This month you may find you are having to change your daily schedule, getting back to work or starting back with your unit as a new term begins, and we can all benefit from pacing ourselves. We will probably have goals in mind and may need help to achieve those goals. We all know that there’s been some big changes as well at Girlguiding Anglia with a new chief’s team.
You may need a strategy for dealing with changes that come your way, either unexpectedly or as part of your plans. Acceptance, asking for help, finding a pace that suits us, establishing goals that we can look forward to are just some of the ways to make our busy lives more manageable and get the most from our choices. If you want a fun book to give a perspective on change, why not read ‘Who moved my cheese?’ by Dr Spencer Johnson, or watch this summary on YouTube.
Do we ever wonder what it might be like to be in WAGGGS in another country? When we think ‘outside the box’ does this help us be more sympathetic to our fellow guiders? Travelling abroad for our summer break or even just to another part of the country helps us learn ‘outside the box’; seeing new places, meeting different cultures and being in a new context are all ways to expand our horizons. We can even put our problems into perspective by seeing the bigger picture. This website has some interesting musings on ‘the bigger picture’: https://lenasamford.com/how-to-see-the-bigger-picture/ and here you can check out the WAGGGS website: https://www.wagggs.org/en/
After a possible whirlwind of Christmas and other celebrations you may be looking forward to a time of renewal and we know the days become gradually longer although the light doesn’t seem to visibly change much in January. Can we make the most of the dark by storing up plans for the Spring and getting out in the few hours of daylight we have? Breathing outdoors in the winter cold can be invigorating and help beat the ‘winter blues’. This website has some interesting information about movement in the winter months and is a supportive community group to join to help your exercise at a time of year it’s most difficult to motivate ourselves physically: https://redtogether.co.uk/
Indoor activity like swimming or gym work can be a good option if the cold is too much. Spas and saunas are wonderfully warming when it’s cold outside, there’s bound to be one near you. We know that saunas have been used for many hundreds of years in the Scandanavian region and northern hemisphere, helping us to relax, heat our body in cold climates, inducing sweating and detoxifying our skin. It’s not for everyone but there’s plenty of online advice about health benefits and risks; see this site for example:
You might like to include this webinar in your first week of the term encouraging us to move more to feel better:
Staying well and active at this time of year is a good way to keep on top of emotional blues. The British Heart Foundation has this article on winter walking:
And the time of resolutions may be leading you in the direction of assessing your diet, to reduce some ingredients and increase the healthier items. You might support a friend as well, to boost healthier eating habits after the potential excesses of the holiday celebrations.
https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/weight/perfect-portions/top-tips-for-portion-control is helpful with managing meals and the following article is to balance the sense of ‘no fun’ when dieting, called ’10 tips for healthier baking’:
Whatever your focus is this New Year remember to breathe, be kind to yourself, try something new and look up as you look ahead. Here’s to a peaceful and well-balanced 2023.
We’re entering a busy time of year but also a time of holidays, spending more time with family and friends and partying. Maybe a time of conflicting demands and juggling too many plates. As we near the end of 2022, which for many has been quite a whirlwind year moving away from the year and a half of lockdowns and disrupted schedules, we could make sure we play to our strengths by reflecting on what has gone well this year.
Of course, we like to look ahead, however, as Søren Kierkegaard said in the 19th Century “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”, an encouragement to take stock and reflect on what brought us to this place in time, sharing with others the positive as well as the disappointments and preparing ourselves for the coming year.
There will be celebrations to take part in as well as acknowledging the fading of the daylight and the inevitable return to longer days, as light features in several religious and secular festivals. In some cultures, there is a ritualistic cleaning of homes and schools to enter the New Year purified. Would doing the same thing at home help with mental focus and bring a sense of well-being or do you view it as a stressful chore?
This website gives some useful suggestions for decluttering: https://www.fillingthejars.com/
Some holidays bring with them a slowdown as we are not rushing around in our normal work mode, but that change of pace can contain a bit of anxiety and low mood, often temporary. How about nurturing your creativity or your connections to friends and family you don’t have enough time for when working?
That might include some winter walks, getting outside and being active is always a bonus for our mental energy; ringing for a chat when you can’t see someone in person; changing one of your regular shopping trips to a walk there and back, not only saving money but also fuel; making some time for one of the younger people in your life and treating yourself. Quality time together can bring enormous satisfaction and that connected feeling, a help for boosting mood in this dark, wintery season. Mental Health UK has some good tips too, see here:
Staying indoors when the weather gets too wet or cold is a good excuse to read, relax, craft, write, play games or get creative in your favourite way. Here’s one book that might get you stitching and re-using:
Or this one for fun games;
If you already have your plans in place for the coming month or if you have magically managed to slot in unstructured, ‘blue sky thinking’ time without limits, may your choices bring you joy and contentment. Here’s a farewell to 2022 and a wave hello to 2023!