It happens this way every year, doesn't it? Just when we have recovered somewhat from the excesses of Christmas, wham it's straight in to thinking about how to celebrate New Year's. And these days, this is not just New Year singular. Because so many people now describes it as ''New Year's''. Plural. With capitals. Sometimes with an apostrophe. With the letter 's' at the end. But more of that in a minute- back to Christmas briefly....
Seems many people did indeed want to get into the excesses that are on offer at this time of year, if the number of responses I got to last week's post was anything to go by. You might recall I suggested that although sensible advice for how to manage the festive season comes at us from every which direction, most of us would choose to ignore it. Visits to my blog went crazy. Confirming my suspicions that we do actually know how to manage Christmas in healthy and sensible ways- but just don't want to. Anyway, I hope you had a good Christmas- that you gifted wisely and also received some nice things that you could enjoy (or at least exchange for what you really want). You probably ate too much, and maybe you were passively aggressive to those relatives who drove all through the night just to spend Christmas with you. Where would we be without Christmas- Big Sigh....
So, now to the next big challenge on the holiday calendar: what to do for New Year(s).... If you are young, it does seem really important to have something exciting lined up in advance. Ideally alcohol and music probably need to be part of the mix. (And although I should be somewhat responsible here, and mention something about moderation, etc, we know how such advice would be received....).
If the invitations are a bit thin on the ground for this year, it's probably wise to actually invent something. But what ever you do or don't do, if you are aged under thirty do not seen to be home before midnight and thereby risk total social humiliation. Or if your night is a complete write-off through no fault of your own, of course, and you do find yourself home by 10pm, and the only exciting thing ahead is a cup of hot chocolate- at least keep the lights off while you drink it.
Older people will be less pre-occupied with partying and wild celebrating- maturity and wisdom means that we have moved on from such shallow pleasures. Coupled with the fact that, well, there haven't actually been any invites this year...
Older folks can quietly stay indoors and appreciate the more subtle aspects of celebrating New Year. For instance it requires hardly any frenetic gift buying, and the Christmas left-overs are mostly gone from the fridge. Plus those pesky relatives from afar that were lurking around over Christmas have again departed for parts unknown (just kidding- I actually love this time of year, as a relaxed time to re-connect with people that I may not see much of, at other times...).
Here in Christchurch New Zealand, we all kind of hope that the New Year will bring a new beginning with a year that does not include earthquakes. The South Island has had a challenging second half of the year. A new round of shallow and powerful quakes close to the city center on December 26th had us all on edge for most of the day, as there were around 15 or 16 of them in total. There was again some serious damage, just at a time that we were all finally picking ourselves up and moving on from the big quakes in September. But we are a resilient little city, and we will continue to move forward.
Anyway- Happy New Year(s)- regardless of how many new years you will actually be celebrating, and good luck with those changes you plan to bring to your life.
Yikes- nearly three weeks since I have been here...Not good blogging form at all. And now, the silly season is well and truly upon us. Tis the season to be jolly,as the saying goes. Tis also the season to eat and drink excessively, to buy prezzies for people we love and live with, and also for people we have not had too much contact with since, oh around this time last year. We will then collectively put up a ''Closed'' sign up and down the country until early January sometime. We will get the Big Day done and dusted for another year, then pack up the car so fully that the headrests are no longer visible, and we will head off to the beach/lake/mountains.
Everywhere everywhere, the newspapers, magazines talk shows, and Google (one million plus entries) are telling us what NOT to do at Christmas. But guess what- those well-meaning types should all save their breath, because we know all that stuff (eat and drink in moderation, monitor your credit card usage, be nice to those rellies that you really cannot stand the sight of, but who you know will turn up empty-handed for lunch at Uncle Dave and Aunty Edna's, pace yourself, everything in moderation, etc etc). Yes that's right- we have heard it all before. We already know this....But we will choose to ignore it yet again.
Let's put it down as being yet another quirky and unusual behavior that we as a species engage in, which is to turn our noses up at good advice (which is but one of the reasons therapists and counselors actually stopped advising people decades ago...). We have learnt nothing from the two thousand plus Christmases that have come so far- we will do what we have always done- and we will do it excessively.
Summer in our little country so far, is turning out to be a real beauty. This is great for us all, as we all love the long summer days, and we spend them in the great outdoors (except when we are at the mall, or indoors blogging...). But of course quite a few of us will actually want to go off and drown ourselves over the next few weeks.... But here is something quirky- whilst too many of us will drown over the coming weeks, being fore-armed with advice we will choose to ignore (for a country that is completely surrounded by water, this has apparently not taught us a lot, as we have one of the highest numbers of deaths by drowning for a developed country), the water safety topic is one which some of us actually do slowly pay attention to. Although our drowning stats per capita remain high, they are slowly coming down. So it seems that sometimes (on those occasions when something greater than our livers or credit ratings are at stake) we do actually listen to advice- as Water Safety NZ will tell us....
Anyway, back to the Festive Season- have a great Christmas, or what ever it is that you might celebrate at this time of the year. And you know the drill- drink too much, and eat way more than you actually need. I know that I will. Spend hard, and bicker with those rellies, because you probably won't see them for another year. Get a few sunburns along the way, if it is currently your summer. Because by mid January we will be back at work, and we will all will need something to complain about to kick the new year off. We will want people to know that the holidays were great, sure, but they were not easy.....
Hi - Welcome to Saturday - surely it's got to be the best day of the week? Over at my Facebook page, I've recently mentioned some stuff about emotions, and also personal power, which some readers found useful. So this reminded me that I'd written the post below a few years back. So I blew the dust off, and it turns out (according to me!) that it still makes quite a bit of sense. See what you think, and if you agree, give me the big FB like! Have a good weekend.
WHO'S GOT THE POWER??
I was talking with someone the other day about the whole idea of personal power and what it might mean. And then we talked some more about how personal power (or the lack thereof) impacts on our day to day lives, and other areas of our personal functioning such as our mood, our self-esteem, our view of ourselves, and therefore our overall satisfaction with life.
What exactly is personal power? It can probably mean a whole bunch of different things to different people. For instance you can, for example, feel quite powerful in a job that you may not like. Or you can still feel personally powerful without having buckets of money, even though we often equate money with power. You might feel powerful because you really work out at the gym and you are really toned and feel physically strong.
These examples are important, but I believe personal power is likely to be more subtle than this. It is more likely to be concerned with whether or not you feel in charge of you (and in particular how you respond or react in certain situations), regardless of who you might be with, what you might be doing or where you might be. And what is relevant here, is that people who are depressed or quite anxious, are likely to also describe having low levels of personal power. But which influences which?
If you have personal power, you are in charge of yourself, you are responsible for yourself and also your responses and reactions to people and events happening around you. In other words your mood, and your sense of personal competency, your self-esteem will be determined by you, and not by the actions or words of others. Of course, we are going to get pissed off from time to time with someone else. And of course other people can seemingly make us feel quite happy. We are social beings who usually live in close proximity to others who we will respond or react to.
So we need to remind ourselves that our thoughts are ours, our moods are ours, our emotions are ours. No one else puts these into our heads. And when we have let them into our heads, we can choose as to how long we are going to let them rattle around for, and this is especially important for the unwelcome or unpleasant thoughts....we all have the power. No one or no thing (though it is usually a person/people, rather than a thing, that is likely to make us feel lousy) can actually make us think anything if we don't want to.
So switch your power on.
"Some occasional thoughts about families, relationships, and other things that distract us...."