“Wrapping up” for Christmas ~ a checklist for your last day of work before the holidays.

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It’s your last day of work before the holidays – but before you rush out the door, there are a few things you can do to make your working life that bit more pleasant when you return after your break.

1. Emails!

After some time off work, especially if it’s an enjoyable or longer period away from the office (as it’s my realm of work, this is mostly geared towards office workers), it is quite common to feel a little bit disoriented on your first day back. It’s good to prepare in advance for this.

For example, you might forget your password to log into your computer, and you might find that you have a deluge of emails clogging up your inbox.

Here are some handy tips to alleviate these problems:

  • Before you ‘clock out’ for the holidays, respond to any outstanding emails or correspondence that you have, and make a note of anything you need to follow up on for when you return.
  • Delete any unnecessary emails and clear out your recycle bin and junk mail folders.
  • Unsubscribe from any ‘alerts’ (such as Google alerts) or correspondence, newsletters, etc. that aren’t too important – you can always make a note of what you’ve unsubscribed from and re-subscribe when you come back to work. That way you won’t be inundated with unnecessary emails to sift through after your holiday.
  • For the remaining emails that you need to keep in your inbox, create sub-folders and categorise these according to task / work-stream, etc. and ‘flag’ any items that are priority items for you to look at when you get back.

2. Password

You’ll be likely to forget your password to get into your system, so keep a reminder with you (not at your computer) with some hints as to what it is (don’t write down your actual password). You can also keep the number of your work IT support service handy so that if all else fails you can call for help on your first day (but bear in mind you probably won’t be the only one!).

3. Clear your desk

As keen and eager as you may be to rush out the door as soon as you possibly can on your last day, don’t leave your workspace in a mess, because it won’t be the most pleasant of things to come back to after a relaxing break. Instead, tidy up any clutter, bin any rubbish and keep things clean, neat and tidy. File away any paperwork, and make sure confidential information is securely locked away or safeguarded. Maybe even write a ‘welcome back’ note for yourself to come back to! 😉

4. Tie up loose ends and update your colleagues

Try to complete any outstanding assignments well ahead of your last day so that you won’t have to be stressing to get things done at the last minute and you can relax and enjoy ‘winding down’ before the holidays. Create a ‘task list’ for yourself for when you come back to work and if you are leaving earlier than other colleagues who may have to pick up work for you when you’re on holiday, then make sure you have a chance to chat with them beforehand, email any updates and make sure that everyone is informed with what to do and that a plan is in place so that things keep running smoothly in your absence.

5. Create a plan for yourself for your first day back at work after your holiday

This will make the transition back into work more seamless and you won’t be sitting around feeling confused as you try to remember “what’s my job again?!” 🙂

6. The gift of giving

If you are leaving a few days or more before your other colleagues, try to be sensitive to this even if you are ‘super excited’ that your own holidays will start soon. You could do something nice for them, even a simple kind gesture, such as bringing in some chocolates or festive treats for your colleagues and leave a note or a card wishing them well and thanking people for any things they have done through the year that have been particularly helpful to you. Say goodbye in some way, and leave on good terms with everyone.

7. Out of office.

This may well be your favourite ‘task’ of the day – putting on your ‘out of office’! That sweet sensation of knowing you will be ‘free’ for the next so many days, or weeks, to relax and do just what you like. As well as feeling good, putting your ‘out of office’ on is important in keeping other people updated as to when you will be away and when you will come back, and it will also be helpful for others if you can provide them with alternative contact details for someone who can assist them when you are away.

So, that’s that! Or perhaps I should say, “That’s a wrap!”. Enjoy ‘winding down’ for the holidays, and have a peaceful, stress-free and wonderful rest when the time comes for you. x

A Christmas (Blog) Story (2)

The story so far (Work):

It’s nearing the end of the first full week of December, and I don’t know about you but I’m beginning to feel quite ‘Christmassy’ now. Christmas lights and trees and markets have been going up around the city since mid-November, but it’s only now that I’m beginning to catch the holiday feeling. This probably has to do with the fact that having not had time off work for summer this year, I have annual leave days to use, which means…..tomorrow is my last working day of 2019! (“Yay!” 🙂 ).

