For me, Christmas is a time to connect with loved ones and forget about work. It’s also become a time for quiet reflection, looking back on this past year and looking forward to the next one. Taking walks outside in the fresh air and playing games with family and friends. Cooking hearty meals that are shared along with good conversation and laughter. It’s warm, fun, relaxed, playful and nourishing, in fact everything that exemplifies the best in life to me.

You’ve no doubt got your own version of what Christmas means to you and if like me, you’re lucky enough to have a home life that you cherish, you’ll be looking forward to the next few weeks. For others, Christmas is a very lonely, or stressful, or tense time that exemplifies what’s not working well in their life.

Wherever you are and whatever is going on in your life, my message to you this Christmas is simple:

Be kind and compassionate to yourself.

  • Give yourself a break, relax and put work aside for a while.
  • Do what you want to do and spend time with people who make you happy.
  • Don’t be seduced into buying more than you need only to regret it in January.
  • Get outside at some point to enjoy the feeling of fresh air on your face and in your lungs.
  • Sleep a bit longer, love a bit more and indulge a little in treats you wouldn’t usually let yourself have.
  • Ponder what’s gone well this past year and what you’d like to leave behind, dream about the year you’d love to have in 2015 and share this with someone you value and trust.

Be kind and compassionate to others. 

  • Take a little more time to connect with friends and family and pay attention to the subtle cues that indicate someone’s in need, and then offer your help.
  • Have patience with relatives and look for what’s great about them, especially those you find the hardest to get on with!
  • Be generous with your spirit and in your deeds, share the best of you with others and live in the moment alongside them.
  • Be kind to strangers and perform random acts of kindness.
  • Send warm wishes to people you find difficult.
  • Show those you love that you love them.

There is overwhelming evidence that humans function best when they are able to be loving, caring and affiliative, and when they feel loved and valued. Kindness and compassion are the building blocks for a healthier and happier world.

So I finish with some questions for you to ponder and send you my love and best wishes for the festive period and into 2015. What does Christmas mean to you and what would make this the best Christmas yet? What are you grateful for in this last year and what’s most important for you in 2015? What specifically will you do to be kind and compassionate to yourself and others over the festive period?