Looking forward to spending some time with friends, family or loved ones over the next few months?

The festive period can be great fun, and it can also be difficult for those of us who don’t have strong bonds with our nearest and dearest. There’s an old proverb that says that no matter how much self-development work you do, no matter how much time you spend meditating and going on retreat, the moment you return to your childhood friends and family, you revert to your childhood behaviour all over again.

So, how can you bring the spirit of a LIFEbeat summer camp or residential into your daily life at home this festive season? Here are some quick suggestions:

  • Practice gratitude

You don’t need to tell anyone you’re doing it, but why not carve out some time every day to practice gratitude. You can do it for yourself by keeping a gratitude journal, or, if you’re feeling really brave, you could try asking everyone in your group what they’re feeling grateful for today.

  • Be creative

Don’t forget to exercise your creative brain over the festive season. Being creative can enhance our mood and relieve stress. If you’re giving gifts, perhaps you could introduce a creative element. Pinterest is full of DIY craft projects, or you could opt for simply giving oil pastels and paper and encouraging everyone to create a group picture. If no one else is up for it, challenge yourself to do one creative thing every day.

  • Spend time outdoors

Ok, so the temperatures have plummeted and we’re all feeling a little chilly, but time outdoors has been proven to boost your mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Wrap up warm and head out for a brisk walk, or organise a snowball fight in the local park. If you’re feeling stressed or out of balance, some time in nature could really help.

  • Take a creative risk

Never instigated a game before? How about suggesting a LIFEbeat favourite. Your friends or family might enjoy a game of disco detective, step into the circle or magic word. Take a creative risk and lead a fun activity to help break the ice and bring people together.

  • Cross lines of difference

Never really connected with your distant cousin? Always felt there was too big of an age gap with your nephew or niece? Why not try crossing lines of different and finding areas of connection with people you don’t usually chat to. The results can be extremely rewarding.

  • Put the phone away!

You feel very attached to your phone, and that’s fine. But are there moments where you could put the phone away for a while and focus on making connections with the people around you? You don’t have to go cold turkey. Start making conscious decisions about your phone use and checking in with yourself about how much time you’re spending in front of a screen and then think about some small changes that could increase the amount of tech-free time you have!

  • Talk about your highs and lows

An easy conversation to start with anyone is to ask them about their highs and lows of the day, week or even year. It’s great to get people reflecting on their feelings and experiences and it could spark some really unusual conversations too.

However you spend your time off this December, remember that you have the power to make really clear and conscious choices about what makes you happy.

You’re also a valued part of the LIFEbeat community and we want to thank you all for making 2017 one of our most vibrant and exciting years yet.

2018 marks our 10 year anniversary, so stay connected and look out for some exciting events and announcements to come!

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