Last working week of 2019:

This week has been surprisingly interesting for my last work week before the holidays. I attended a training session in a beautiful office building that I hadn’t been in before in the city centre. Added to the fact that I was really engaged in the training and will have some new pieces of work to take forward, and the ideas I’ve generated so far have impressed my boss, I also had a great view of the central square and the ‘big wheel’ and Christmas markets from the window of the training room!

I’ve been tying up loose ends, and am well ahead of the game. It’s given me the chance to do some preparatory work that will help my boss so I’m pleased to be rounding off the year with some more quality work contributions. I have another external meeting tomorrow, and then probably some notes to write up, and then it will be time to wrap things up (just to be Christmassy about it 😉 ) and down tools for the winter.

Being ahead of schedule with my work has given me the chance to also go over my work logs that I keep for myself from this past year, and take a look back and assess the work I’ve done this year, and it is a good feeling to see that I’ve actually done some great pieces of work and have broadened my skills base as well as having helped out and contributed to other teams. Ok, so there may not be any pay rise, but there is a personal satisfaction in knowing that I have done my best and have gone above and beyond and have brought in some great results for my team and for wider strategies and can start 2020 on a positive note and with some new projects to get stuck into.

Health-wise this last week has been a bit of a challenge at times – other than the standard coughs and colds, I’ve had some other physical pain, and had to push through some of the c-PTSD challenges I have, so I am looking forward to the chance to give my body and mind a rest, to ‘reboot’ and spend some time in reflection and enjoying this Christmas season so as to be ready and prepared for a brand new year. It is a significant step forward for me to be writing in this way as a few Christmases ago I was in a very bad place emotionally and mentally – the depression and undiagnosed (at the time) trauma, made me feel that there wasn’t even a future to look forward to at all. So, this year is a bright change to be looking forward hopefully, and I am blessed to share a glimpse of it with you 🙂

The Christmas tree has gone up at work today as well, and it is beautiful. I’m so glad I get the chance to see it before I finish up tomorrow.

Over to you:

As you near the end of the calendar year, do you have any plans for looking back to review how your year has gone from a work perspective?

Whether you work from home, blog full time, have your own business, work for a charity, do voluntary work, work for a large or small company, or do something entirely different, it is a good time of year as you conclude projects and prepare for the new year to look over how far you have come and what you have achieved.

Even if it has been a difficult year for you work-wise, the challenges also present an opportunity for you to reassess how you do things, whether you are in the right place, whether you need to make a change and how, if there are any developmental opportunities for you and what lessons you can take forward into 2020 to help you learn, grow and thrive.

So, what have you learned from your working life this year, and what lessons will you take forward into 2020?

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A Christmas (Blog) Story (1)

candle celebration christmas christmas decoration
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Well dear readers, friends, we’re finally here, and I’d like to wish you all a very happy December.

This is the time of the year when everyone seems to say “Can you believe it? December is here already, hasn’t this year gone by quickly?”. I personally don’t think it has, but it is a natural time of reflection when the seasons change and the calendar year comes to an end. We ask ourselves where the time has gone, and it is a chance to look back in reflection and also to look forwards in hope.

‘Blogmas’:

I’ve never done ‘Blogmas’ before, you know, posting a new blog post every day in the lead up to Christmas. I really like this idea and have often enjoyed stopping by different ‘vlogs’ on YouTube for ‘Vlogmas’.

It’s the 5th of December, so I’ve already missed the first few days, but it’s nice also to blog as we approach Christmas, without necessarily doing this every day. Just as I created my Winter Survival Guide series (my 50th and final post for that series will be coming soon!), I’d like to also blog regularly in December. I love the idea of reading your Christmas themed blog posts, and ‘blogmas’ posts, it is a cosy and comforting feeling.

