Day 352-358/ 365 Days of Fulfillment Blog
Day 358/365 – December 25
“Have a Merry Christmas”
This tip may sound rather obvious, but at the same token, “Merry” can promote and mean many different things to many different people, some of which are not so obvious to everyone. When I say and think ‘Have a Merry Christmas”, I’m speaking about doing the things you enjoy, that make you feel full and connected with the people you love most, while being present amidst all the cherriness that comes from this celebration: the food, the gift giving, the laughter, the music, the conversation, the togetherness etc. I also signify the word Merry as a way to remember to be kind, generous, selfless, forgiving, loving and accepting of others.
Being Merry suggests to enjoy all that is good, and let go of all that is bad. Life is not meant to be viewed in the glass half-full lens – bitter, negative and unpleasant– life is meant to be lived as close to our deepest values, appreciations and morals as possible, and Christmas Day gets us as close to embracing this view on life as we will probably get all year round. Enjoy the love and time together to rejoice and rejuvenate, and use the example we set for ourselves on this day as a template for how we should treat ourselves and others throughout the remaining 364 days.
Day 357/365 – December 24
“Slow Down and Appreciate all You are Blessed with on Christmas Eve”
Christmas is easily one of the most looked-forward to singular days of the year; nobody is expecting anything from you (unless it’s a gift you promised of course), and you are certainly not expecting anything from anyone else (except maybe, well you know who…[the big guy in the red suit] ).
Christmas Eve however is like Christmas’ baby brother, it’s a little bit louder and attention consuming and we expect just a little more from people on this day. Typically without fail, there always tends to be some sort of chaos surrounding this day as well (malls, parking lots, streets, and houses included) and all the coming-and-going seems to speed the night up more than we’d like. But at the end of the day, it’s still something we all feel blessed to be apart of.
It’s within these moments and hours that we should all take the time to be grateful for all that we have on Christmas Eve: the people that are in our lives on this day, the food we are blessed with, the community that surrounds us, and the freedom we have to celebrate such a day. It sounds cliche, but with all the hustle and bustle that comes with this day – amidst all the eating and relaxing – it makes it harder to slow ourselves down and appreciate things to the extent we do on the 25th of December.
Christmas truly is bigger than one singular day, it’s a feeling. Since Christmas Eve promotes a great deal of emotions and feelings, it’s on us to take the time to truly process and appreciate all the good we have on this particularly paradoxical (chaotic/relaxing) day. God bless and have a Merry Christmas Eve.
Day 356/365 – December 23
“Enjoy a cup of Hot Chocolate”
Hot chocolate is the drink of the Christmas season for many people and with good reason: it warms you up, brings up the feeling of nostalgia and goes perfect with a Christmas special on TV. I personally always purchase a cup of hot chocolate during my neighbour cities annual Oakville Christmas tree Lighting. And any opportunity that facilitates me doing something Christmas related in the cold, prompts hot chocolate as well – “when in Rome”. There are just certain things we involve ourselves with that make experiences during the holiday season feel more nostalgic and warm, and hot chocolate consumption tends to be one of those things. Maybe it’s the warmth, the smell, or the taste – probably the combination – but whatever it is, people can’t seem to get enough.
Another great thing about hot chocolate is in the creativity upon creation. You get to become your own personal chef, with very little skill required. You can use whipped cream, mini marshmallows, 1 big marshmallow or sprinkle some peppermint on top; you can choose dark hot chocolate, regular hot chocolate, white hot chocolate and I’m sure the list is just beginning. We all have our favourites, but one thing is for certain, anytime you have hot chocolate out in the cold, it’s sure to put a smile on your face and warm your spirit up just a little bit more.
And guess what, there are also some actual health benefits that come from this tip as well: the flavonoids and antioxidants the drink provides! Yes, I get it has sugar in it, but I’m trying to throw ourselves a tiny bone here. Flavonoids are a great source of phytonutrients which helps increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. The key to optimizing the antioxidants and reducing the unhealthy ingredients in hot chocolate is by selecting a purer, less processed brand, one with real cocoa.
Day 355/365 – December 22
“Give a Gift with No intention of Receiving”
The saying, “it’s better to give than to receive” definitely rings true. Consistent research backs this theory up. According to the Association for Psychological Science, “Repeated giving, even in identical ways to identical others, may continue to feel relatively fresh and relatively pleasurable the more that we do it.” Whereas the pleasurable feeling with receiving goes away much quicker.
