This Christmas for many is going to be very different. Some people are embracing the opportunity to slow down and have a smaller, quieter celebration. Some are trying to keep to old traditions as much as possible, regardless of the health risk and others are trying to find a happy, safe medium.
Now adding to more serious everyday ethical dilemmas, we now have the anxiety of Christmas 2020!
I traditionally run a number of events to help people deal with the added stress and anxiety that prevails at this time of year – safe online events that are normally easy to fill and full of fun and laughter. But this year, people who used to celebrate Christmas have virtually spat the word back in my face – perhaps because they are grieving or in pain. Others are hiding away from the world – perhaps in fear or in isolation – or trying to keep themselves safe. And others are trying to pack as much ‘outside’ life in before another lockdown that they don’t have time to stop and breathe and I wonder if they are actually enjoying this ‘busy-ness’ they are so keen to pack their days and nights with.
Are you in one of these three groups?
The secret with Christmas 2020, as with any Christmas, and any single day, is to find your own way; not swayed by thoughts of what other people think, but to pause to make sure you are listening to your own truth and to start to find the wonder.
So, take a moment to pause. Reading this blog is already part of your gift to yourself to slow down.
Firstly, take a deep breath in and out, and ask yourself:
· What am I feeling right now? Physically? Emotionally? In my thoughts?
· What are my specific thoughts about Christmas? Breathe in and out. Just take a moment to be with these feelings, thoughts and sensations.
Now, look around you and find something that is red. Notice how you feel about the object and the colour, perhaps you can imagine the texture, temperature, smell and sound of this object? Observe how this simple study of an object takes your mind off your thoughts and feelings.
Look again. Now find an object that is green. Take note if you like it or not, how do you feel about it. How might this object feel, smell or sound? Bringing all your senses into the moment is called grounding and it is a powerful yet simple reflective relaxation technique to get you away from worry and start being present to the possibilities and opportunities of the moment.
Imagine trying this process with a tasty Christmas treat – slowing down to appreciate how it looks, feels, smells, sounds and lastly tastes. Imagine trying this technique with opening or giving a gift.
We also need to stop ourselves comparing – both to our last ‘perfect’ Christmas, to a childhood ‘perfect’ Christmas or to others social media feed of what a Covid safe perfect Christmas might look like. There is a saying that ‘comparison is the thief of all joy’ and it has never been truer than at this time of year when the pressure to be and do so much more than our means allow often pushes people to breaking point.
How would you want a Covid-safe Christmas to be if you stopped comparing and started living this Christmas? How would you want to safely make your Christmas happen? Is it time for your Christmas to be playfully different? Take a moment to reflect on where you have been comparing too much to others, to your past or to dreams of the future (Christmas movie style fantasies?)
What would you do differently if you weren’t comparing to your own expectations or those of other people?
Here at BalanceTime, we help businesses look at questions and reflections that change the way you think, communicate and act. We help individuals use connection to tools based in mindfulness meditation – such as grounding with connection to your senses and the elements – to bring a present moment awareness that gives clarity and peace away from stress and anxiety. To find out more please visit us at www.balancetime.co.uk