However, as I contemplated using the term ‘blogmas’ in my title, I realised that it wasn’t really what my heart was going for. Which is why you can think of this as a Christmas blog story, as I like to focus on Christ being the centre of Christmas, rather than blogging or any other thing. It’s just a personal feeling I had for my own blog, but like I said I love all of your blogmas posts and will enjoy reading them. So, what instead….?

Advent:

Who doesn’t love an advent calendar? I have quite a fondness, even though I don’t have one myself, for those hand stitched patchwork style advent creations with hand stitched pockets. I think we all love the countdown to something special and exciting and worth celebrating.

For many of us, Advent signifies the first coming of Jesus Christ into the world, and the waiting and anticipation of those who lived during that time. Now as a Christian, I can approach Christmas reflecting back with gratitude for Christ’s first coming into the world, and looking forward in hope to His second coming for He will return again, and also celebrate the Christmas season knowing and experiencing personally that He Is Emmanuel – God with us – The One True and Living God, here, and now.

Advent is also a time of preparation, and I love this because as a Christian, preparing my heart for Christ is a daily thing, however at this time of the year it is a new and fresh opportunity to do this with other believers and also to know that the world around us is celebrating and anticipating and that this is an opportunity to share the Light, Love and Truth of Jesus Christ with all.

What are you waiting for?

As a Christian, I wait on God, and I live in the experience of His present love, forgiveness, peace, joy and truth. I wait, and yet I am also fulfilled.

What are you waiting for and preparing for at this time of year?

I look forward to sharing my journey, this year’s Christmas (blog) Story with you as I give you a glimpse into my thoughts, friendships, travels, holiday fun, faith, spirituality, home and lifestyle. I hope you will stay with me as we continue on to the next chapter, and as we hopefully approach what will be a “Merry Christmas for one and all”.

God bless. x

A Mental Health Winter Survival Guide – Quick Tips for those tough days (10) ~ A Summary.

Just in case you need a healthy reminder …. 🙂

Life as it happens to be

1. Keep a list of emergency contacts handy so that you can easily call someone if you need help. Also, phone or reach out to a friend and connect to people face to face when you can even if it’s not an emergency. We all need each other.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/5446

2. Make an appointment with your doctor and be honest about your mental health struggles – they’re here to help.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/5451

3. Have a routine.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/5521

4. Practice your deep breathing technique.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/5526

5. Practice ‘grounding’ exercises.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/5537

6. Eat regularly, well and healthily.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/5581

7. Medication.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/5588

8. Positive distractions / self-care ‘toolkit’.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/5594

9. Sleep.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/5605

10. Copy this list and keep it somewhere you can easily refer to when you need some help.

https://wordpress.com/post/livingfully2017.wordpress.com/5610

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Surviving Winter ~A Beautiful Wintertime Diary (continued)…

Recently, I wrote the following post in part 45 of my Winter Survival Guide regarding the importance of reconnecting with the people in our lives. So, I thought I’d give you an update of some recent opportunities to reconnect.

It’s nearing the end of the year, and maybe we have let things slip in our friendships and relationships, and we didn’t even realise that it was happening. Time just seems to have passed and somehow when thinking of the people we used to be closest to, we realise that we have lost touch, or […]

via Winter Survival Guide (45) ~ Reconnect. — Life as it happens to be

Reconnecting with Travel Friends:

A couple of years ago I went on a coach holiday by myself to Budapest, Prague and Vienna. You’ll be able to read up on my adventures in my ‘Travel’ section. It turned out that traveling on my own led to me having the opportunity to connect with new people, and as a result I made some new friends, two of which have visited my city a few times, for various events they were going to and also to see me.

Last weekend, I had the chance to reconnect with these two friends once more and we ventured around Christmas markets, had some festive hot drinks in a café and chocolate shop, and then went out for a late lunch together.

