A Different Kind of Christmas List

At Christmas time our levels of busy-ness increase to new heights.

Complete your work, close out the year, prepare for festivities, juggle the kids’ nativities, buy and wrap the presents, visit as many people as possible and then…maybe then relax!

Often this time of year is also one of reflection.

The start of a new year triggers an inner dialogue about our successes of the past year and raises questions on our impact.

Focusing on our achievements though is (often) always a fleeting moment….

…a quick run through the past 12 months in our heads, a swift acknowledgement and then we quickly move on to setting our goals for 2020.

So…this Christmas….I’d like to invite you to pause.

First, grab a pen and piece of paper.

Then think about 5 accomplishments in 2019, big or small. Professional or personal. Any shape or size.

Only one small rule. Don’t be influenced by what others would say your accomplishments have been. Allow yourself to be free thinking. What did you achieve which gave YOU the biggest kicks or pleasure?

Make sure you get to 5. No cheating by writing down 3!

Now read them out… to yourself… and out loud.

How did you feel? Proud? Happy? Write down how you feel…

This is a different kind of Christmas list — because the list is the gift itself.

We rarely capture our accomplishments along the journey, so this is a great record to keep. Writing this down and playing it back will also boost your wellbeing.

At this time of year, with everything else going on, invest in yourself for a few moments. Indulge in celebrating your successes. Feel good about your impact on the world and others.

If you enjoyed the experience of writing the list — it’s just a basic form of ‘journaling’ where you remind yourself of happy moments, accomplishments or thoughts.

Over the past few years, the idea of journaling for mental health issues has been widely researched looking at the positive benefits for stress and depression. There is also research which suggests journaling can boost the physical aspects of your health like your immune system.

Many schools are also trialling Journaling with kids to help with childhood anxiety and are seeing some fantastic results.

There are many books out there on the subject and whilst I am no expert, here are a few ideas I have seen work well:

Christmas List

A once a year journaling of accomplishments. Useful at stressful times of the year to ground you and can help as a pick me up.

Gratitude Journaling

Every day recording of things you are grateful for — like your health, friends, loved ones. This is a great boost when the world is darkened with sad news. Helps remind you of the good around you.

Daily One Sentence Journaling

No essays required. Most good book shops have self-dating-5-year-diaries for journaling which will help you to start small with a sentence or word a day.

Guided Journals

Many celebrities have published books over the past few years on ‘guided’ journaling where they give you a question a day to speak the narrative in your mind to journal something different.

I’ve just seen Michelle Obama has just released one to accompany her fabulous ‘Becoming’ autobiography. (If my husband is reading this — this is on my REAL Christmas List!)



Video Journaling

There are some great apps out there too where you can record a couple of seconds per day and it patches the clips together for a journal experience on video. Quite nice of you are starting a new job to show your feelings through the journey.

Indulge in yourself this Christmas. Experiment and see what works for you!

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