Welcome to the first day of winter. As we mark the shortest day and longest night of the year, it is great a time to reflect on life. Do your days hold enough meaning? Are you running long past when the sun has set? Do you want to head into a new year with these same patterns? Or is it time for a change?
While Christmas can seem to hold an insurmountable number of tasks, it is also an important time to slow down and make some time for yourself. The Winter Solstice is a great time for reflection on what your life looks like and what you want it to be. So often we feel obliged to be more and do more than we can comfortably handle. As the long winter night stretches ahead of you though, I suggest that you stop. It’s time to dream.
Stressing this Christmas
Stop shopping, spending and trying to spoil everyone. Will all the gifts you bought be remembered a month from now? If there is one less present under the Christmas tree, so be it. Perhaps that will allow more time to appreciate the gifts that are given.
Stop trying to please everyone. You can’t be everything to everyone and you certainly can’t please them all. Don’t make a different dish for every palate around the Christmas table. Put your effort into trying to please yourself and let people appreciate the effort for the gift that it is.
Stop trying to outdo yourself. Just because last year you concocted a heavenly dessert that everyone raved about, doesn’t mean you have to push yourself to do one better this year. Simplicity can be a beautiful thing appreciated by all as well. Revisit old dishes that were successful, or simplify this year. Be happy with good enough.
Stop trying to do it all yourself. No man is an island. Reach out for help with the tasks at hand. Assign your children to make cookies, wash the dishes, or set the table. Get your partner to grab the last of the groceries. Ask your guests to bring a bottle of wine, or dessert. You will find there is more time for the important things—like spending time together!
Living in the New Year
Start carving time out for dreaming. Idle hours can be a gift to the overworked soul. Give yourself five minutes, one hour, a day, or a week designated for you. Fill it full of what you love, or nothing at all. Those moments are meant to refresh and replenish yourself, so you can tackle what life may throw at you.
Start being more thankful. Take the time to notice the little things. Do you have your health, loving family, friends or a place to rest your head at night? You are blessed. There are many who cannot say the same and would give anything for the gifts you are given. Appreciation for what one has is a blessing in itself and it feels good to honour that.
Start saying no. You don’t have to take on the world. Make choices on how you want to fill your precious hours and honour that these choices are best for you. If others don’t appreciate that, perhaps they need to look at what is most important in their own lives.
Start giving back. Whether you volunteer at the Food Bank, your local school, or a shelter, the gift of your time is a wonderful thing to share. You can’t imagine how good it makes you feel to be a part of something bigger than yourself in a meaningful way. And the gratitude you receive is a gift no price tag can match.
May the holidays find you jolly and the New Year bring new experiences and appreciation for life.