Be kind to yourself this Christmas

Every year, near Christmas I’m always alarmed by how quickly the days seem to whizz by. Every time I look at the calendar another week seems to have come to a close. So much to do, so little time! I'm sure that I am not alone in this.

Christmas can bring a torrent of different emotions for many of us.

A stressful time for many or a time of joy for others. Being with family for longer periods of time may bring about disruption for some, whilst for others not having a family to be with can be equally hard. Even remembering those who are no longer with us can put us in touch with the loss we feel, wishing that they were still around. Finances are often stretched and the constant pressure to have the ‘perfect’ day is made ever more unattainable as our media bombards us with images of happy families surrounded by huge piles of expensive gifts.

This year, in particular, as we charge towards Christmas at the end of one of the toughest of years, many of us are facing entirely new challenges. 2020 has meant different things for us all. The stress, fear, uncertainty and loss that this year has brought is unprecedented. It really has been a year like no other.

It’s time to stop and rethink

It’s during times like these that it’s especially important to acknowledge feelings, whatever they are, and take action to ensure that this time works for you.

When we experience lots of different emotions it can be exhausting, overwhelming and stressful – even if they are all positive emotions. Many of us get caught up in ensuring those around us are well cared for – and there is nothing wrong with that – as long as you are looking after yourself too.

Jan Montgomery blog showing Christmas present

Introducing selfcare into your Christmas preparations.

Let me encourage you to find 5 minutes to do something lovely for yourself. It doesn’t have to involve spending lots of money on treats! Selfcare is about offering ourselves small tokens of kindness in the same way we do for others.

My most favourite ways to show selfcare include taking time to enjoy a lovely cup of tea in my favourite cup, reading a chapter of a book (although that usually takes a little longer that 5 minutes) or having a 3-minute compassion break.

What might work for you?

To help you get started, I’ve included a couple of ideas below that you might enjoy.

Idea 1: 
The 3 minute compassion break

This practice is for those moments when things are a bit tough, when you feel overwhelmed or when you are struggling. Taking a few minutes out to show yourself some compassion can go a long way to help ease stress and bring about a sense of calm.

Phase 1
Take a nice deep breath.
Put your hand on your heart, or arms around yourself.
Speak kindly to yourself, really letting yourself experience the care and concern you are expressing, saying ‘Things are really tough just now’.

Phase 2
Keep taking nice deep breaths and say ‘Everyone experiences challenges at times’.

Phase 3
Keep taking nice deep breaths and say ‘I am holding myself with kindness’.

This practice has three different phases;
Phase 1 brings mindfulness to the moment and that fact that things are a bit tough just now.
Phase 2 reminds you that this is part of life – everyone experiences difficulties at times.
Phase 3 helps you bring a sense of care and concerns to your present moment experience.

create a zentangle


Idea 2:
Create a Zentangle

A zen-what? For those of you who have yet to discover the calming effect of creating a Zentangle, it’s definitely one to try.

The method is easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun. But the best part is that you don’t plan the outcome and there is no such thing as a mistake! The results are often so unexpected and beautiful.

What you need:
- a piece of paper
- a pen or pencil
- somewhere comfortable to sit

How to get started:

1. Relax:
Get comfortable and take a few deep breaths.

2. Corner dots
Place a dot in each corner of the page - now the page is no longer empty and it will be so much easier to make some marks on the page.

3. Border:
Join the dots with a line, straight of curvy, it’s your choice. This is your border.

4. String:
Inside the border, draw a pencil line that we call a string. Again, this line can be curvy, loop throughout your border or be straight, running from one end of your border to the next. The choice is yours. The idea of your string is to separate your tile into sections.

5. Tangles
Begin to use simple strokes, dots, lines or simple curves to build up a pattern in each section. Try not to worry about what it looks like, just focus on each stroke. There is no up or down in Zentanlge art, in fact you can feel free to rotate your art as you draw.

6. Shade
Another option is to add shading to your zentangle, bringing contrast and dimension.

7. Sign and appreciate
Always remember to sign your zentangle. This piece of art was created by you, you should be proud and appreciate what you have just created.

Thanks go to for much of the detailed information shown above.  
To find out more about creating zentangle, has a wealth of information.
And if you prefer to watch and learn there are some wonderful YouTube videos too: or

I wish you a healthy and safe festive time,