2021 – Nearly Done and Very Dusty

So that’s 2021 nearly done and ever so dusty. I know I haven’t been a very prolific communicator this year. I know in the days of constantly full inboxes; you may be quite ok with that situation. It has been a time, hasn’t it? A pandemic filled time which we would hope would draw us all together and keep us on the same page as we have all needed much kindness, care and support as we navigate our time out there in this shaky world. In reality, these times have often been characterised by much polarization, unfairness, illness, exhaustion, worries, despair, glimmers of hope and then hopes dashed, uncertainty in bucketloads and the predominant feeling is one of exhaustion. And now we hit ‘the festive season’ mostly feeling utterly un-festive. So what to do as we approach this time, wishing for a switch to turn on holiday mode?

Here are some thoughts on what we can do to hold us through a time called holiday:

1.Self compassion

I often refer to Kristin Neff’s research into self-compassion. Remember we need to be kind to ourselves. Talk to ourselves like we would to a good friend. It is unlikely that we can jump into holiday time fully energised playmates for young kids or thoughtful, calm parents of teens when many of us feel so greatly depleted. Lashings of guilt never did anyone any good. It has been hard. Know that we are not alone in this all, no matter how very alone we may feel at times. There is help are there are connections to be made as we are part of a common humanity who have experienced versions of our reality in various shapes and forms. And try a little mindfulness (and tenderness) – know that nothing is permanent. It will change. No matter how stuck we feel, things shift. We often lose sight of that when we are in the eye of the storm but as the brilliantly insightful Charlie Mackesy says, “Storms get tired too. So hold on.”

2. Plan

Think about what you can do during this time. Rather than fixating on what you can’t do open your eyes, heart and mind to what you are able to do. Whether working in this time or not, consider some options. What would you like to do? Get kids to think about it too and maybe draw up a list of things that can be done This is not of the work list ilk. This is more like, “ I want to swim, read, sleep, go for a beautiful walk etc.’ For kids it may mean, “ I want a PJs day, watch a movie day, build something cool, make a movie.” If finances are low which for many they are, think about what will nurture and nourish your family and is actually doable. Of course, this does not mean you will necessarily have cooperative gung ho children in tow but that’s ok… still think big picture and what will be good for your family and differentiate this time from school/ work/out of holiday time.

3. Awe

Listening to the fabulous Kelly Corrigan Wonders podcast, I was reminded of the importance of awe. Moments of awe shift us outside of ourselves, they force us to make cognitive accommodations as we are taken in by the vastness of something. Listening to her, it helped to switch on my awe detector more carefully. And there was the awesomness, in full glory;  in the rainbow lighting up the mountain in colour, my dog’s head laid lovingly on my chest as I lay down to miserably do pelvic curls cause my back hurts, holding the precious,  joyous baby of my baby sister and magnificent artichokes growing in my garden (when cactuses have died at my hands in the past). Its allowing ourselves to really take in the things beyond us and they are there, all over the place if we just keep looking. We need to make space for ourselves to see them and for our children too. We just need to be a little more tuned in to the awe-filled stuff and not get totally sucked into the loop of the awful.  That does not mean dismissing the reality of the awful or pretending it’s not there but rather balancing it out a little more evenly and at the very least not blocking out the awe.


Consciously being kind to ourselves will help us be kinder to others. We know the deal… we don’t know what is happening for everyone around us. Everyone has their own personal stories. Broken bones, scratches and scrapes are more visible than the felt experiences of all the humans around us. I joked with a friend the other day, that packages get to be marked ‘fragile’ maybe it would help if we could hold up a ‘fragile’ flag so that we could be treated gently and with care. That does not mean forgetting boundaries and all that jazz with people but it does mean being a little more switched on to the vulnerability that is out there and inside of us. Research shows that by giving to others it is also good for the givers. It can be tiny, but it helps and when done thoughtfully and kindly it’s a win win situation for all.

5. Connection

For anyone who comes to parent Coaching with me, you know I am always singing the praises of good ol connection with our kids. It always sounds good on paper but can be far trickier in reality. We are ever so distracted and have so much on our minds and plates and often are even totally disconnected from our very own selves. If we focus on one thing, let’s try focussing on connecting a little better. Seeing our kids for who they are and what they may be feeling and finding them where they currently are is incredibly containing for all. It may be in small ways, just with a teen passing by and chatting in the kitchen or playing with a toy on the floor with your little one without a phone in hand or even distractedly nearby. When we connect with each other, it may be a bit messy and imperfect, but we are so better placed to support each other and cooperate with each other going forward.

So all that said as 2021 nears its end… I wish you a restful, connecting, awe -filled, gentle, compassionate, kind and maybe just maybe even a bit of a festive time too.