Lessons as 2019 closes, and welcoming in 2020!!!

Related imageCHRISTMAS! You know that this is my favourite time of the year. The music, the colours, the lights, the treats, the joy...it is such a magical time.

This year has been a VERY different Christmas for me. Let me explain: I used to put up my decorations in early December...and then do nothing else until Christmas arrived. Then, we would open gifts, celebrate with the family...and Christmas would be over.

As I have come along my journey towards practicing more self-compassion and self-care (more on that in upcoming posts in 2020 - keep your eyes open for it and subscribe to the blog for updates!), I realized that Christmas need not be a 'day' event. What do I mean by this?

We spend so much time decorating, shopping, etc...leading up to Christmas. Then, the day arrives, we celebrate, and then - just like that - it is over. I think oftentimes, this leaves us with 'post-holiday blues'. And then all we can do is wait until the next holiday, hoping for another magical time upon us.

Image result for christmas all year quotesSo, what did I do differently this year? I decided that this year, Christmas would truly be a SEASON in my life. Not a 'one day and done' event. As I prepared the way for Christ's precious birth, I chose to make Christmas truly special...

To begin with, I still put my decorations up. But I also made a conscious effort to get CREATIVE this year. For example, who says that my tree needs to be topped with the same star we used every year? This year, we bought a new tree topper and used that instead. Or, why do the stairs always need to have the same garlands on them? Why not use lights? We even bought some supplies and sewed/crafted together our own ornaments! (With Christmas music playing the background, of course!). You may be wondering...what's the point of THAT? Well, dear readers, this is a big deal for me. Normally, I wouldn't put in any effort to 'changing things up' with decorations, let alone make my own! But this year, I wanted to embrace the spirit of Christmas. The spirit that is open to things being new, unknown, and surprising. The spirit that welcomes Christmas as being a time of preparation, of putting our skills and hearts to good use.

Related imageWhat else did I do? I thought more about OTHERS. I thought about which food banks or toy drives needed donations, and I contributed to them. I thought about my friends and family members who I knew would be lonely at this time, and I texted/emailed/called them. I wished each person I met at work - and even in stores - a Merry Christmas. I also thought more about MYSELF. I thought about the things that truly bring me joy and are aligned with my values (sneak peak! more about this in 2020 as well!) - and noted which habits were serving me, and which were not. I got honest with myself about what I was proud of, and what I wanted to begin doing more or less of. I thought about how I could be a pleasant, loving, compassionate, and supportive daughter/sister/friend/professional in the world.

I also thought more about GOD. I thanked Him - everyday - for things that I was so incredibly blessed to have. Opening myself up to gratitude (AGAIN - more in 2020 on this topic!) made me realize just how fortunate I am. I began to notice and be more mindful of the 'little things' I often took for granted, like being ABLE to celebrate Christmas with loved ones, having a house to sleep in during harsh winter nights, having the luxury of eating and drinking warm meals, being able to wear comfortable clothes, and more. I thanked God for my struggles, because even in those, I was able to see and have faith that these were a greater purpose (you guessed it! More on this in the new year!).

Image result for true meaning of christmasThis past year, I have grown in so many ways that I never imagined. I have been brought down to my knees, worrying and pushing through challenges. But I have also experienced true happiness, connection, health, and peace. The spirit of Christmas made me realize, as the song days, 'everyday can be Christmas day'. What does this mean?

To me, it means carrying on the beautiful joys of Christmas throughout the year. It means being kind to others and myself. It means getting out of my comfort zone, embracing change, opening up to creativity, and learning new things. It means spreading hope, love, support, and courage to others. It means allowing myself to be vulnerable, to accept challenges, and show myself and others grace. It means thanking Christ for all He has given me - even when I cannot fully grasp how certain events can work together for my good.

Christmas is a time of preparation for Christ. It is an opportunity to be with others, to look carefully at our lives, and decide that just as we get ready for Jesus, so we too can get ready for new things in our lives. We can grow and change. We can spread love and peace. We can use the joys of Christmas to motivate us into the new year, 2020, to know that blessings are all around us.

And on that note, moving forward into 2020, we are going to explore my 'lessons learned'. We are going to dig deep into topics such as:

-self-compassion
Image result for happy new year quotes gratitude-self-care
-radical acceptance
-gratitude
-joyful living
-values-based living
-grace
-courage
-vulnerability
-connections and relationships
-facing fears

....and more! It's going to be one heck of a year at Health is Wealth - so subscribe now to keep up with these posts, and check back often for new additions!

And from my heart to yours - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you for all the readers who have been with me along this journey, watching this blog unfold from the the start of my journey in the hospital to where I am now. And to those who are new - welcome. I hope this blog continues to be a source of inspiration, curiosity, and support to you all. Thank you for your dedication, love, and care. I am so incredibly fortunate to have this space, to have all of you. I wish you all a wonderful Holiday season - and don't forget to sparkle and shine, making the most of every moment each day brings.  

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