2020 has not been a great year for everyone, has it? For me, personally, COVID-19 did not affect my life too much compared to others. Sure we had lockdown restrictions and social distancing which meant not being able to see my beloved family, especially my grandsons. We were unable to visit my Mother-In-Law who was in aged care as regularly because of extra precautions taken to keep the residents healthy. However, I have to be honest and say that many others suffered and are still suffering from the affects of COVID much more than I.
I was travelling along okay for most of 2020 and even managed to complete some courses online. Life was okay, if not perfect until 17th October, when we received the call to say my MIL had had a stroke and was not expected to survive. This was totally unexpected and she passed peacefully on 29th October.
My husband, in particular, was obviously grief-stricken and certainly not in a Festive Mood as the Festive season approached.
So, why then am I doing my #25daycountdowntoahappychristmas again this year? I think it is a way for me to process my grief, as we all react in different ways to loss.
I need to bring some joy into not only my life but to the lives of all who have had such an ‘annus horribilus’.
What is my #25daycountdowntoahappychristmas?
I did this a couple of years ago with videos. Each day I would look into my Advent calendar and pull out a note I had written which was all about bringing happiness to each day in some way. This year, I’m not making the videos but I’m still sharing the thoughts daily in the Women Living Well Facebook Group. Here are days 1 – 12 for you to catch up with and perhaps you might like to join the group and follow daily. I’ll be posting Days 13 – 25 later but we don’t just need happiness now, we need it daily so the thoughts will still be relevant.
Day 1 – Reassess to Reduce the Stress
A surefire way to reduce stress leading up to Christmas and the festive season is to have a plan and avoid over-committing yourself. For my Reassess to Reduce the Stress I have my calendar and trusty planner from kikki.K to help me. I’m prioritising what I need to do before Christmas and what can wait until the New Year. Plus I’m making a list and checking it twice just like Santa.
My lists will keep me organised and ensure I don’t forget anything or anyone!
Day 2 – Deck the Halls and Decorate
Deck the halls and Decorate!It has only been a month since we lost my Mother-in-law but I always remember her helping to decorate the tree at her aged care home.
She felt so much joy feeling useful and getting into the festive spirit. Although it is difficult experiencing special times after losing a loved one, I still put our tree up on the weekend and paused to think about her and how much she loved Christmas.
How do you deck the halls and decorate?
Day 3 – Celebrate Traditions
Do you have a Christmas tradition? I have several but one is my favourite. Each year I buy a decoration for my grandsons for their Christmas Tree. I still have some that my Mother had for her tree which I’ve passed on to my daughter. This year I purchased to handcrafted decorations from The German Christmas Shop.
Day 4 – Get back to nature and feel the earth beneath your toes
It is so easy to get caught up in the hurly burly of preparations for Christmas. Taking time out to appreciate nature and just enjoying your surroundings can help reduce stress and bring peace.
I’m very lucky to live by the ocean. Who wouldn’t feel relaxed walking along with this view?
How do you reconnect with nature to reduce stress?
Day 5 – Remembering Christmas past
I’ve had some lovely times at Christmas during my life and it is good to stop and reflect on Christmas as a child or a Christmas that has special memories for you. I was looking back at my photos of when I was a child. Don’t you love the shoes and bow on my hair?
My Mum and Dad didn’t have much but they certainly filled our house with love and happiness especially at Christmas time. I always think of my Mum and Dad at this time of year. They both passed away over 30 years ago but are always in my thoughts.
I remember one year they gave me a tape cassette player and recorded a message from ‘Santa’ plus they sang White Christmas by Bing Crosby. Each time I hear that song I am reminded of them.
Do you have a special Christmas that you remember?
Day 6 – Don’t wrap gifts, wrap someone in a hug
Is there someone in your life who could do with a hug at this time of year? Especially this year which has been pretty tough for us all.
Perhaps you just want to show your love with a hug.
It is a good time to stop and forget about the Christmas wrapping and the hustle and bustle of the year. Make sure those around you are feeling good and if you know someone who needs a hug or maybe you just need to ask them if they are ok.
Mental health at this time of year is very important as some this may not be a happy time of year as what they would like.I love this photo taken back in 2018 – there is nothing like a hug with your grandchildren.
Day 7 – Bing or Buble who is on your Christmas playlist?
Growing up, my parents loved Bing Crosby especially ‘I’m dreaming of a White Christmas’ even though we live in Australia and December is Summer time.
I remember one year they gave me a cassette player and recorded a message from ‘Santa’ plus them singing White Christmas. I wish I still had that.Now it is easy to put together your playlist for the holidays using Spotify.
What is your favourite Christmas song?
Day 8 – Take time for yourself
This time of year is a good excuse to make an appointment to be pampered. I love going to the hair salon, having my nails done and maybe even a facial. At home, a relaxing bubble bath is always pampering to me.
What do you do to pamper yourself?
Day 9 -Reach out to others and make their day. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
2020 has not been an easy year and many are still living under the restrictions imposed because of COVID-19. Now more than ever we need to reach out and bring love and joy to others.
Day 10 – Indulge in some holiday reading
Day 11 – Celebrating friendship
Many friendships are formed throughout our life, some for just a time, others lifelong. The special friendships are those we don’t have to work at, they come easily and understand that life can be busy but it doesn’t mean we aren’t there for each other. Do you have a special friendship like this?
Day 12 – Take a moment away from wrapping the presents and be ‘present’ in the moment.
Planning, shopping, cooking, wrapping gifts, catching up with family and friends (COVID permitting)the ‘busyness’ of the Festive can overwhelm and take the joy out of our day.Make some time each day to be present in the moment and reflect on who and what brings joy to your life.