It doesn’t often happen that I make friends via my travels that I will keep in touch with face to face rather than just by the occasional message or email every now and then, so these particular connections have turned out to be quite special, and may continue for years to come.

Sometimes we travel solo because we love the freedom, the independence, we might be wanting to get away from it all and have more time to ourselves, or we may want to travel with others but find that no one else is available. For me I really enjoy solo travelling now, although it initially took a bit of getting used to. Either way, the chance to connect with these travel friends is a fresh reminder to be aware and attentive and to make the most of every opportunity – I almost didn’t take the opportunities on holiday because I was enjoying the time by myself, my independence and indulging in my passion for photography. Funnily enough it was the teenage girl who thought I was only nineteen that drew me into conversation and company, even though I am closer to her mum’s age – I and others thought they were friends, so I guess we all had that youthful glow about us! 🙂 The opportunities I almost didn’t notice actually turned out to be open doors to new friendships, and so it was nice to recently have the time to reconnect with them once more.

Tried and True:

I mentioned in my Winter Survival Guide post that many of us are blessed with those ‘old faithfuls’, those friends that are ‘tried and true’, friendships that feel more like the bonds of family (you know that saying, “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves” ! 🙂 ), those who we have grown to know, love, laugh with, support each other through the hard times and challenges of life, and who we hope will still be part of each others lives in the years to come.

I am blessed to say I have quite a few ‘old faithfuls’ in my life, and this has probably been due to the reciprocity of both parties being faithful and investing in the friendships. However, most of these friends don’t actually know each other, so for the most part my ‘old faithfuls’ and I tend to be groups of twos, threes or fours rather than a big group of long standing friendships.

One such ‘party of three’ is myself and a couple of guys I met through work. We’ve been there for each other through the challenging times of life, and it’s most likely, God-willing that we will continue to be. We don’t necessarily have everything in common, but we do have that connection that makes us consider each other as family in a way. And we laugh together…and eat together!

We’ve tried over the past couple of years, especially as one of these friends no longer works with us, to continue to meet up and reconnect in person once a month. Obviously, this can fluctuate and some months we aren’t able to, other blessed months might see us meeting more than that, but we tend to go out to dinner, to chat and to stay involved with each others lives and have a healthy dose of laughter in poking fun at one another! 🙂 You know you’re in a good situation when you can eat and laugh with your friends as well as have those more serious chats.

Our most recent culinary adventure saw us visiting a Russian restaurant, which was a novel experience at least for me – a tasty one though,  followed by a wander around the Christmas markets.

There’s a song by Sara Groves that I like, that includes the following lyrics:

I am long on staying, I am slow to leave, especially when it comes to you, my friend. You have taught me to slow down and to prop up my feet, it’s the fine art of being who I am…”

When we have the blessings of real friends, friends who mutually care for each other, who are genuine and sincere and who give as much as they take, friends we know we can be ourselves around, and with whom we mutually feel supported, cared for and respected – when we have the chance to reconnect with them, despite however different we may be, the lovely thing is that we are also able to reconnect genuinely with a part of ourselves.

Wishing you all some happy times connecting and reconnecting with loved ones and friends old and new, as well as with yourself, and if you are spiritually minded, with God, this winter season. x

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If you are facing a difficult festive and holiday season ahead… — Life as it happens to be

“It’s beginning to look (a bit) like Christmas”: It may only be the beginning of November, but soon we will be made more aware of the festive and holiday season approaching. If you live in America there is ‘Thanksgiving’ in November, and among other Western countries you may be approaching Christmas, New Year and / […]

via If you are facing a difficult festive and holiday season ahead… — Life as it happens to be

Today’s ‘Top 3’ Country Views ‘Shout Out’ goes to….

South Africa, Norway and the Czech Republic!

I haven’t as yet had the privilege of visiting South Africa or Norway, but from the people I know who have either lived in or visited these countries I have heard that they are beautiful and unique places. I am so fascinated to know what life is like there, so a big ‘hello and welcome’ to all of you from these places, and thank you for stopping by to visit my blog.

