Christmas – for some a wonderful time of celebration and gathering together. For others a difficult time of melancholy or sadness. For most a time of self-imposed and unnecessary stress. It can seem like there are so many things to do – planning Christmas Day, writing Christmas cards, watching nativity plays, buying presents, doing the big shop, finishing up work. Right now, it feels more busy, less magical.
Where are you on your list of things to do?
In the last 6 months I have talked at length about being good enough, being kind to yourself as well as others and being grateful. One thing I have learnt even more in 2016 is the importance of self care when you are self employed. It’s time to look after ourselves as well as our clients, our family and friends. We all do it, putting others before ourselves, it’s so easy to bump our own needs down the priority list. It wasn’t until a chance conversation this week that I realised I hadn’t thought about when I would finish work this year. I had assumed I would just keep going. I guess, like many self employed people I don’t always think I have time for a holiday. If I were coaching someone though I would challenge that thought.
So, I am taking a step back and evaluating. I decided to move into the world of self-employment so that my family could come first. I had almost forgotten that in the last few weeks. Last year, I was heavily pregnant and insisted we had a family Christmas – the three of us plus bump. I didn’t want to travel anywhere – mostly in case the baby arrived early (she did). It took courage on my part as I rarely put myself first but I did it – and as it happens, I am glad I did.
This year we will do the same, as a four. We will build on last year’s traditions and focus on making Christmas a beautiful celebration. On Boxing Day we travel up to see my in laws and this is brilliant for me. I get to to rest and relax as Grandma takes over. I can bath, go for a run, shop – all uninterrupted. I don’t have to plan anything, cook anything or do anything. I can just be and I am really looking forward to it.
Giving myself the gift of kindness
So here I am – being brave – saying no to stuff and saying yes to me and my loved ones. I have made some decisions and here are the 5 things I will be doing to look after myself in the last 5 days before Christmas. I am giving myself the gift of being kind:
- Not writing Christmas cards. I actually stopped doing this a few years back. I do so much online now and I find a digital message is still welcomed. It takes less time, is more personal than squiggling a signature in a card and doesn’t cut down trees in the process!
- Finishing work on Wednesday evening (21st) after my final coaching session of the year. I will be about on social media but quieter than normal. I will also check my emails over the next two weeks but I won’t be coaching or working on new ideas in the background.
- Relaxing in the run up to Christmas with regard to how the house looks, how much food we have in, how many presents everyone has and how much I have spent on each person and all those other worries I have about how to make it special. Loved ones make it special and I know my partner and I are on the same page and the kids…well, they mostly prefer the wrapping paper!
- Planning some me time – from getting some running in over Christmas and New Year to long, hot soaks in the bath. You will find me getting peace where I can. I find it hard to put myself first sometimes but the last couple of days has given me another lesson. My youngest is not well and I have had very long days looking after her. Making sure I look after myself means I can look after her.
- Focusing on my family. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful family who love me and they love me regardless of whether the presents are wrapped or the dinner is cooked on time (whose time anyway?!). I am looking forward to watching them play, playing with them and not worrying about anything else.
This (and every) Christmas is about presence not presents
An extra special gift for you
I finished my Bird Table session on Wednesday by asking the group to go round and finish the sentence: “To you I give the gift of…”. It is such a powerful exercise and was well received.
So to you all I give you the gift of knowing that whatever you choose to do this Christmas you are enough. You have always been enough and you are important. You are the best present anyone could ask for.
What gift will you give yourself?
Happy Christmas all
So thank you to each and every one of you who has read my posts, liked, commented, shared. To those of who you who have joined in our community, conversed with me and allowed me the pleasure of listening to you. You have made my dreams come true. I wish you and your families the most wonderful Christmas, full of kindness and love.