Day 339/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
Christmas is upon us. Many of us will grapple with how to navigate Christmas with the many adjustments we've had to make through the Covid year.
The 2020 family Christmas is promising to look very different to the traditions that you’ve established, perhaps over generations. With restrictions on travel, caps on guest numbers, cancellation of the much-loved annual parades, parties and Christmas pantomimes, not to mention the possibility of Covid coming to Christmas dinner, it looks as though a rethink of Christmas celebrations is in order.
Filling the Christmas stockings and providing the bounty under the tree that your family have come to expect may be challenging and distressing for some this year. You might find yourself feeling disappointed, helpless and hopeless. Anger may be bubbling just below the surface if you feel that your freedom to live as you did pre-covid has been controlled and curtailed. And here we are.
When I was a kid we did Christmas well. There was virtually a cricket team of us so we all committed to simple, inexpensive gifts, planned and carefully wrapped and secretly put under the tree when no one was looking. Quite an accomplishment in our household which required the cooperation of sentries at the door to the living room. I've kept that tradition going in my small family. Our focus is on sharing and celebrating, with the preparation beginning and ending in the kitchen and at the garden bench.
We've baked Christmas cookies for dozens of people, wrapped them in cellophane and tied them with Christmas ribbons. Siena cakes is another favourite, Christmas mince pies of course, Christmas pudding ice-cream, and more with the smells of rum, brandy, and delicious liquors wafting from the kitchen. Then comes potted herbs, geraniums, citrus and other goodies. Herbal infusions, vinegars, chutneys, jams and compotes. All this preparation brings the family together to share important moments of joy and celebration. With Christmas music blasting in the background of course!
This year our planning remains the same. It's a recession proof idea!
Good self-care makes it easier to manage the big things that you weren't expecting. A self-care plan might include spending regular time in nature, connecting with friends, indulging in your favourite online distraction or any other of your go-to activities to calm your system and take a break. Showing kindness to yourself may look like monitoring your self-talk and reassuring yourself that you’ve been through tough times before.
Check in with where your support comes from; partner, friends, family, therapist, pets, nature, others. Connect with them often if you think things will become difficult for you as the Christmas season progresses. We might all feel like we're in the same boat but we all cope differently when the seas get a bit rough. Talking things over, listening well, appreciating others struggles without trying to fix them unless they ask for, and you can offer specific help, sharing your concerns truthfully and authentically all helps to put yourself and others at ease.
It’s an art to be with people when their ways are triggering. Your self-care plan may be essential at these times. If you feel like you are, or may be in danger at any time, please connect with your support network and make a plan to activate at short notice. Of course, feel free to take this opportunity to kindly decline the Christmas invitation that you’ve been dreading all year.
To ease your worries will it help to consider your own Covid rules within the permitted guidelines? Hugs or no hugs, social distancing at the Christmas table, or not, to disinfect or not to disinfect your home, outdoors or indoors with good ventilation, perhaps there’s an opportunity to rethink sharing food, spreading celebrations over a number of days to minimise numbers of visitor descending upon you all at once.
Sometime down the track we’ll look back on this time and wonder how we managed as well as we did.
Merry Christmas. Live well.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.