A couple of years ago I visited the Czech Republic, notably Prague, and I absolutely loved it. If you want to read some of my posts on my time there visit my ‘Travel’ section (although coming to think about it, I’m not sure if I ever finished writing those travel diaries).

My impressions of Prague were that it was vibrant, full of life, history, culture, and amazing musical and artistic talent from ordinary people busking and displaying their art on the streets. It is a beautiful place, and I would love to go back again some day, so hello to all my blogging friends in the Czech Republic.

You are all most welcome to let me know a bit about your country, in the comments below. 🙂

Original post: https://livingfully2017.wordpress.com/2019/11/17/around-the-world/

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Winter Survival Guide (49) ~ Have Yourself An Ethical Little Christmas…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, yet we all know that this isn’t necessarily the case for everyone, and at a time of year when the disparity between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ seems all the more apparent, many of us want to ‘do our bit’ by reaching out beyond our own personal sphere of friends, family, colleagues and loved ones, to help others who we don’t know and who are in need.

However, it can be difficult to know where to start and what to do, especially if you already are on a budget over the Christmas and holiday season.

Charity begins at ‘Home’?

Consider helping out local initiatives that will benefit your community. For example, in my city there are appeals by homelessness charities that enable you to donate towards their Christmas appeal which will buy a person a Christmas dinner where they can enjoy it in the company of others, or to provide support services and winter essentials.

There are also various collections for clothes, food, toiletries and other essential supplies for homeless people, food banks, and toys for children and young people who otherwise go without. Local hospitals also hold fundraisers, events and collect donations.

These are examples of some of the initiatives happening locally to me – what about you? Are there any causes close to your heart and close to home that you would like to contribute to? Many of them are quite affordable or you can give what you are able to.

Alternative Christmas Gifts:

Maybe you want to combine gift-giving to your friends and family with helping a charity or charities.  Here are some ideas for alternative Christmas gifts (mainly UK based) that can help you to do just that. There are obviously many more, but hopefully these might help as a starting point in your search for the perfect charity gift. If in doubt, simply do an online search for the name of your chosen charity followed by ‘charity gifts’:

  • Traidcraft enables you to reach out to people in other parts of the world such as Kenya and Bangladesh as well as many others. Their ethically sourced products, handcrafted gifts and sustainable methods help to support farmers, artisans and growers in developing countries which means that you can ‘shop with a conscience’. Their website provides a background into what Fair Trade actually is and how Traidcraft started, and their shop also includes a special section for Christmas gifts:https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/christmas
  • PDSA (The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) provides millions of free treatments to sick and injured pets, including preventative treatments, and is funded entirely by public support. You can buy Christmas gifts from their shop, particularly for friends and family members who prefer animals to people! 🙂  :http://www.pdsa-shop.co.uk/Shop/Gift-Ideas/
  • Charity Gifts is a website that makes it easy for you to buy from the UK’s leading charity gift providers, including: WWF, Oxfam, Cancer Research UK, Help for Heroes, RSPB, Guide Dogs, The National Trust, and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Here you can easily find eco-friendly gifts, Christmas charity gifts, and ‘adopt an animal’ gifts. https://www.charity-gifts.org/
  • Online Shopping: some online shops give you the option of choosing a charity and everytime you buy from the shop they will donate a certain amount to that charity. It is worth checking your preferences when you do your online shopping to see if this is an option.

Mental Health Charities and Charities for Older People:

For some people, a time when it seems that everyone else is celebrating and having fun, can be an unbearable contrast with how they are feeling and what they are going through. Mental, emotional and psychological distress and loneliness can have a huge impact on a person’s wellbeing, as well as that of their friends and family. If you want to support UK based mental health charities, and / or charities for older people, in your giving, here are some recommendations:

Volunteering:

You don’t have to limit yourself to giving money; you can make a real difference by giving your time, skills, care and attention. Are there any local volunteer opportunities that you could give a few hours to?

