Latest posts by Michelle Hopewell (see all)
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We made it you guys! We’re so close to the 2017 finish line. I am constantly in awe of how quickly a year can pass and how much can happen globally, nationally, and socially.
What a gift that we did make it this far because so many didn’t and what a gift that along the way we have learned so many lessons about ourselves and about the world.
As the year draws to a close and we enter into this season of festivity we also have to admit that for some of us this is the hardest time. When we come from a culture that is about consumption and shaming, how do we navigate away from those harmful practices? This time of year can be a difficult period of facing things that we have struggled with all year, but as the tinsel is hung over the tree, we might also be hung up on all the things that pose a potential threat to the progression you might have made in your journey to self acceptance.
We forget that the festive season is about love and instead we spend fretting over the amount food we’ve eaten. The clothes we have to wear. The presents we have to magically be able to afford. The family time we need to invest in, whether we struggle with our families or not. The work nights out that makes us feel isolated. The excessive amount of spending. The expectations we have for ourselves and our loved ones.
There is a way to enjoy this period without harmfully shaming yourself for the very act of living. Here are some of the tips I’m going to put into practice this festive season.
DON’T BE OVERLY AMBITIOUS
Now the problem with the holidays is that we overload ourselves. We tell ourselves we absolutely need to say yes to everything that is being thrown at us, but in reality we can’t and we shouldn’t. You need to prioritise the things that are important. Don’t overload your December diary!
SIMPLE IS STILL LOVE
For a long time my family has made it tradition to make present giving as simple as possible. The season for us isn’t about how much money we can spend on each other, it’s about how much we can love on one another. Why not be more inventive and personal with your gifts. Give something thoughtful to the people you love and don’t fixate on if it’s the most expensive gift being retailed.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF FOOD
One of the biggest fears some people have is others judging the amount of food you’ll eat, but you can’t live your life living to please someone else. Whatever self care practices you have had throughout the year apply to festive meals. Remember that food is food – it is not morally good or bad – and you will not restrict yourself because of fear.
BE CONFLICT FREE
No family or friendship circle is perfect. We all have things we struggle about with each other. Little things that have hurt our feelings or little things that bothered us. The holidays can compound and niggle and exaggerate those problems and that’s only natural, but know that gatherings are not organised so that you can turn them into battle grounds. Instead of putting on your armour for war, try taking down your shield all together and practice forgiveness. If you’re finding it hard to hold your tongue, take a step outside and recalibrate. Easier said than done, but try letting it go. Cue song.
They’re wonderful and steeped in history and culture but for some of us they might be triggering of some of the things that we’ve gone through. So you know what? This is an opportunity to make your own! What traditions would you like to incorporate and practice into your life now? You can bring really beautiful new things into your life and the lives of those you love. Whether it’s the practice of donating time or money, being thankful or going carolling.
TAKE A BREAK
In the same way it’s okay to say no to some of the things happening over these period because you’ve got an overwhelming amount on, it’s also okay to take a break. Self care doesn’t stop because something global is happening. Self care becomes even more imperative when these things are happening. We are at our best when we look after ourselves, so take the time out that you need. De-stress, practice mindfulness, stay positive, be kind to yourself and others and surround yourself with peace and positivity.
Regardless of what you have gone through this year or what you might be going through in the next one, please be proud of all that you have done and appreciate the gift of making it this far in your journey. Have a wonderful festive season!