Advent Week 2: Peace

Week Two of Advent invites us to be Peaceful. It’s important to recognise that Peace means something different to each of us. For some this might mean personal time, a quiet coffee, a short walk, for others it could be connecting with favourite Christmas festivities. 

Christmas is often a time for celebration and relaxation, but it can also be a stressful time of year. It can be tough to enjoy seasonal festivities if we feel unbalanced, or under an imagined pressure to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas every year. 

Balancing personal and festive time, creating a peaceful space, and striving for a balanced and peaceful Christmas can help us to look after our wellbeing through advent.   

Here are some tips to help maintain peace of mind, supporting our mental and emotional wellbeing this Christmas:

Embrace balance in our personal time, personal space, and festive activities

This Christmas, finding our natural balance is going to be important. During times of change, familiar traditions can be a great comfort to us, when they are not accessible in the same way it can feel like a loss. This can interfere with our natural balance, cause feelings of disappointment, and disrupt our peace of mind. 

Christmas is traditionally a time for socialising, which can do our mood the world of good. Perhaps that cup of tea and mince pie with certain friends and loved ones is off the table this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace technology and organise a digital tea and mince pie. While perhaps not the same, this means we don’t miss out on the positive emotions we get when we connect with others. 

Often we can get caught up in what Christmas means for others. It is also ok to say no to some festive invitations if we feel we need a little personal time over these weeks. Embracing a balance of personal and festive activities this Christmas can help us to feel more at peace and at ease. 

Create a Peaceful Space 

Navigating Covid means this is going to be a particularly challenging festive season; Christmas is going to be different. With some restrictions on shopping we have to plan ahead. Last minute dashes for sprouts, or black pudding for the breakfast mean a very different experience this year. By planning ahead we can reduce the likelihood of stressful events. 

It is important to remember that there are things we can do, and things we can’t do this year.  By accepting that there will be some limitations to what we can do this year, we encourage a more peaceful space around us. 

Take a moment to reflect on the things that mean something special to you at Christmas, and try to create some time for them. These will be those personal moments and memories that allow us to reset and enjoy meaningful Christmas experiences.  Recognising limitations and also embracing opportunities can help us to feel more at peace with this new reality. 

Strive for a peaceful rather than a perfect Christmas 

There can be a lot of preparation and a tendency towards perfection at Christmas. We can run the risk of arriving into the Christmas period already tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed. This desire to deliver the perfect Christmas every year can disrupt our own peace of mind, and wellbeing. 

If we notice we are starting to feel drained, running on empty, or even panicking about how much we have to do, it can be useful to stop and ask ourselves; is this really needed? Can I let this one go?  Take a moment throughout the day to check in with ourselves. Consider what is going to bring the most benefit – picking up an extra last minute pudding, or having an extra few moments of quality stress-free time. 

This can remind us that perhaps this year a peaceful Christmas means more than a perfect Christmas. Some things can be right for right now, bringing a few moments of ‘peaceful’ joy, without needing to be ‘perfect’ joy. 

A final thought…

Christmas is unique to everyone.  It can be both a gift and a challenge for many reasons.  The long wait to celebrate Christmas this year can create its own pressures, as we try to make this a good Christmas.  Balancing personal time with seasonal festivities, creating a peaceful space, embracing things that are meaningful to us, and striving for a peaceful rather than a perfect Christmas can help to maintain the balance.  

Remember, we can’t manage everything this year, and finding the right way to create peaceful moments and magic memories can help our peace of mind this advent. 

-This post featured as an article in The Midland Tribune on 10th December 2020.