Ethical and Environmentally Friendly Giving:

As well as giving charitably and buying ethically sourced and produced gifts, it might also be important to you to make sure that the way you give causes as little damage to the environment as possible. Here are some ideas that you could try out.

  • Instead of sending out physical Christmas, holiday or new year cards, you could alternatively send out greetings via e-cards, or combine sending e-cards or greetings via email, with sending fewer cards through the post and limiting postal cards to maybe two or three.  You can add in a message to your e-card to explain that you want to be more environmentally friendly, and this might encourage friends and family to do the same. You also don’t need to worry about cost, as free e-cards are available online, such as at: https://www.bluemountain.com/ecards/christmas and https://www.got-free-ecards.com/Christmas-ecards/ as a start – there will be many more out there.
  • Try to avoid buying and giving gifts with a lot of plastic packaging, and think about bringing a vintage / nostalgic theme into your gift giving by finding some quality second hand items, hand-making gifts, or ‘upcycling’.
  • Instead of buying wrapping paper, there are many creative ways that you can wrap presents with recycled paper, used wrapping paper, newspapers, magazines and recyclable materials. You can decorate your wrapped gifts to make them look beautiful by adding hand crafted gift tags, bows, decorations and personalised messages.
  • If you feel you have to buy wrapping paper, Christmas cards, bags, gift tags, etc. then try to make sure that the materials used are recyclable before you buy them.
  • Other ethical and environmentally friendly ‘challenges’ you could take on might include: reducing your meat consumption if you currently eat meat, using public transport, or ‘car-pooling’ to get to events, family gatherings, etc., not going overboard with outdoor Christmas lights, and remembering to turn off lights, TV and other electronics, etc.

Creative Giving:

Finally, another thing you can do is to think of ways that you can turn giving into a creative process. This might be particularly helpful in encouraging children to think of other people and what they need.

  • One way of doing this could be a ‘Reverse Advent Calendar’ where each day instead of getting something, you choose an item to collect so that at the end of the advent period you have something to give to others, such as food for a food bank, clothes for a charity shop or a care package for a homeless person.
  • If you create things to sell such as arts and crafts, you could perhaps donate some or all of your profits this month to a chosen charity.
  • You can have a festive event with friends and family, even if it is something simple, and turn it into a festive fundraiser for a cause that means something to you all, and / or to raise awareness.
  • Think of some ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ that you can do for other people throughout the month.
  • Giving, as mentioned earlier, doesn’t have to be only monetary. You can use your influence, skills and social media platforms to encourage and help other people during what might be a difficult or challenging time, and reach out to people in your life that might need a helping hand.  Maybe as a blogger you can write articles to encourage, inspire and uplift others this season, and by doing so reach out to hundreds if not thousands of people. Whatever your skills, the possibilities are numerous, so why not give it a go and have an ‘ethical little Christmas’ that will help people near and far 🙂 x

 

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Winter Survival Guide (48) ~ Look after your health and have a ‘winter survival kit’.

I’ve touched upon aspects of self care and wellbeing in previous sections of this guide, including eating and sleeping well, taking walks, looking after your mental health and including exercise into your routine, and making sure  that you have enough supplies for your health conditions such as medicines.

However, it’s a good idea to remember to look at your health and wellbeing in a holistic way and to think of what the main things that might affect you could be.

As we near the end of November, I’ve noticed a few things in my own life, so I thought I’d share them with you.

Firstly, I feel like hibernating. I’ve noticed that my body, mind and mood are being affected with this wintery season. It gets darker a lot quicker, light levels are lower, and there is a drop in temperature. I feel like with the natural cycle of the seasons, my body too is winding down and preparing for rest. Actually, if I didn’t have to work I’d probably be napping during the day like a curled up little hedgehog! 🙂 I’ve given out a lot of good advice such as maintaining exercise and healthy eating habits, and getting enough rest and sleep as well as staying active, but when it comes to it although I have been trying to do these things I am feeling a little sluggish and looking forward to not having to do very much.

