The Start Of Advent (And Mariah...)
Now advent is here my children are finally relieved they can start with the Christmas music. I am not sure how many times more I can actually listen to Mariah Carey sing "All I want for Christmas is you..." but for my children Christmas means Christmas music - and they clearly haven't listened to this song for the last 23 years like I have.
I've never really been a massive fan of Christmas to be honest. I find the spending, waste, shopping and present lists a little grim. In clinic I hear how it is a difficult time of year for many people who don't fit in to the "family christmas" ideal for whatever reason.
For most of us our health can suffer too - myself included. We find it almost impossible to keep to a diet which keeps us healthy and well so we can end up sick, coughing and ill come the new year.
So over the past couple of years I have carved out a few ways to make some touch points in the lead up to Christmas mean something to me and our family.
A few years ago my husband and I decided we were no longer going to buy our children presents at Christmas. Some thought it was a pretty rash decision but they have so many presents from others and they are really not wanting for anything. We decided our gift to the children would be some time together.
We always book a family trip somewhere and make space in this busy time of year to enjoy each other's company. This year we're going to see the lights at Longleat, last year we went to London for the day. They can remember every trip we have been on.
I'm really keen the children learn as exciting as presents are - company, time and people who love you are the root to good times.
Advent in the Christian calendar is associated with a period of fasting. I was interested to hear when we went to Crete in the summer our hosts didn't consume any meat, dairy or eggs during advent. It is a lean period in the farming calendar too, it's far from the season of abundance we usually associate with Christmas.
I'm careful to choose foods which support my body in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It's all too easy with the dark nights to sink in to the red wine, dark chocolate and Baileys. I keep our meals light and easy on the digestion - broths, soups, stews and lots of green vegetables.
I've also started to become more conscious of the time leading up to the Winter Solstice. There's an urge to rush through the darkness into spring and avoid the long dark days this time of year brings.
I've started to enjoy increasingly this time of withdrawal and renewal. I've swapped some of my morning yoga practices to just sit still in the dark and quiet before the children wake. Resting rather than doing, I've found it a good time to start to hatch plans.
Now is not really the time to be doing too much. Resting, restoring and waiting for the spring light to come is the work of winter. There is an opportunity here if we can carve it out to heal and build strength.
Sending you my warmest winter wishes, whatever this season means to you.