What do Christmas lights have to do with self care?

If you LIKE them, and they lift your spirits, a lot! Depending on the kind you have, it can feel effortless or take some work to find that brightness. Like different kinds of self care practices.

Last year was my first year with outdoor Christmas lights and it made me feel connected to people throughout the northern hemisphere, looking for the light in darkness with different holidays.

It’s so easy to give in when we feel low.

Inertia kicks in.

We stop doing the self care practices that we KNOW have worked for us in the past.

And so the vicious cycle continues.

On the plus side, it doesn’t take much – just a glimmer or small glow – to begin a virtuous cycle.

A spectrum of self care practices

By thinking about your personal self care spectrum, you’ll recognise that some of your self care practices require minimal effort.

Others take more but bring big rewards too. You can gauge it day by day.

You might think the lights I’m talking about are NOTHING compared to the show you put on in your neighbourhood.

It may be a huge effort to put up and take down but it brings joy not just to you and yours but almost everyone who passes by.

Maybe you have one little windowsill light and sometimes even THAT feels like too big an effort.

I didn’t grow up with Christmas lights. When I first got some for my tree a few years ago, I was scared of potential fires.

I still only leave them on when I’m home and mostly in the same room.

But they make me so happy

I keep (embracing my inner Nigella when watching telly if not while cooking) fairly lights up year round brightening bookshelves. And lava lamps. And, of course, candles.

Last year, I got outdoor lights.

Battery powered as I can’t get my head around electricity and Wild Atlantic weather.

Cycling home from town or walking at night, I’d be delighted I’d done it.

This year, I had to replace some and got extra but the new ones aren’t on a timer.

Like the window sill tree and stars, I have to turn them on and off each evening and night as they’re not on a timer (I’m aware that in the past, people would have been lighting individual candles and somehow not knocking into the tree and setting the whole village on fire).

In the past, I’d have been like, Yeah? And?

But this (since moving to Ireland in 2019) is my first experience of rural life. No street lamps. I need my headlamp and boots to turn them off before bed.

The other night, I practically TRIPPED OVER A TREE in the dark (it’s just a foot tall – have planted 32 since moving here).

While turning the window sill lights of is a cute little, ‘Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Stars, Goodnight Tree etc’ ritual, like blowing out candles, I find it easy to talk myself out of bothering with the lights at the other end of the front lawn. It’s another measure of how much energy I have.

On a good day, I’ll light ALL the lights and when the batteries need replacing, do that quickly.

Other days, the kinder option might be (weather dependent, too – we’ve had two weather warning storms in the past 10 days) to skip a night.

The face that we humans have varying levels of energy and motivation is why I wrote 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing

While divided into an idea for each day of the year, there’s also a range of self care ideas depending on time available and energy levels – as well as interest. Not everyone is into all of my offerings

When you think about your own Christmas (or whatever holidays you celebrate) lights and how much effort they are v how much joy they bring you, what kind of spectrum emerges?

What about your daily (actual and Ideal You) self care practices?

How might you tweak your expectations of yourself so no matter how low you feel, you’re doing SOMETHING (even simply turning on your tree light equivalent) to connect with the lights all around the world and in the galaxy?

Feel free to email eve@selfcarecoaching.net to let me know!

And please feel free to share this post on your social media etc so others who may find it helpful can read it.

Cool Yule!

You might enjoy these ideas for working with the seasonal energies (including a Yoga Nidra and EFT Tap Along) from previous blog posts

With love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor

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