Christmas for me has never really been about gifts or food. I love the Christmas lights and the carols and the feel good movies and soppy adverts and of course I enjoy the opportunity for a bit of overindulgence (who doesn’t like to eat mince pies for breakfast and not feel guilty). For me it is more about having the opportunity to just relax and enjoy being with family. I don’t buy into all the consumerism and hate to see the images on social media of presents piled high under peoples trees as though its a competition. Personally I just prefer a simple day sat by a roaring fire and a nice festive movie with a side helping of hot chocolate. Christmas can be whatever you want it to be and in a time where we are governed by rules its important to take time out to do what you want to do and make space in the day for your own indulgences.

At this time of year we are force fed images of perfect Christmas scenes with families sat merrily around a table loaded with goodies. We all aspire to have the ultimate “John Lewis” Christmas but for most of us the pressure is so high that we are setting ourselves up for failure. Some of my favourite Christmases have been when we haven’t followed the crowd and done our own thing. If you want to have beans on toast for Christmas lunch then that’s perfectly ok –the poor old turkeys deserve a break anyway. We live in a society that demands perfection and where we are constantly told that failure is not an option but I urge you all to lower your expectations and remember that its just one day and those twenty four hours will soon be over. You don’t have to be the perfect host or deliver the perfect gifts or dinner with fifteen side dishes. There is no need to put yourself under financial strain for one day. One of my best Christmases was when I was so financially strapped that I couldn’t even put fifty pence in my meter and spent most evenings sat in the dark under my duvet to keep warm. That year I made everyone biscuits because a bag of sugar, flour and butter where all I could afford and they were the best received presents I have ever given. In the past when I have told people I am not buying presents the response is always one of relief. All you really need to do is just relax and enjoy the opportunity to see the people that you love. Give people the gift of your time and attention – that is more precious and valuable than anything you can buy in a store.

Of course this is also a time of year when we reflect on the year gone by and start to look forward to that blank new canvas called 2021. I think this year more than ever it will be a significant milestone for many with the hope that the coming year will bring with it the end of this dreadful pandemic and the opportunity to live a less restricted life. I am looking forward to all that the New Year brings and the opportunity to deliver my Reset and Refresh programme. The Power of You has had an extraordinary response this year and I’m grateful that we have been able to transform so many lives in 2020. We have lots of exciting plans for the coming months but our main priority never changes. We urge you all to put your own oxygen mask on first. Making time for self care and looking after your own well being both mentally and physically is not selfish – its critical.

So have yourself a different kind of Christmas and one that is filled with things that you love to do whether that be a long bath away from everyone, a walk on a deserted beach or even staying in bed watching horror films! Ditch the guilt and embrace indulging you – you deserve it!!

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