Yes, we all enjoy getting gifts, it’s human nature and creates the neurotransmitter dopamine (our bodies feel good hormone) to be released, but seeing someone open up a gift is continuously rewarding, going past the initial exchange and internal satisfaction that comes with it. Giving provides happiness longevity; add in the surprise gift giving element, and the act is even more rewarding, as the external reason is dismissed (Christmas, birthday, graduation). The simple act of you thinking of that person is a gift in itself, toss in the added look on their face of receiving a surprise gift and the experience comes full circle. I’m not suggesting to go buy a ton of people unexpected gifts, but I would recommend that if you see something that reminds you of someone else, or that screams their name, make that purchase, and don’t wait until the next celebration to give it to them, unless it’s close by; the love they will feel and the satisfaction you’ll experience is totally worth it.
Day 354/365 – December 21
“Invest in a ‘Power Hour’ “
Power hours are a great way to deal with the types of nagging activities that can be done anytime, so much so, that they rarely get done at all. These tasks, although small and simple. can drain us because they never seem to get removed from our plate of ‘things to do’.
A power hour is designed to set at least 1 hr aside each week for these lack luster nagging tasks; tasks like running to the hardware store, sweeping the floor, cleaning the bathtub, decluttering your room, dropping something off at the dry cleaners etc.
An efficient way to tackle power hours is by writing down a list of things that you want to cross off the list, and use that hour to get as many of them done as possible, one at a time. This approach creates some sort of game plan to this hyper focused “life clean up”. To add to the efficiency of this hour as well, put all distractions aside: no phones, TV, radio, breaks etc. It’s pure clean-up and productivity mode for that 1 hour. I would also suggest picking a day that affords you a nice opened hour to do this , something like a late Sunday morning or Saturday afternoon depending on your schedule.
Hopefully this power hour once per week can truly help you eliminate lingering tasks, and aid in some much needed urgency and clean up.
Day 353/365 – December 20 – Productivity
“Mentally Prime Yourself before Stationary Exercises”
Think about mental priming as a warm-up for our mind, body and soul prior to focusing on a task. It makes sense when we really think about it, we warm up our bodies prior to a physical workout, so why not do the same for a mental workout, like writing, reading, passion projects, work hours etc. This is a technique in hyper focusing. Our goal throughout each task during the day should be to be as efficient as possible. In an hour of work, it’s not always about how much we get done, but how good the work we get done is. A 45 minute hyper focused workout or dialed in writing session is a hell of a lot better than 90 minutes of disengaged exercise and writing, full of distractions.
Productivity comes from being engaged on the task at hand, by limiting as many distractions as possible. If you think about meditation, the true success of this practice is one’s ability to dial their focus back to the task at hand (i.e.meditating). For example, during meditation a lot of people practice counting and hearing their breath, inevitably their focus will slip away at some point throughout their session to various thoughts and distractions; the key at this point is to consciously realize your journey away from the practice and bring your attention back to the task at hand. The better we get at bringing our attention back to the task at hand, the more productive in that given activity we will become. Why? Because we deal with distractions all day, and it’s our ability to come back to the task at hand with true attention and focus, that determines how efficient our work period is.
Priming exercises set ourselves up to come back from inevitable distractions aid in hyper focused behaviour. Priming can come in the form of a walk outside, meditation, taking a shower, removing distractions from our office, setting up a cup of tea and candle next to our work station etc, prior to doing our work. The goal is to simply set ourselves up for a hyper focused work period, by doing something before hand that helps eliminate unwanted distractions and will help us dial into the moment.
Day 352/365 – December 19
“Accept an Apology and Move on”
For our own inner well being, it’s never ideal to hold onto a grudge. I get that it’s not always as easy as ‘accept and move on’ but what’s the alternative? Stay angry, heated and tense? This doesn’t sound like a very fulfilling way to live. Trust me, it isn’t.
I know this personally from a recent experience. I was holding onto some anger towards an individual for comments he made. I was in the mindset of if we run into each other, he better be ready to back up his talk. This tension sat with me. I thought about it before bed, I thought about it during the day, and it was a difficult thing for me not to want to take direct action. Of course the mature thing is to let it go, regardless of the other person’s whacked out beliefs.
I couple days later I received an apology from this individual, and although I have not forgot what this person said, nor will I shy away from a conversation about it if we run into each other, I have accepted the apology, and I can truly say this has resulted in a much greater, refreshed sense of peace. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have needed an apology to move on. I let the external (his comments, his apology) dictate how I was feeling.
Holding onto anger, resentment or bad thoughts towards another human being – due to their wrong doing – isn’t going to help us in the long term, and probably won’t help us very much in the short term either. Yes, people deserve consequences for their actions, which was what I was prepared and quite willing to provide this individual, but at the end of the day, we all have our lives to live. People believing something about us is their own prerogative and with that, their own issue. If we do get an apology , do ourselves a favour and accept it. That doesn’t mean forget, but don’t let the wrong doing of another burden your well-being. And if an apology doesn’t come, let’s do our best to let go, and move on with our life. Control what we can control.