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7 ways to give back to yourself this Christmas

by Yvette Maurice

It’s not too late to get things done this December – in fact, with some careful thought and a bit of planning, December can be an awesome time of year to achieve and reconnect with things you love!

Getting things done in December

You’re counting down the days to the end of the year, aren’t you? December is the time most of us choose to relax, buy presents, eat indulgent foods and fire up the barbeque. However, this summery month can be a great time of year to focus on yourself and get things done that you otherwise wouldn’t have the time, energy and mental headspace to achieve.

December should not just be about relaxing. This is the perfect time of year to give back to yourself. Think about it: you spend your year giving your time and energy to your family, your job, your friends…often December can be the month that we find ourselves with a bit of extra time on our hands.

It’s important to use this time to recharge and relax but have you thought about effective ways to give something back to yourself? December is the perfect month to plan and get ahead for 2014.

Ways to give back to yourself this December:

1. Learn a new skill

We all have dormant talents that are just waiting to express themselves! Often, it is simply through lack of time that we fail to identify simple things that give us pleasure. Could you be a talented photographer or gardener? If you had a few weeks to devote to discovering a new discipline, could you learn something new about yourself?

December can be a month where we find a few extra hours for ourselves.

This might be because our workplace has closed its doors, our kids are on school holiday camp or we’ve planned to take some extra annual leave. Consider using this time to take up something new.

2. Try a new healthy activity

One of the benefits of our southern hemisphere summer is the longer days and warmer weather. Summer in Australia can be a great time to try a new healthy activity. Have you always wanted to learn how to surf or try Bikram yoga? December could be the perfect month to achieve some healthy goals.

healthy-running

Make use of the warm summer nights to take up an evening stroll after your meal. Grab the kids and dog and head to the park at 4pm before dinner. Buy a packet of chalk and play hopscotch on the back deck; if you don’t have kids, ring in your flatmates for some December summer fun!

3. Experience a new cultural activity

Give back to yourself this December by checking out some local art. This could be a new band, art exhibition, gallery or festival – just try something you’ve never done before. By this stage of the year you may be feeling depleted. December should be a time of year when you plan to give back to yourself in a fulfilling way.

Take some time out for yourself and go to that exhibition you’ve been meaning to see or book those tickets to that band that’s playing in your area. December can be a terrific time to get out and about and immerse yourself in all the culture that Australia has to offer. Many cities and regional centres have a full cultural calendar at this time of year. Go to your local council’s website for details.

4. Pick up a new hobby

knitting

It doesn’t matter if you are age 33, age 13 or even age 83; there are always more things to try and experience.

Its’ never too late or too early to get involved with a new activity or hobby.

Consider whether it’s something you can do on our own or whether you’d benefit by learning in a group.

Investigate community centres in your local area. Often, you’ll find groups that meet for every hobby from novel writing to small business development! Your local library or community centre may be a source of inspiration as might be your local community publication/newsletter.

5. Look after your health

By December we can be feeling tired and drawn after a full year of dealing with our responsibilities. As you are reading this, take a good, long look at yourself. How are you doing? How does your health and well being compare to the start of the year? Have you gone downhill or are you improving every day?

December can be a great month to meet some health goals. Do you want to lose weight? Smoke or drink less? Start a running regime? Is your skin in poor condition, do you need to get to the dentist but haven’t had the time? December is a great time to pour some healthy energy back into your life.

6. Try a new cuisine

cusine

Another fun way to give back to yourself is by trying a new cuisine! This can be a great way to slingshot yourself out of your comfort zone! How about having a party where everyone brings a dish from their favourite country? Or, think about travelling to a distant suburb and checking out a local Chinese, Greek, Vietnamese or Lebanese cafe.

Got more time on your hands? Download a complicated recipe from the web and spend a day sourcing ingredients and experimenting in the kitchen. Your meal may not even work out that well but get the kids (or your friends) involved and make a day of it!

7. Consider study or training

It’s December but there are still many things you can get done if you put your mind to it! No matter your age, you still have many things that you want to achieve. It’s a fact that the older you are, the more responsibilities you may have.

In order to achieve your goals, you need to make some time to focus solely on yourself, without the usual disruptions.

Summer can often be a great time to find that extra hour or two where you can lock yourself away and spend time researching options for further study.

Could you use December to investigate courses that might get you ahead? Open Colleges offers over 100 online courses that can be started on any day of the year – even Christmas day! Study can be a great way to improve not only your life, but your future job prospects.

Setting yourself up for 2014

The end of the year can be a great time to get things done. Think where you’ll be in February and consider using these next few weeks to give back to yourself in a valuable way.

By using these next few weeks productively, you can set yourself on the path to being the best possible version of yourself for next year.

Use December wisely!

Whether you use the time to learn a new skill, try a new activity, experience some culture, pick up a new hobby, focus on your health, experiment with a new cuisine or research options for study and learning – you’ll feel more satisfied, more in control and more enthusiastic about getting into a massive year by using December to give back to yourself.

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