Week Four of Advent focuses on the Theme of Love.  Tapping into this natural emotion can have a really simple and positive impact on our mental and emotional wellbeing at Christmastime. 

Love can feature in many parts of our lives, experienced through support, compassion, reassurance, friendship, or camaraderie with family, loved ones, work colleagues, neighbours, old friends.  Through simple and mindful actions we can make others feel loved, we can enrich our own wellbeing by engaging in some of the simple activities we love doing, and practicing self-love and compassion towards ourselves this Christmas can have positive benefits now, and for the year to come. 

During Week Four of Advent, here are some ways we can keep the theme of Love in mind this Christmas. 

Sharing moments of Love with others

Showing love in our own subtle and thoughtful ways, through shared feelings and actions, can make others feel loved this Christmas, letting them know they are in our thoughts and hearts.  Those traditions of connecting over Christmas, giving the gift of time, and sharing a moment with others, whether in person or virtually, can have hugely beneficial impacts.  These simple but precious moments can help others to feel loved, valued, and respected.  

Simple gestures, time spent, a fleeting ‘Merry Christmas,’ or ‘how are you getting on’ conversation might seem like a small gesture, but these simple gestures can help ignite positive and uplifting feelings in us and in others, enriching our mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Many of us may be missing loved ones this Christmas, and the continued rise of Covid-19 and fear of new restrictions might be making this feel even more difficult.  We can share moments of love this Christmas by catching up with those we love in whatever ways we can, sharing memories, old photographs,  a phone call, or simply taking some time to remember love that has been shared, and that lives on in our hearts. 

Making time for the things we Love doing this Christmas

The activities and pastimes we love and enjoy can bring us support, and help to replenish our energy reserves, especially during a challenging year.  This is because doing the things we love can help to focus our minds, and support us to remember what it feels like to spend enjoyable time.  Often, these are the very activities we forget to make time for when life get busy. 

This week, try making some time for the things you love and enjoy doing.  These might be games or sports, walking with a pet, an old box-set from childhood, an album you haven’t listened to in a while, those ‘good’ winter coats or hats that might only come out once a year but bring some comfort and joy, or perhaps baking an old festive favourite with that bit of extra time afforded over the Christmas period.  

Spending this time doing the things we love can help us to feel supported, replenish our energy, and improve our overall feeling of wellbeing.  

Practicing Self-Compassion towards ourselves 

Considering the many challenges we have and are facing this year, it is more important than ever to remember to be loving and compassionate towards ourselves this Christmas.

When we are run off our feet or worrying about things to come, we might find ourselves getting caught up in negative self-talk – giving out to ourselves, or being hard on ourselves.  This can make it difficult to remember to make that very important space to be compassionate towards ourselves, as well as others.  Making this space for self-compassion and love can help us to slow down, connecting with more positive and supportive thoughts and feelings.

If we notice ourselves getting caught up over the small things this week, or giving ourselves too hard a time, take a moment to pause, and practice instead being a little kinder to ourselves.  This simple act can help us to feel important moments of self-love, and compassion. 

A final thought…

The Theme of Love this advent week can be expressed in the simple moments we share with others, the enjoyment we find in doing the things we love and enjoy, and in the compassion we show ourselves as we take pause to be kind to ourselves this advent.  With Christmas just around the corner and the end of 2020 now drawing near, we might also keep the other themes of advent in mind, remembering Hope, Peace, Joy, as well as Love this Christmas, and into the New Year. 

This post featured as an article in The Midland Tribune on 24th December 2020.