The post-Santa slump. Are you geared up and ready for a lovely Christmas? Have you sorted out all the presents, cards, stocking fillers? Have you done a bit more for charity because everyone does at this time of year? Are you looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet, a break from the every-day hassles of work?
Let’s face it, Christmas can be a chocolate-box perfect affair, or it can be a real drag. For the lonely, the ill or the just plain hacked-off, it can be a time when things go really quiet … too quiet.
Maybe the time has come to rethink Christmastime?
Specifically, I am thinking about Christmas as a time to pause. When your day is really quiet, that’s not a guarantee that you stop to listen to yourself, to your thoughts. Sometimes, listening to your thoughts can be problematic, I realise. However, I am really addressing this piece to people who may experience low mood but who do not have an acute or clinical condition. Those for whom listening to their thoughts is a safe bit of introspection.
So, given that time to pause will be safe for you, maybe this is a time for a check in with yourself? How are you doing? What have you done that’s been positive for you and those you love, in the past year? What went well, maybe that was a bit of surprise?
As the team at the Center for Creative Leadership would say, you could use this time to “savour” what is going on for you. They define this as:
“the scientific term for deliberately enhancing and prolonging your positive moods, experiences and emotions”.
To me, that sounds like being wilfully independent , being purposefully, consciously positive about your immediate past.
A Maverick approach to reflection, if you will.
So, when you’re just past Christmas, before the New Year, you could give “savouring” your time a go. Reflect on the positives. Do it on purpose. Choose a different approach from those who consider this time each year a bit of a wasteland, a time when their mood slumps. No longer “the bit between Christmas and New Year”, how about having that as your Maverick time, your “savouring” time?
And when you’ve reflected on all the positives of the past year, you could turn your Maverick purposeful “savouring” onto the coming year. What good would you like to do, for you and others? What needs to change, for the coming year to be positive for you? It doesn’t need a jackpot win on the lottery, or a fancy new car. Could it be a new friendship? Perhaps a new opportunity for work, paid or otherwise? Maybe you will achieve something you have wanted to do for an age?
Whatever you look forward-to, be kind to yourself.
Setting yourself goals at a time of peaceful thought is great but beating yourself up in the hurly burly of the every day isn’t. It is not great, and it isn’t fair. So when you think about the coming year, think up the ways that you could achieve the things you want.
Be purposeful about choosing the steps toward achieving those things. Enjoy those steps. Savour them, even. Give yourself time, space and patience enough to really understand what it will take for you to achieve them, even in the midst of the busyness of every day life … or in that quiet isolation that you may find yourself in again.
Whatever your situation, give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself, be purposeful in your wilful positivity, and enjoy your Maverick reflection time.
I’d be interested to hear how you get on. Do let me know in the comments …
 Judith Germain in 2005 used the term ‘wilfully independent’ to define a Maverick