Resilience, Christmas & Lockdown – The greatest gift you can give yourself this year

Have you ever wondered what would be the greatest gift you could give yourself for Christmas this year? Even though many of us would love The Child ‘Baby Yoda’ from Star Wars soft toy (actually predicted to be the number one selling toy this year) there’s actually something that would give us all some comfort and joy. Especially considering Christmas is going to be a tad different this year with all the restrictions in place.

Christmas was always a very stressful time of year for many people anyway. I guess, the stresses we have this year might be a little different to the stresses we’ve had in previous years.

So, I have five Achievement Thinking resilience building strategies you can do that will bring you good tidings of comfort and joy over the festive period.

1)  PERFECTION IS A POOR TARGET TO AIM FOR

Even though the number of visitors may be smaller this year, your family and friends are coming to see each other and enjoy each other’s company, nobody will be checking the house and garden and giving you marks for the most perfect abode. Tidy up by all means, sort whatever you need to sort but don’t get stressed if you don’t finish before Christmas. It doesn’t really matter. Considering we’ve been peeping in to each others homes on Zoom or MS Teams I don’t think people care anymore anyway.

2) JUST SAY ‘NO’

If there’s something you really don’t want to do, or you feel put upon, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, or you think you’ll overstretch yourself, or you feel uncomfortable doing then politely say ‘no’. I know that can be difficult to do in some circumstances, you’ll have to play this one by ear.

3) BUDGET THEN JUDGE IT 

Many people overspend at Christmas and end up in debt (or a bigger debt) in the New Year. Decide how much money you can really afford to spend. Set a budget then for every item just judge it. Ask yourself should you really spend that much on it? Is there a less expensive alternative? Note I said ‘less expensive’ and not ‘cheap’, there is a difference.

4) THINK ABOUT THE ONE THING THAT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD AND DO IT

What would that be? A family gathering? Obviously a small one this year. A special present? Being with a special person? Choose that one thing and invest your time and energy in that.

5) FIND THINGS TO PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE

What puts a smile on your face? Would it be a film? A comedy radio programme or podcast? Dancing round the kitchen to ‘All I want for Christmas is You’ by Mariah Carey? Reading a book? What would it be? Save it for Christmas day and enjoy.

Or could it be something very unusual and creative. For instance, for many of us Christmas is all about family and in particular children. I love kids, specifically between the ages of five and seven, as they’re just about getting a grasp of how the world works and yet haven’t quite got it right, which makes them so entertaining. Every year, I read my little collection of letters I’ve acquired from various sources, all written by children to God. Let me warm up your chuckle muscles, enjoy:

They all start “Dear God,”

“I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family and I can never do it.” – Noah

“If we come back as something, please don’t let me be Jennifer Horton because I hate her.” – Kelly

“Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each as much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.” – George

“If you give me a genie lamp like Aladdin I will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set.” – Amy

“We read Thomas Edison made light. But in Sunday school they said you did it. So I bet he stoled your idea.” – Saskia

Perhaps the greatest gift of all to give yourself is…

Having said all that, I suppose the greatest gift you could give yourself this Christmas would probably be… a little time to yourself. Do something you really enjoy doing and spend 15, 30, 45 minutes or an hour doing it. For you it might be going for a walk, playing a musical instrument, listening to music or simply being… still.

Whatever it is do it and lose yourself in the moment.

FINALLY

So what’s the greatest gift you’ll give yourself this Christmas?

By the way, my favourite letter a child once wrote to God is…

“Thank you for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy.” – Mary

And talking of puppies, here’s a thought of my own for you to ponder.

It’s said that this is the season of good will. In my humble opinion, good will is just like a puppy, it’s not just for Christmas… it’s for life : )

Merry Christmas.

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