It’s 12th November 2019 as I write this. We’ve already heard it so many times now: “I can’t believe it’s November already!”. People tend to say things like this a lot, commenting on ‘how fast’ the year has flown in. It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose, but we’re undeniably bedded in now in the latter part of the calendar year, and before we know it people will be saying “I can’t believe it’s 2020!”.
This means that ‘before we know it’ we’ll be in the midst of the Christmas, festive, holiday, New Year (and other, depending on what this time of year means to you) season.
It’s a good ‘survival’ tip to plan ahead a bit so that things don’t unexpectedly creep up on you and you find that anxiety is knocking on the door of your heart.
Let me break this down a little, just to give us all a bit of perspective, and help us to visually see what and where we might gain from a little bit of forward planning. Keeping it simple, here is a visual representation of the next few weeks ahead:
Tues: 12th November (today), 19th, 26th
Wed: 13th Nov, 20th, 27th
Thur: 14th Nov, 21st, 28th
Fri: 15th Nov, 22nd, 29th
Sat: 16th Nov, 23rd, 30th.
Sun: 17th Nov, 24th
Mon: 18th Nov, 25th
Sun: 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th
Mon: 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th
Tue: 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st
Wed: 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th
Thur: 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th
Fri: 6th, 13th, 20th , 27th
Sat: 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th
Maybe you float through your days, and planning isn’t much of a priority, but personally as someone who has anxiety (and who also incidentally can be a bit forgetful), planning is pretty essential for me, and I like to break things down into smaller more manageable ‘chunks’. Together with the fact that I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I like to make the most of the time I have and to do things well, and encourage other people, so that’s another reason I need a bit of an idea of what’s ahead of me, and what I need and want to do, as well as how this fits in with the needs and expectations of others, and my general obligations.
I’m not sure what the next few weeks ahead look like for you, but here are some of the things that I personally will need to factor in and begin thinking about and preparing for:
- Finish up work projects (I’m usually ahead of schedule as I am just now, so I can relax with this one, considering nothing new or major lands on my plate) and tie up any loose ends before the office closes for Christmas.
- Complete my personal work review which is just something I do for myself and is not a requirement, as it helps me to see just how much I have been involved with, what I have learned, and how to go forwards. Sometimes we fail to realise or appreciate just how much we have accomplished in a year, and it’s good to review that at the end of the year.
- Support colleagues / team with anything we collaboratively need to accomplish / tie up.
- Take annual leave that I have remaining from mid-December.
- End of November, early Christmas work lunch out with colleagues.
- Mini reunion with friends visiting from another part of the country, but just for the day.
- Christmas dinner out (mid December) with a couple of close friends.
- Catch-ups, exchanging gifts and doing some fun Christmassy things with various friends before we head our separate ways for the holidays.
- Plan and carry out some acts of kindness to help those less fortunate, and encourage others with ways we can all help.
Personal Devotions, Church and Fellowship:
- Only six more Sundays before Christmas, so it would be nice to spend some time in advance really preparing myself spiritually, thanking God and reflecting upon the year gone by, and prayerfully looking at what is ahead. The Centre of Christmas and of Life for me Is Christ, so it is important that He Is my Focus throughout this whole season, filled as it is with distractions aplenty.
- Connect with friends, encourage others who are struggling this season, and participate in the many beautiful events celebrating Christ, as He leads me.
Prepare for Birthdays, Christmas Presents, gifts for God-children, friends’ kids, and prepare / recycle things to create Environmentally Friendly Packaging:
Pack and plan for a short holiday to see Christmas markets in Europe – finances, clothes, etc. all to be prepared.
Hospitality and Home:
- Decorate, have people over for festive fun.
Pack and prepare for visiting family.
Reach out to support friends who are grieving or struggling this year.
Other bits and bobs: plan some crafts, use up coupons before their expiry dates, send things in the post on time, and create a photo book of memories for 2019.