Join me during December as I count down ten tips for practicing self-care during the stressful festive season.
At this time of year, people often find themselves reflecting on what has or hasn’t changed in the past year, and wondering about what is to come. You may even be thinking about what life’s all about. Studies show us that a higher sense of purpose is actually linked to better health! People who have a stronger sense of meaning tend to:
- Eat better
- Exercise more
- Have less body inflammation, which is linked to a multitude of diseases
- Have reduced cardiovascular disease
- Have more physical reserve to cope with illness
- Maintain independence for longer
- Have slower cognitive decline
- And be more proactive in self-care.
- It may even make you live longer!
Often, people latch onto obvious roles such as parenting and work to shape their identity or purpose. But jobs change, retirement comes eventually, and children become independent.
These changes can be incredibly difficult for some people to come to terms with. But losing a big role like this also gives you the space to explore a whole heap of new possibilities to fill those gaps. It’s never too late to start new things, find new friends, take up a new hobby.
We all have some restrictions on what we can do due to health, finances, circumstances and responsibilities. But have a think about what you do have control over, and how you can shape that into something that gives you meaning. This could be things that contribute to the others or the community, or they may be personal interests or goals. They can be big complicated ventures, or a smaller short-term projects. It may be:
- Looking after grandchildren
- Setting a fitness goal
- Writing a blog
- Religion or spirituality
- Learning new things
- Travelling and exploring
- Joining a club – a book club, community garden
- Starting your own group – a walking group, making crafts for charity, a card group
- Writing a memoir, or just jotting down some memories and life lessons to pass on to grandchildren
Perhaps you are already clear on your purpose in life and what brings it meaning. Or maybe you have never thought about it so deliberately. An inkling of meaning hidden in there somewhere, but not defined or clear. If this is you, writing down your thoughts as you go can be helpful. Putting pen to paper and forming thoughts into written sentences can help you clarify and process ideas more clearly. Asking a good friend or partner for their opinion on this can also be enlightening – sometimes they have insight into our values, skills and place in the world that is less obscured by the ‘overthinking’ we tend to do!
I challenge you to clarify your sense of meaning over this holiday season!
Over the past nine days I have been sharing tips to reduce stress and improve wellbeing over the festive season. If you missed the last post sharing some helpful relaxation techniques, you can find it here. To make sure you don’t miss the the last post in this series tomorrow, or to keep up to date with my future posts, you can follow me on Facebook, sign up for my emails, join my Facebook group, or simply check back in on my website!