You might say that joy and peace, in equal measure, create a perfect Christmas.
If the joy is represented by all manner of Christmas gatherings (office ones, family ones, friendship ones, Christmas meals out, carol concerts…) I’d have to say that I’m more into the peace than the joy! I don’t even burn the candle at one end, let alone two.
But balance is key, so my aim this Christmas is to throw caution to the wind, and crank up the joy element a tad by getting out more.
I suspect I’m in the minority with my peaceful Christmases. Not everyone has (or wants) that luxury, particularly if you’ve got a huge turkey to roast, and Brussels sprouts for twelve people to peel. If you have any spare time after that, you might prefer to get your party pants on rather than don your dressing gown and throw another log on the fire. And why not? It is Christmas, after all.
But in the interests of balance, how can we bring peace and joy (and by joy I mean socialising and general merriment) into more equal measure? In the midst of all the action and noise, how can we find ways to bring some quiet into our December days?
It can be as simple as taking time to notice the stillness beneath the excitement and bustle. This is a wonderful practice to develop.
The peace is always there, just like the silence behind the musical notes of a Christmas carol. But you must look for it, or it will be missed. Try to do this at least once or twice daily as an aid to your wellbeing.
Walking in nature, meditating on your breath, journaling, crafting and reading are just some of the ways you can make space for stillness and silence.
Christmas is often bright and glitzy, all sparkle and tinsel. But the traditional Christmas, with the beauty of the night sky and the three wise men following the North Star, is set against a backdrop of darkness. Darkness is soothing and healing, and it helps us to relax.
Winter’s solstice – the shortest and darkest day – is mostly lost among all the bright lights and excited preparation. This year, we could help to bring this more into balance, by making a promise to ourselves to acknowledge December 22nd, perhaps with a long soak and flickering scented candles. Simply noticing and silently acknowledging the solstice can be enough to bring about a more peaceful energy that taps into our wellbeing.
And if we can manage to find these peaceful moments, it won’t just benefit ourselves, but others too. The stillness might allow us space to remember a neighbour who lives alone, or a charity that could do with some help. We may think to offer a donation, take round a gift, send a card, pop over for a chat, extend an invitation, or give our time. Even the very energy of our kind thoughts and good wishes is a positive contribution to the true spirit of Christmas.
Bringing these softer, gentler elements into our Christmas cheer to create more balance can help to make it a Winter of Wellbeing not just for ourselves, but for everyone!