Another year has come and gone, and we are again upon my favourite season, Christmas! I love the beauty and the generosity of spirit characteristic of this time of the year, the countdown to Christmas day, the fabulous food and decorations, and the opportunity to gather with friends and loved ones that we may not see as often during the year. A few weeks ago, I was invited to visit Santa where I had the opportunity to take these beautiful photos. I love the magic and wonder children have when they see jolly old Santa Claus, sharing with him what they would like and the trusting they have that he will bring them what they most desire.
I hope 2022 has been good to you. For me, it was a year of the unexpected, the type of amazing whirlwind changes that you never see coming but are so grateful for. If 2022 was not so good for you, there is always hope that 2023 will be better. Some years take your breath away and some years you would just as soon forget. We keep learning and trying as best we can to grow and evolve, that is the reason for this human experience. We need the lows to appreciate the highs, the sadness to fully appreciate the happiness, and go through the dark to finally see the light. Some years have tougher lessons than others. Practicing gratitude for it all will go a long way towards transformation.
Regardless of how 2022 has been, remember to always prioritize your well-being and mental health.
Some forms of self-care to practice:
Taking an aromatic bath
Taking time to savour your favourite food and drink
Meet with an old friend for tea and christmas goodies
Breath in the fresh air of winter on a trail
Journal all the people and things that amazed you about this year, and your hopes for what 2023 will bring
Watch a feel good movie at home
Self-massage with scented oils
Listening to a favourite Christmas playlist
Spend more time with your pet
Sleep well, perhaps with the help of a weighted blanket which is known to have a few health benefits
Yoga and meditation
Affirmations and visualizations
Hot chocolate, a great book, lounge chair and cozy socks or listening to audible and doing yin yoga/ light exercise (my personal favourites:)
Practice effective boundaries at holiday gatherings: share only what you feel comfortable with, and don't feel pressure to answer questions you would rather not. Carefully choose your company and only attend gatherings where when you imagine going, you actually feel good inside.
Manage your expectations: No one person can fulfill all your needs, even your partner. Take stock of what different people can be relied upon for bringing to the table and let go of the expectation that someone be supportive and available in all the ways you need. For example, a friend can be a great cook or fun to spend time with but not so good at providing comfort or emotional support. Your brother or sister could be really good at remembering special dates and occasions but not be so available when you need help with practical tasks. Your mom may be a great listener and regularly able to give you her full presence but not able to help with your children as often as you need. Your dad may be able to provide you good financial advice and lend/give you money whenever you need but its not as easy for him to appreciate a certain lifestyle choice you have made. Instead of focusing on where people disappoint you, choose to rely on them for things they have been good at in the past and focus on the good they bring to your life.
Most importantly: Remember to practice self-compassion. Silence your inner critic, don't give it time and energy. You are enough and will always be enough. Take the time to recharge your batteries so you can be fully present in all that you do. Self-compassion leads to more empathy for others and tends to have a global impact on all your relationships.
Please enjoy 'What Love is All About' by Johnny Reid, one of my favourite songs and a wonderful song to add to your holiday playlist.
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