Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and the year that is approaching. Your thoughts at Christmas can help to revitalise your life going forward. When I look back at the year that has gone, I feel a combination of emotions. Happiness, sadness, fear and optimism among many others. Here are my thoughts at Christmas.
There are so many things that we can’t change. The behaviour of others, cruelty and injustice in the world, mean or misguided people – you can try to resist but you will be the one who ends up exhausted and disillusioned. Acceptance doesn’t mean approval, it simply means that you understand where your own boundaries lie in terms of your own power to effect change. I can’t single-handedly stop all cruelty in the world BUT I can volunteer to help out in some way or I can sign up to a charity close to my heart and make a regular donation.
Acceptance will keep you sane but it doesn’t mean that you need to give up your values. When we focus on what we can’t change, it leaves us feeling bitter and disempowered. Instead, problem-solve how you can do your bit to ease the bigger problem. If we all did our little bit, we would collectively make big changes.
Society is set up in such a way that many people are in survival mode. So I guess for them, priorities are shelter, food and warmth. If you are lucky enough not to have to constantly focus on these priorities, don’t allow society to sway you from what is truly important – friends, family end life experiences. It’s easy to get caught up in comparisons on social media or worrying about status, power and money.
At the end of the day and when all is said and done, it won’t be your car or mansion that you miss. It will be friends and loved ones who you can feel connected to. The ones who know your faults but still have time for you anyway. The happy hormone Oxytocin is secreted when we spend time with friends, family and pets and it’s longer lasting than the quick dopamine hits we get from shopping, gambling, sex, or other temporary highs.
Direction and purpose
Use this time to think about what made you happy and what didn’t in the past year. What have you learned about yourself and other people? What can you change to invite more or less of the stuff you want into your life? When we have direction and purpose it steadies us when the going gets tough. It provides a strong foundation to see us through to the other side.
Consider your values when determining your direction and sense of purpose.
We are biologically engineered to be sociable. In the fast-paced competitive world we live in, relationships can take a back seat. Relationships can also be fraught with complications, rejection and heartbreak. It’s no wonder that many avoid connection. Relationships that nurture you heal you and carry you through life. Good people in our lives are the soft cushion we all need when life is hard.
Make time for your friendships and take your precious time to help those who need it. Who knows, one day it could be you that feels the kindness of others when you need it.
Approach others, try not to avoid being around others. Put fear aside and believe that most people all want the same as you – to be loved and accepted.
Mindfulness – less thinking and more doing
We all spend too much time over thinking- This usually leads to catastrophising, assumptions and we get the wrong end of the stick. Our fears and insecurities paint a whole new reality that is so far removed from the reality. watch your thinking. Challenge negativity and fear – it’s not helpful, and it keeps you from living your best life. If you are overthinking, play a game on your phone, phone a friend or distract yourself.
Make an effort to focus on the world around you instead of ‘living in your head’. Do more, think less – that’s my advice for the new year.
The more you look after yourself, the better your mental health will be. We all wish to improve something but don’t wallow in a state of self-hatred. Accept yourself as you are whilst acknowledging that making some changes would be great.
Join a gym, do a meditation course. start walking every day, add an apple a day – whatever it is, introduce baby steps. Don’t focus on the mountain ahead, just look at the first step.
A great tip to help you eat less is to put a mirror in front of you when you eat. It keeps you mindful and in the moment.
Hang in there and if life is tough remind yourself that you won’t always feel as bad as you do now Sit tight – it will improve. Never give up hope.
I hope you have a happy Christmas and if you don’t, it’s not the end of the world – tomorrow will arrive with endless possibilities.
Sending love, light and optimism