Christmas can be a tough time of year with so many mixed emotions. I don’t know about you, but special occasions like the festive season, can plunge me into deep reflection and the losses I have experienced throughout my life come to haunt me like the ghosts of past, present and future.

It’s natural for the losses we feel to be magnified at this time of year, so be gentle with yourself, know you are not alone and give yourself permission to feel sad.

Here’s my 5 tips on caring for yourself during the festive season:

  1. Know that’s it’s okay to say no.  If you don’t feel like attending an event or gathering don’t feel that you have to. It’s okay to say no. If you do go, go with someone you feel supported by and discuss a plan to be able to leave if things get overwhelming. I always used the bathroom, as a space I could retreat to if I needed a quiet moment, to cry or take some deep breaths.
  2. Journal. It can be really therapeutic to have your own private space to write down your thoughts, feelings and experiences. Writing things down can help get things out of your head, gain clarity and untangle the jumble.
    Get yourself a beautiful notebook or journal and pen and express yourself however you wish. There’s no right or wrong way, shout, swear, let the tears flow and splash upon the page, this is your space to share your innermost feelings, thoughts, worries, fears and dreams that you might not feel able to share with anyone else.
  3. Take time out to do things that bring you joy. Things can get busy, so be sure to take time out to do the things you enjoy most, with the people who light you up and make you feel good. It can be as simple as lighting a candle, curling up with your favourite hot drink, under your cosiest blanket with a good book or watching a feel good movie. Embrace those beautiful moments that make you feel all warm and fuzzy and being a smile and laughter to your lips.
  4. Get out into nature. Nature is a wonderful space to find some calm, stillness and connection with ourselves and the beautiful world around us and has been proven to be hugely beneficial for mental health. Perhaps a walk amongst the trees, a touch of star gazing or a walk beside the ocean, whatever your heart calls for.
  5. Reflect on who and what you feel grateful for. Reflecting on the things and people that we’re grateful for can really help to soothe and uplift an aching heart and remind us of all the good in our life. Try writing down 3 things you’re grateful for at the end of each day, from the small things like a moment of laughter, hearing your favourite song, that first sip of your favourite drink, sharing a smile with a stranger or seeing the magic and beauty in nature, to the bigger things like the people who love and support you. When we bring our awareness to gratitude, it’s amazing just how many good things there are around us.

Lastly, here’s an affirmation to wrap you up in gentleness…

“My feelings are valid.

I honour the losses that I feel by giving myself the space and time to hold myself gently in loving compassion and whisper to my heart, I love you, I am listening”.

Be gentle with yourself and never forget the wonderful, kind, resilient and amazing human being that you are. You have so much to offer the world and the world is a more beautiful place for having you in it.

Loving and grieving with you.

Your MRKH Sister,

Amanda xo