Spend advent differently this year.
Forget the rushing and stressing and spending this year. Shall we instead aim to bring awareness and intention to this season? Shall we strive to enjoy the last month of the year as much as possible?
I have decided to enjoy advent this year, with 2 guiding themes –
- Self-focus: I have added myself to the top of my priority list
- Balance: with the aim of achieving equanimity.
I love advent. I love the magic of the season and the connection with others. I enjoy planning and preparation and organising. I enjoy celebrating and looking back at the year almost passed, and looking forward to what is to come. But, it can be an overwhelmingly busy time of year juggling a longer to-do list with fun events and end of year work.
Again, I love all the activities, but things can feel excessive as so many of them require us to send our energy outwards.
Yesterday I went to see a homoeopath, because I was feeling entirely spent, emotionally, and I needed some external support. My visit with her confirmed what I had been thinking: that if I spend some time looking after myself and send some energy back inwards to myself, I and the whole family are likely to benefit.
So this is what I plan to do.
1. Spend Advent Differently – Self-Focus
This year in my endeavour to spend advent differently, I will be checking in with myself regularly. I will be caring for myself in simple ways.
I will continue with the habits that serve me, and let go of those that don’t. And I invite you to do the same.
After many years the time has come for me to put myself back at the centre of my world. Perhaps the time has come for you to do the same?
I believe that besides my own benefit, my daughters will win too, twofold:
- I will become a centred, more fulfilled version of myself and so nicer to be around!
- they will observe and learn from my simple, practical self-care.
Every day I will continue to:
- write it out
- drink a glass of water before anything else touches my lips
I will also continue to:
- set intentions for the day ahead and the week ahead
- be clear on my 3 item to-do list for the day, and do no more
- get outdoors for fresh air and exercise, which makes most things better
I will not:
- forget my needs, or forget to enjoy
- run myself ragged so my daughters get the worst of me
- attempt to live up to external expectations that do not serve our family
Do you have others that depend on you for support?
Do you give yourself the same degree of time and energy that you freely send out to others?
What will you do this advent to bring some of your focus back to you?
What brings you joy? Can you do more of that?
What could you do to lighten a few moments in your day? What simple pleasures are under your nose right now?
Self-awareness comes from focusing on ourselves and getting to know ourselves again.
It allows us to become aware of our strengths and challenges, and move through life more consciously and intentionally.
Through my experience of desiring and creating change in my life, I have come to understand that my self-awareness has often been half the solution to my transformation or healing.
For example, I am aware that I tend to keep myself busy; so with this knowledge, I now ensure I sit in silence every day, take time to drink a glass of water, and also journal.
I am also aware that I used to say yes too often; so with that knowledge, I have now ensured that I don’t always put my hand up, and with that small inaction, some resentment had dissipated, and so my quality of life has improved. I also have more time to be present with my beloved girls.
Awareness of our strengths can also help us to feel better in challenging times. And we are living in challenging times.
Many of us spend the bulk of our time working. We have bills to pay, people to feed and lifestyles to maintain so this is entirely understandable. However, how many times do we keep on working, when we have done enough for a day?
I now have the awareness to know that I do this frequently, and so I have decided for the month of December to step back from overworking and step towards presence with my 2 daughters before they grow up and no longer want my company.
2. Spend Advent Differently – Balance
I will spend advent differently and seek to restore the balance between:
- doing (working, entertaining, productivity) and being (resting),
- external (socialising, going on outings) and internal (meditation, writing, self-care),
- outward (physical, social) and inward (cooking, creating) activities.
If we go on an outing, we will balance it by spending time at home. If we have a busy social day, we will balance it by having some quiet time. If I spend a day rushing around getting things done, I will spend some equivalent time resting.
This will be hard for a busy person like me because I am not a natural rester. Although I aspire to a simple beautiful life, it is definitely not always simple. So this intention for balance is likely to support my personal growth, which is always a good thing.
The aim of seeking this balance is to simplify the season and make it more enjoyable. It is to live with intention and to improve the quality of our life.
I want my daughters to remember advent as a joyful time. I don’t want their festive memories to be of an overbooked end of year slog with an overwhelmed, crabby mother who didn’t have time for anyone because she was so busy rushing around in an attempt to do all the things.
At every moment we can choose our reactions. To a large extent, we can be more intentional about the lives we create.
Choosing a season of balance is to me a good start.
When making intentional shifts in my life through habit change, I like to make it as easy as possible for myself. I have found 3 things to be of great help:
- setting myself a challenge (a season of self focus and balance)
- within a time period (advent)
- with some form of accountability (I have written it down!).
I have found that setting myself challenges over a set time period and holding myself accountable – whether writing about it or being in a group, has worked well. I have written previously about challenges I have undertaken.
I find that challenges help steer me towards my goals more easily and so progress becomes easier. I like organisation and structure as it gives me a sense of clarity, so I categorise these challenges into 4 life quadrants – so I know I have covered all areas of my life. I have written before about using the 4 categories of our life to support and monitor progress:
- self, and
So with the overarching goals of self-focus and balance, and with these 4 categories in mind, this December I have challenged myself to:
- drink 5 smoothies a week (health)
- complete my biokinetics exercises 5 times a week (health)
- prepare ahead and scale work back to the necessary basics (wealth)
- be aware of prioritising myself along with my other priorities throughout the days (self)
- be aware of the balance between the inward and outward activities, including rest (social)
Spend advent differently this year. Join me in simplifying this magical season, so you can enjoy spending time with your family and friends, without the dread of getting through everything you feel that you should.
Take stock of how YOU want to spend this time. Could you make some small changes that will allow you a little space? We don’t need to seek perfection, only small shifts in how we spend our energy and time. Because small shifts in our actions can add up to big changes in our lives.
Take some time for yourself today.
I created a simple checklist for getting through our days well. It includes things like meditation and drinking a glass of water and setting intentions – simple things that can make a world of difference in your life.
If you want to start focusing on yourself again – grab it here.
If you want to start getting to know yourself again – here it is.
If you want to start creating a life you enjoy – start here.
Do you want to spend advent differently this year? here is a simple start
Maybe the time has come to put yourself back on the priority list again – this is for you.
It might be the start of the transformation you desire.
As always – thanks for reading.