Secondly, the desire for hibernation is coupled with a season of activity – which may not be such a bad thing, but it also means having to be realistic about what I can actually manage, and to pace myself. I’m blessed to have friends to meet and events to attend and things to prepare for, but it’s not always easy to ‘keep up’. As our bodies are perhaps slowing down and preparing for a time of rest we seem to try to pack in as much festivities as we can, and on the one hand that’s a good thing in making sure we don’t end up in a ‘slump’ hiding away from the world and perhaps giving in to low moods, but on the other hand it also means that we don’t have endless amounts of energy and so to stay well we need to pace ourselves and to be wise and selective in how we use our time as well as caring for our bodies and not over indulging.

Thirdly, it is the season for coughs, colds, sore throats and infections! And it’s hard to avoid these altogether, but it is something we can try to prepare for in advance.

So, what are the takeaways or key points that you can glean from all of this?

Accept that your body may react to the changing of the seasons by naturally slowing down, and that this may leave you feeling a little sluggish, tired or lethargic.

Pace yourself and try to maintain as much balance as possible between rest and play.

Listen to your body, and if you can slow down and wind up on big work projects, pace yourself with social events, don’t overpromise or overcommit to doing things, be flexible, be kind to yourself and manage the expectations of yourself and others and prepare a winter survival kit for coughs, colds, and also for any other important aspects of your life and safety. You might want to also have a winter survival kit in your car just in case of emergencies!

In summary, be realistic and take it easy. There may be a good reason that nature slows down at wintertime and it may be good for us to do so too.

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Use Your Voice…

Today I’m particularly thankful for Word Press as a blogging platform, where we can use our writing voice to connect with numerous people from across the world to share, inspire, encourage and motivate.

Why today in particular? Because following the onset of a sore throat, I have in fact ‘lost’ my voice. I’m hopeful I’ll get it back again, but it has prompted me to think of the ways in which we take for granted the things we can usually do. I have so many thoughts running through my head that I’d love to communicate with others in my life, or even to greet the people I meet in passing, and I didn’t even realise that I was ‘voiceless’ until I tried to express these thoughts verbally – and nothing came out.

Ah, the blessing of non-verbal communication! Smiles, hugs, gestures, facial expressions…and of course for all of us here on the ‘blogosphere’ – the written word!

I’ve always felt more able to express myself more persuasively through the written – rather than the spoken – word. I wonder if you can relate? Perhaps you’ve had experience of shyness, social anxiety, ‘brain fog’ when in company and conversation, or have had to overcome a stutter. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to find our voices elsewhere if we are limited in some other aspect of our lives in being able to communicate.

I can’t imagine what it must be like for people for whom all or most forms of communication are impaired or limited. Therefore, today I reflect upon my blessings of being able to communicate and share this gift of being able to connect with others and they with me.

I think of how powerful the written word is. But also of the potency of words spoken. How many of us have suffered from the wounds of words inflicted upon us in childhood? Even as adults they affect us, sometimes terribly. Scripture tells us that ‘life and death are in the power of the tongue’ and that although humanity has learned to steer ships and other vessels, to bridle horses, we cannot tame our own tongue! It steers the course of our life, and can have the power to set a forest on fire.

There are many ways in which we can use our voice. Perhaps blogging is your platform to share your ‘voice’ with the world – your thoughts, your ideas, your desire to advocate for change. Perhaps we can use our ‘voice’ to ‘speak up for’ the voiceless in society – for children, animals, for those who are oppressed and have no way to share their own thoughts and feelings about what is happening to them. We can use our voice, our words, written, spoken, and in other forms of expression to heal, to encourage, to help, to build up, to inspire, to comfort, to love, to share….

It’s good to be silent from time to time, and to take a moment to reflect upon how we are using the gifts we have to communicate with others. How will you use your ‘voice’ today?

alphabet close up communication conceptual
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