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The 12 Days of Christmas – the gifts I give to me…

Dec 05, 2022

The gifts that keeps on giving

A couple of years ago in a seasonal blog, I talked about how important it is to look after yourself and at this time of year, when the focus is on present buying, I turned it around to what you could gift yourself. You may well remember the blog, but we don’t always do what we know… So, I thought it worth the reminder.

Self-care is so important because if we’re not OK, how can we be the best version of us – happy, confident, and feeling inspired? This in turn helps to create an environment for those we live and work with to also feel confident, inspired and happy. You cannot pour from an empty cup and when you think about the safety advice on airplanes, it’s always to put on your oxygen mask before helping anyone less able to help themselves. For how can you assist anyone, if you’re not in a position to do so…? It’s a great metaphor for life, isn’t it?

And so, my gift to you is my own version of the 12 Days of Christmas – a slightly different take but do sing it as it makes a difference…! It may not be as melodic or the words as poetic, but the intent is there and I hope you will take on board and think about ways you can help your wellbeing now, and for the year ahead.

On the 1st Day of Christmas, a gift I give to me:

A journal to write my thoughts down

Journaling can be such a cathartic process. Putting pen to paper and transferring your thoughts is like telling a trusted friend. You know it’s going no further and there’s no judgement or comeback. Sometimes when we can’t see the wood for the trees, the simple act of putting your thoughts on to paper is almost like a physical act of removing them from sitting in your head or being able to see them with a fresh perspective. You can write them down and return to them later which will give you time to reframe. Looking back, it’s interesting to see the journey you have been on – to look at how far you have come over the past 6, 12, 18 months. It can be quite a healing process for some. And who doesn’t love great stationary?! You can take your pick and get yourself something fabulous to write in and something to write with.

On the 2nd Day of Christmas, a gift I give to me:

A phone call with my very best friend

We rush through life and know that we’re thinking about the special people in our lives but how often do we make the time to drop them a text telling them that, or better still, calling them for a chat? The power of conversation to lift your mood – and theirs too - cannot be underestimated.  Downloading to talk through a challenge, perhaps a listening ear is all you need, or maybe purely and simply to have a belly ache laugh. Whatever the purpose, it’s good for the soul to connect with someone you love and trust, and who will have your back. And maybe they need you as a sounding board. It could be an opportunity for them to talk through something on their mind. Both of you will leave that conversation feeling better for talking it through. A problem shared is a problem halved eh?

On the 3rd Day of Christmas, a gift I give to me:

A good deed for my neighbour

A chat on the doorstep, taking the bin back, some homemade baked goods – each small act of kindness can help to lift the spirits of someone who might be in need of some good cheer. Sometimes, we’ve no idea the impact it can have on another, to make time for them, to hold space for them in your day. And the effect on you is warm and fuzzy, that you could have made the difference to someone who otherwise might have gone to bed feeling weary and sad after a fraught and maybe lonely day. Thinking of others rather than just ourselves has healing properties for us too. It helps to give us perspective on what other people go through. It’s food for thought when we might be lamenting about the problems we face. It doesn’t negate our challenges but helps to give us a view on what other people live through.

On the 4th Day of Christmas, a gift I give to me:

An entry in my Gratitude Journal

Which brings me neatly to the Gratitude Journal. Do you have one which you make entries in every day? Adding three, whether it’s when you wake up and reflect on the previous 24 hours, or perhaps you write in it before you go to sleep, helps you to notice the good things in life. Whether it be a gorgeous sunrise or sunset, the cashier’s friendly smile and conversation at the end of a hectic week’s shop, the train you just managed to catch that got you to your destination on time, or the cup of tea made by a loved one when they recognised it was much needed; all these things help when you’re feeling the world is against you, that you feel you’re having a run of bad days. A Gratitude Journal means you start looking for the chinks of light and can alter your view of life. If you’re not having such a great day, read back through your entries and it will help to give you a boost. And when you start to notice the good stuff and cultivate an attitude of gratitude, you’ll see even more of the great things in life.

On the 5th Day of Christmas, a gift I give to me:

The Gift of Time (Think Five Golden Rings when you sing this one!)

Ever say yes to something and then think ‘Oh sh*t! Wish I’d not agreed to do that!’ It’s that knee jerk response to a request or favour being asked. Whether it’s agreeing to stay late again to work on a new business pitch presentation, be the spokesperson of the group during some training, or agreeing to help with a community project, sometimes we agree too readily and then afterwards, perhaps feel we’ve bitten off more than we can chew. The key, when it’s possible, is to give yourself the gift of time by doing what we call on The Winning Edge - MUMMSing it – to Make Up My Mind Slowly. Granted, in some situations, it’s required that a quick decision is made but for the most part, you can slow things down and say that you will take some time to think about that one. It’s often appreciated when a well-informed and thought-out decision is made. If it helps you to feel more comfortable saying no, you could frame it like this: ‘It’s not against you, it’s for me.’

On the 6th Day of Christmas, a gift I give to me:

Affirmations to help me feel good.

Affirmations are like a mantra – something we repeat to ourselves daily and that can turn the negative we might feel about ourselves, into the positive. It’s about rewiring those neural pathways to boost your self-belief. Assumptive affirmations enable the brain to have something to work towards. Ensure the affirmations are in the now- rather than saying ‘I will…’ - if we make them in the now i.e. ‘I am…’, the brain gets to work making it so. Otherwise, it feels incongruent, and the brain doesn’t like that, so ensure you say what it is you want to be, do and have in the now, and then you can get to work making it happen! 80% of affirmations should be about the kind of person you want to be and 20% what you want to do and have. You first need to see yourself as the kind of person who can uplevel and both have and do the new things you desire. Then you’ll believe you can achieve and know you’re worthy of that success and happiness.

Remember: Nothing changes if nothing changes.

In my next blog, I'll bring you Part 2 of my 12 Days of Christmas.

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