of social distancing, and if you’re planning to travel interstate, check the restrictions in place for that area to ensure you’re aware of what you need to be doing to keep yourself and everyone else as safe as possible.
This goes for having Christmas celebrations in your own state too. With the rapidness of change in the COVID context, it’s important to stay up-to-date, and to check limitations on how many people can be in the same space etc. and do the right thing. As a country we have done so well to keep COVID under control recently. Let’s not risk all of this hard work over the Christmas period and jeopardise that fresh start that many are hopeful 2021 will be.
A very Merry Christmas to all Her. Wellbeing. Readers- whatever that may look like for you 💫 Please ensure that you prioritise your wellbeing and feed your soul with the things that you love throughout this festive season ✨