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Self Care at Christmas by Dr Poppy Gibson

With Christmas quickly approaching, whether you are someone who celebrates Christmas or not, the effects and ripples of the festive season ultimately touch us all. This short post reflects upon 3 ways to implement simple selfcare this season to nurture your wellbeing; Reflect, celebrate tradition, and give.

REFLECT: Reflection is a useful tool at this time of year, as we have some space to consider what has gone well and what things we may wish to change for the coming year. If you work, are you happy in your role? If you are seeking work, how can you increase your chances of employment through seeking help with your CV or interview skills, or make some time for a free online course over the winter break to add more skills to your skillset. If you are someone who enjoys writing, you may with to write down your reflections in a notebook; perhaps write down some expectations for the new year, or some behaviours and qualities you wish to aim to practice. Writing down our reflections sometimes brings them more clearly into our mind rather than fleeting thoughts.


CELEBRATE (OR START!) TRADITION: As humans, traditions and rituals can be very empowering for us, and can support our wellbeing through feelings of accomplishment. As a starting point, did you have any favourite traditions around Christmas time as a child? Did you eat or drink anything special; did you visit anywhere; did you decorate your home? You may wish to reinstate these traditions into your current Christmas, which gives you chance to reflect upon your childhood (we are back to that first step again!); or you may wish to find and celebrate some new activities that can become your new traditions. Maybe it will be about visiting a special place on Christmas eve; making a special breakfast on Christmas morning; or watching a certain film on Christmas night with a favourite snack. Each year, you can then have these traditions to revisit and look forward to.


GIVE: As we voyage through times of economic uncertainty and hardship, I want to start by saying giving isn’t about money. If you are able, consider adding a small extra food item to your food shop when you visit the supermarket; a tin of beans or a bag of pasta, and put it in the food bank box usually behind the checkout. But if you don’t have money to spend, you can give perhaps the most precious commodity we have: your time. You can give as big or small as you are able; if you have time to spare, could you volunteer at your local soup kitchen to help give out food to those without a home this Christmas? Or if that isn’t possible, think about ways you can spread happiness, and in turn feel happy too, by checking in on people over this season, which can be isolating for many. Pop a Christmas card through a neighbour’s letterbox; text a friend you haven’t heard from in a while; email that old contact who you lost touch with. Ring someone who would love a chat and just be there to listen. And when you come across people through this festive period, serving you in a shop, in the café, spread that kindness by wishing them a merry Christmas.

Often we find that, when we give more, more comes back to us too.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

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